Join Devin Floyd, president of the Blue Ridge Discovery Center, for an inquiry into the habitat variety and diversity at the Secluded Farm tract of the Monticello Trail. Devin will guide you on an exploration of the factors that influence habitat variation upon the farm’s rich woodlands and fields. Topics such as geology, soil drainage, land use history, slope, aspect and elevation will be explored. The two-hour hike begins at the Trailhead parking lot with a look at diversity in the Kemper Park rain-water retaining pools.
The landscaping of Monticello’s new visitor complex, recipient of a LEED Gold Level certification, is designed to blend the buildings into the native Monticello woodlands with plantings of Virginia’s native plant species and cultivars, including 40 species of trees, over 50 species of flowering shrubs, and 75 types of wildflowers and groundcovers. Join Amy Jeffries, Peggy Cornett, and Peter Hatch for a two-hour stroll through these rich habitats from the pavilions’ green roofs through the rain-garden style greenway to the African-American Cemetery.
The development of the Monticello Trail—the creation of Kemper Park, the Saunders-Monticello Trail system, and Saunders Bridge—is an intriguing story full of drama, creative design, and clever construction. Join Peter Hatch for a two-hour hike that will focus on the evolution of the project.
Culinary, medicinal, and fragrant herbs have been important in everyday life for thousands of years, and the first European settlers to North America brought seeds and cuttings with them to the New World. Join CHP’s nursery manager Dennis Whetzel to study first-hand the many herbs used in American kitchen and dooryard gardens of the 17th and 18th centuries. $15
Join Ellie Thomas for this in-depth tour of the Monticello Vegetable Garden, where she will present an overview of beginning gardening techniques, including identification of pests and beneficial insects, use of cover crops, and various bed preparation methods such as double digging. $15
Vinegar was an integral ingredient in various Jefferson-family recipes, and there’s more to vinegar, translated literally as “sour wine,” than salad dressing. Most people are unaware of the rich traditions of using vinegar in cooking, as a food preservative, and even as a wholesome beverage. As well, making vinegar at home is quite simple. Join wine-maker and master chef Gabriele Rausse in reviewing the basic principles of vinegar-making, and then learn how to use it in preparing vegetables and meat and in concocting delicious aromatized dressings. This workshop is two hours long.
Propagating ornamental flowers from seeds, cuttings, or divisions is one of the most gratifying of the horticultural arts. Brian Hartsock will lead this two-hour workshop at the propagating facilities at Tufton Farm. Brian will discuss the principles of seed sowing—timing, stratification, and soil mediums—and review the fundamentals of asexual propagation. Bring pruning shears and gloves.
Visitors to Monticello’s Kitchen Garden are unfailingly curious about how to prepare many of the odd and rare vegetables found there. Gabriele Rausse is a chef revered by his colleagues and friends for his ability to simply transform ordinary and unusual garden produce into delicious meals. During this two-and-a-half-hour session, he will introduce participants to surprising curiosities like sea kale, cardoon, and Caracalla bean flowers; as well as underappreciated gourmet vegetables such as endive, Florence fennel, fava beans, and crowder peas.
Join Jason Stevens for a strenuous, 1,000-foot vertical hike up Montalto, Jefferson’s “high mountain.” Walk through a mature forest then break onto cleared pastureland with unobstructed views of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and, of course, Monticello. This is a two-and-a-half-hour trek for the fittest.
Until the late 19th century, dyes that colored cloth came primarily from plants. Join Pat Brodowski for this two-hour workshop to learn how to create natural dyes. Bring a t-shirt or wool skein to dye in indigo, goldenrod, and onion or all three for this introduction to making dye colors from plants. Great for knitters, hand spinners, and children.
Tufton Farm is located at 1293 Milton Rd. Drive approximately 1.3 miles past the Monticello entrance and turn left onto Milton Rd (Rte 732). Drive down Milton Rd. approximately .5 miles and turn left at the Tufton Farm driveway
Trees perhaps occupied first place in Thomas Jefferson’s hierarchy of favorite garden plants. Join Monticello's Director of Gardens and Ground Emeritus Peter Hatch for this two-hour walking tour explores the natural history of Monticello’s exotic and native trees. Learn to identify about fifty species through an understanding of their ornamental, cultural, and historical character. This will be a relaxed morning ramble through a typical central Virginia hardwood forest.
