Monticello is much more than the vegetables gardens that I showed you yesterday, although these were my favorite part. Thomas Jefferson designed and built the house, tearing parts of it down and rebuilding it over and over again to suit his changing tastes. He wrote “Architecture is my delight, and putting up, and pulling down, one of my favorite amusements.”
If you haven’t read much about him, I’d highly recommend it. He was an interesting fellow, perhaps one of the last few true Renaissance men, interesting in just about everything. He had a huge influences on many aspects of life as we know it now, bringing new ideas in the areas of architecture and gardening. He kept meticulous records of everything he did, from the daily weather to what was planted in the garden and how much he harvested. His notes and experiments helped understand the idea of gardening zones and plants that survived and thrived in different climates.
Thomas Jefferson said of himself that he was not an inventor, simply an adapter. You can see his adaptations of all kinds of things around the house. From the weathervane on the front porch roof that allowed him to see the direction of the wind without going outside if if was raining to the rain catchment system to gather water from the terraces.
When Mr Chiots and I visited Monticello, we looked around the vegetable gardens first, then we took the “Behind the Scenes” tour. After that we did the regular house tour and walked around the grounds a little more. We didn’t do the Plantation Tour or the Garden Tour, we simply ran out of steam. Here’s a slide show of some of the other interesting things about Monticello, from the Chinese railings, to the cat doors in the closets on the third floor and the ornamental gardens that surround the roundabout at the front of the house. Here’s another slide show of the rest of the Monticello, the house and the ornamental gardens. To view in full screen click on the icon in the top left hand corner, click the same icon to exit full screen mode.
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If you’d like to read up on Thomas Jefferson and Monticello I’d highly recommend these books: Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is a great book, in depth with lots of photos of the house and the gardens, not too wordy though so as to lose your attention. The Gardens of Monticello is a small book that focuses on the gardens of Monticello, a quick read if you don’t have much time. If you’re interested in an in depth read about the farm and gardens of Monticello I’d recommend The Garden and Farm Books of Thomas Jefferson. If you’re more of a documentary type, both Thomas Jefferson by Ken Burns and Thomas Jefferson – A View From the Mountain are good.
I have to admit, Thomas Jefferson is probably one of my most favorite historical persons to read about. I find him quite fascinating in all aspects of his life.
Do you enjoy reading about historical persons such as Thomas Jefferson? who’s your favorite?
Here’s a slideshow of the Vegetable Gardens from my visit.Filed under Photos | Comments (15)