When a gardener visits Monticello

When a gardener visits Monticello. the home of Thomas Jefferson, she heads first to the vegetable garden and looks down the rows and rows of vegetables.

She notes that according to the brochure, the garden "serves as a preservation seed bank of Jefferson-era and 19th-century vegetable varieties".

She is impressed by the rows and rows and rows of vegetables, which run along a terrace on the southeast slope of the mountain for nearly 1,000 feet.

She likes the use of hand hewn logs and twigs to support tomato plants and wonders what this would look like in her own vegetable garden which is only sixty feet and seven rows long.

At one point she notices that Thomas Jefferson's vegetable garden has purslane growing in it, just like her garden at home.

When she sees the purslane she also thinks of Charles Dudley Warner who wrote about purslane in his book, My Summer in a Garden, calling it "a fat, ground-clinging, spreading, greasy thing".

She eventually leaves the garden for a bit and goes on the tour of the house at Monticello and finds it all very interesting.

Once outside, she notes that viewing the house through flowers is really the best way for a gardener to see it.

She completes her tour of the flower gardens by stopping to take photographs of a butterfly on phlox.

The butterfly seemed not to notice the gardener and her camera and went about his business of sucking nectar from the blooms.

Once she is done looking at all the flowers and butterflies, the gardener stops at a fish pond used to keep fish caught in local streams until they were ready to cook them for dinner and notices how simple and pretty the mallow flowers are in the reflection of the pond.

She also thinks that the water in the pond would make an excellent fertilizer for the many flowers and vegetables.

Finally,  when a gardener visits Monticello, she stops at the gift shop on her way out and buys seeds of plants growing in Thomas Jefferson's garden so she can grow them in her own garden, a fitting souvenir that will last longer for her than any trinkets, tea towels or t-shirts.


  1. Is it really as deserted as it looks? I'm impressed you managed to take pictures without people in them.

  2. I think you bought the best souvenir. It is a magnificent place.

  3. A lovely garden, it looks so peaceful. The vegetable garden is to die for, most of us have to make do with such tiny spaces! The view of the house through the Echinacea is beautiful and also the reflections.

  4. Oh, I've always wanted to go there. Thankfully, a gardener can order the seed from Monticello online.

  5. I bought seeds there also. :-)

  6. I'd love to go there - and buy some seeds. Another great souvenir would be the fascinating book by Andrea Wulf, The Founding Gardeners, which talks about Washington, Adams,Jefferson and Madision and how their gardening and political philosophies meshed.

  7. Seeing Mr. Jefferson's vegetable garden made me want to grow vegetables.

  8. Hi Carol,

    While visiting my brother in Virginia we took a day trip to Monticello. It is such a wonderful place to visit. Your photos brought back fond memories.

  9. Monticello is on my bucket list! Good to see that Jefferson's garden isn't perfect, i.e., the purslane--it always makes me feel a little better to know I'm not alone in the battle against weeds.

    Wise choice in the gift shop!

  10. Thomas Jefferson's purslane! He had a lot in common with ordinary gardeners. Lovely visit, glad you got seeds!

  11. Nice to know there are weeds in everyone's garden, and no one can get to them all. Those are some impressive vegetables.


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