Get inspired for the gardening year ahead with Ira Wallace, of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and author of the newly-released Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast. During her talk “How to Grow Thomas Jefferson’s Most Unusual Vegetables,” Ira will discuss the best methods for home vegetable gardening in our area and will be available to sign her book afterwards.
Join seasoned birder Jerry Therrien for an evening of listening to the hoots, wails, and shrieks of owls and learning about their habits. This educational walk begins at 5 p.m. and meets at the Trailhead on the Saunders-Monticello Trail. We recommend hiking boots, water, binoculars, and flashlights. Registration required. Call (434) 984-9800 or additional information.
Few horticultural practices are as misunderstood as pruning, particularly for shrubs and trees. Join CHP’s Operations Manager Brian Hartsock in the Tufton Farm gardens for this two-hour workshop and learn the proper pruning techniques for woody ornamentals that flower on new wood.
Skill at grafting is the true mark of gardening expertise, but it’s also easy to learn and fun to do. Gabriele Rausse will lead this two-hour workshop designed for the novice propagator. Bring only your thin-bladed pocket knife and a pair of hand pruners. Leave with your own grafted apple tree. Additional scion wood available with cash purchase only.
“Father of Virginia Wine” Gabriele Rausse will lead this two-hour workshop in the Monticello vineyards. He’ll discuss the basic principles of grape growing—variety and site selection, trellis systems, soil preparation, planting, pruning, pest control, and harvesting—and provide beginning grape growers a foundation in serious viticulture.
Join Debbie Donley, Monticello’s flower gardener and a professional artist, for this painting workshop in the flower gardens of Monticello. She will demonstrate both simple line-drawing and basic water color techniques. Participants will be encouraged to examine and portray the botanical details of the mid-spring flowers, many in their full glory at this time of year. All materials will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own for this morning-long workshop.
Learn the basics of bird identification and explore a variety of habitats in this rigorous, three-hour walk during the spring migratory season. Peggy Cornett and Jerry Therrien will lead this trek from Tufton Farm to the Rivanna River. We recommend waterproof shoes, long pants, and binoculars. Note early starting time. This walk precedes the CHP Open House at Tufton Farm.
This three-hour hike through the woodlands of Monticello to the Rivanna River is a perennial favorite of hikers and native plant enthusiasts alike. Enjoy the botanical treasures of early spring: trout lilies, Virginia blue bells, spring beauties, and more. Be prepared for a strenuous trek, muddy slopes and uphill climbs, and an intimate view of the wild Monticello, particularly the lovely plant communities along the river. Wear sturdy shoes.
Heirloom tomatoes are now at the height of fashion, and one can only marvel at the genetic diversity found in everyone’s favorite homegrown vegetable. This participatory workshop includes examining and rating a variety of tomatoes. Ira Wallace and Pat Brodowski, Monticello’s vegetable gardener, will host this two-hour workshop, and participants are encouraged to bring in their own favorite garden varieties.
Enjoy the harvests of summer, what Thomas Jefferson referred to as “precious refreshment.” Gabriele Rausse and staff will entertain participants with the fruits of summer: early apples, peaches, figs, grapes, nectarines, apple cider, blackberries, pears, and others. Short talks on the history of fruit growing in Virginia will vary the menu in this informal two-hour feast.
Ferns will be the excuse for this ramble along Henderson Creek in the forests of Tufton Farm. Peggy Cornett will lead this two-hour cross-country walk through a uniquely pristine, relatively undisturbed, and isolated natural woodland, pointing out the native plants as they go. There is no trail on substantial sections of this two-mile hike, so wear appropriate hiking shoes and be prepared for briar scratches, spider webs, and uneven terrain.
Join Gabriele Rausse, the “father of Virginia wine,” for this fun, two-hour session on wine production. “No nation is drunken when wine is cheap,” said Thomas Jefferson, who apparently failed to make a Monticello-grown vintage despite years of experimental vine plantings. Learn how to make your own—from harvest through fermentation to bottling—in this participatory workshop.
