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Bringing Monticello Home

August 13th, 2010

I’ve been wanting to get a terracotta cloche for quite a while now. I don’t know why I like them so much, I think they’re quite beautiful in the garden and useful for blanching and protecting plants. They’re not readily available here in the U.S. so they’re difficult to find. While searching on-line I saw that they were available for purchase at Monticello and I had every intention of buying one.

I’d saved up some money, but when I was standing in the gift shop looking at the $125 price tag I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’m a very frugal person, so spending that much money on one item to sit in the garden seemed ridiculous, no matter how much I love them. Especially given the fact that our gardens are surrounded by huge trees that frequently drop branches. My luck I’d take it home, put it in the garden and we’d get a summer storm that would knock a big branch out of a tree right on top of it.

Instead of buying a cloche, I settled on purchasing a few plants. They’re a much better purchase anyways, I’ll be able to propagate them for gifts or for additional plants. It’s also a great way to have a little piece of Monticello at home. Most of the plants I bought will be houseplants during the winter and outdoor potted plants during the summer. What varieties of plants did I purchase?

A dwarf weeping lantana, a buttery yellow one just like the one seen in this flower bed. It is not a hardy plant, so I’ll be overwintering it in the house. I’ve overwintered regular lantana in the house successfully so this shouldn’t be a problem.

I also purchased a fig tree of the variety ‘Brunswick’ which is only hardy to a zone 6b. I may be able to wrap it and successfully overwinter it outside, but I think I’ll put it in the basement this winter. I’ll take starts next spring and then try overwintering it outside when I have more than one plant. I have a ‘Hardy Chicago’ fig that I successfully overwintered in the basement this past year. It’s quite large now after only one summer of good growth, perhaps next year I’ll get a few figs from it.

I also purchased two small variegated lemon trees (one for my mom) and a key lime tree, which will become a houseplants in the winter and spend their summers outside on the back porch. I’ve been wanting to get a nice potted citrus for a while and they were well priced at Monticello. Let’s hope they survive and I’ll be harvesting fresh citrus in a few years!

We bought these plants only a few days into our trip, so we had to spend a few days traveling with plants. I kept telling Mr Chiots people probably wondered what we were doing. If anyone asked, I was going to say that we always traveled with plants to help clean the air of the hotel room. The funny thing is we actually met a guy at our hotel that was traveling with a HUGE potted dumb cane plant. We mentioned to him that we thought we were the only ones with plants in our room and both got a good laugh.

I love buying or getting starts of plants as souvenirs, so much better to have a plant in the garden than something to dust inside!

Do you ever buy or get starts of plants when you travel?

Here’s a slideshow of the Vegetable Gardens from my visit,
and a slideshow of the House and Ornamental Gardens from my visit.

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.