Monticello Heritage Harvest Festival

“But though I am an old man, I am but a young gardener”
Thomas Jefferson to Charles Willson Peake 1811

Thomas Jefferson is one of my biggest heroes. He and George Washington loomed large in my imagination as a child and throughout my school years. In fact my graduate work focused on the tour of English gardens that Jefferson and Adams took together in 1786. I’ve been happy to see the renewed interest in the personalities surrounding the founding of our country and have enjoyed the numerous histories and television programs such as the John Adams series.

Although I’m a few centuries too late to meet the man, I can still learn a lot from Thomas Jefferson by visiting his home Monticello. In fact, I used many of the ideas gleaned there to design the Garden Home Retreat.

On September 16 I’m heading to Monticello for the fifth annual Heritage Harvest Festival celebrating Jefferson as America’s “first foodie.” Appropriate title don’t you think?

You can learn from Jefferson too when you attend this family-friendly weekend featuring food, music and workshops.  I’m giving the keynote address Reflections on Jefferson: Gardening, Farming and Democracy on Friday the 16th at 6 p.m. Hope you can join me for a lively discussion and good food. Click here to learn more.

The mountain top estate and other farms encompassed over 9,000 acres at its peak.

Construction on the house that we know today was started in 1769.

Lord Burlington's Chiswick house and gardens. Jefferson visited English gardens with John Adams in 1786

The 1,000 foot long vegetable terrace with views of Mount Alto beyond.

Flowers specific to Jefferson's time line the walks at Monticello today.

A springtime view of the gardens and orchards, which were essential to the vitality of the estate..

Jefferson's garden book, which he kept from 1766 - 1824, illustrates this commitment to trialing new plant varieties & his scientific appraoch to botany, farming & gardening.

Jefferson kept a pet Mockingbird sometime during his tenure as president between 1801 - 1809..

Photos courtesy of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.