Last Monday (August 2) Mr Chiots and I finally found our way to Monticello after wanting to go for years. We were wondering how we’d like it, after going to Longwood Gardens several times, most other gardens pale in comparison. The main part of Monticello I’ve really been wanting to see is the vegetable garden. It’s quite impressive in photos and I must say, it’s equally impressive in person, I was not disappointed. This was one of two asparagus patches, now that’s about the size I need since we love asparagus so much (that’s yours truly in the photo).
We woke up to the perfect day, overcast with temperatures in the low 70’s. Considering the temperatures before and after our trip were in the 90’s we were so lucky. We arrived early, about 15 minutes before it opened (which was at 9am), which turned out to be quite an advantage. We were able to get our tickets right away and head up the path through the woods.
We arrived in the vegetable garden right around 9 am. I’d highly recommend arriving 15-20 minutes before opening and making a beeline for the vegetable garden if that’s what you’re interested in. We had the garden all to ourselves for about 45 minutes. It seems everyone else that arrived when we did toured the house first, then they went to the gardens.
It was very nice to be able to get some great photos of the garden with only one of the gardeners around, he was picking all of the eggplants and peppers that morning. I’ve read the vegetables harvested are distributed to the Monticello employees.
One of the things that I found fascinating about the gardens was the use of natural materials. All trellises and plant supports were built from saplings and twigs. Since they didn’t have Gardner’s Supply back then selling all shapes and sizes of supports, they used with what they had. I have to admit, it makes for a much more beautiful garden. The natural materials blend beautifully into the garden.
This is something I try to do here at Chiot’s Run, I’ve blogged about using twigs for my peas just like they do in the gardens at Monticello. I have plenty of saplings and twigs around since our gardens are surrounded by woods so it’s a very frugal plant support option.
The plants were tagged with large tags, which were easy to read and written in a lovely script. I don’t know if this is how Jefferson tagged them, or if this was done for the benefit of the visitors. They were quite lovely. Something I definitely want to find a way to make and use in my garden. Looks like a project for Mr Chiots to do someday. Here’s a slideshow of the Monticello vegetable gardens if you’d like to see more.
We didn’t just look around the gardens, we also toured the house, and the Behind the Scenes tour, which takes you up into the rotunda and through the second and third floors in the house. You have to have a tour time to go through the main house, and it seemed kind of rushed. It was interesting, but not nearly as interesting to me as the gardens.
The behind the scenes tour was much more laid back and the group was smaller. Our tour guide was very good, and you are also allowed to take photos, which you aren’t on the main house tour. They also have garden tours and plantation tours that are free and you don’t have to get a tour time reservation. We didn’t go on either of these since we were tired and hungry and I’ve read a lot about the gardens and the plantations so I knew all about them.
Tomorrow I’ll post a slideshow of the gardens at Monticello for you to enjoy, I didn’t want this post to get too long! Truly I could blog about this for a week.
I can finally check this garden off my list and work my way down through the other gardens I want to see, like Mt Vernon, Williamsburg, Longwood in summer, and many more.
Any great gardens you’d like to recommend to add to my list?Miscellaneous | Comments (18)