Thomas Jefferson’s passion for gardening arose from his truly wide-eyed curiosity about natural history and the “tranquil pursuits” of science. Monticello Curator of Plants, Peggy Cornett, will lead this two-hour trek through the forests of Monticello. Participants will examine autumn wildflowers, seedpods and nuts, trees, mammals, birds, the skies, fungi, insects, and geology with the historical perspective of the sage of Monticello ever in mind. Please wear sturdy shoes and be prepared for muddy slopes and uneven terrain.
Vinegar was an integral ingredient in various Jefferson-family recipes, and there’s more to vinegar, translated literally as “sour wine,” than salad dressing. Most people are unaware of the rich traditions of using vinegar in cooking, as a food preservative, and even as a wholesome beverage. As well, making vinegar at home is quite simple. Join wine-maker and master-chef Gabriele Rausse in reviewing the basic principles of vinegar-making, and then learn how to use it in preparing vegetables and meat and in concocting delicious aromatized dressings.
Discover the birds of open fields and mature forests at Secluded Farm with bird expert Jerry Therrien. Learn the basics of bird identification and explore on this three-hour hike. We recommend waterproof shoes, long pants, and binoculars recommended.
Join Eleanor Gould for a hands-on cooking class featuring period recipes from the Monticello kitchen. Dishes will be prepared using seasonal produce harvested from the garden. Finish the morning with a demonstration and tasting of one of Jefferson’s favorite desserts: vanilla ice cream in puff pastry, or profiteroles.
In this two-hour, family-friendly adventure led by Devin Floyd, explorers will hunt for butterflies and bugs in forest and field. Young naturalists and their favorite grown-ups will study, identify, and document species using record-keeping tools such as journaling, photography, and sketching, which can be shared in hard copy and online.
Culinary historian Leni Sorensen will tantalize with stories of the cooks in Jefferson’s kitchen, who canned and preserved food for the Monticello household. Using a historical recipe from Mary Randolph’s The Virginia House-wife (1824) and green tomatoes from the Monticello garden, Leni will guide the class in creating a thick and spicy tomata marmalade of their own.
Flower gardener Debbie Donley will provide the tools and inspiration for budding artists and their favorite grownups to discover their inner talents amid the natural woodland setting of the Saunders-Monticello Trail. All materials are provided for this family-friendly, morning-long workshop.
Join Monticello's Eleanor Gould for a fun, hands-on, family-friendly cooking class. Young cooks and their favorite grownups will begin by harvesting fruits and vegetables from the Monticello gardens. The class will then help prepare both sweet and savory recipes that were favorites of the Jefferson family. The reward will be to eat what’s been made and take home the recipes.
This final session in the series is for home vegetable gardeners using sequential planting methods. Join Monticello's Brian Hartsock at CHP’s propagation facility for this two-hour, hands-on workshop full of gardening tips and practical advice for your late-season garden. Participants will start seed from the Monticello gardens to take home.
For more than 50 years, Professor Lincoln Brower has investigated the overwintering, migration, and conservation biology of monarch butterflies. In this illustrated lecture, Dr. Brower will share his field expeditions and describe conservation issues that threaten the butterflies’ unique migration. He also will discuss ways we can support this extraordinary species.
Join Jerry Therrien for a three-hour hike on the Saunders- Monticello Trail and Secluded Farm to observe the annual bird migration. Learn the basics of bird identification and explore a rich variety of habitats. Wear waterproof shoes and long pants, and bring binoculars. 7 AM, Saunders-Monticello Trail, $18. SEPTEMBER 18, 20
Enjoy breathtaking views from Montalto and watch the fall hawk migration with Jerry Therrien. Learn how to identify these lofty raptors by their shapes, flight patterns, and plumage. Prepare for cooler temperatures atop Jefferson’s “high mountain.”
This exploration of the Saunders-Monticello Trail Fruit and Nut Room will answer your questions about which berries, nuts, and other fruits are edible. Learn about their histories and ways to prepare some of the many native varieties in Albemarle County.
Gardiner Hallock, Monticello’s architectural historian, will outline the current transformational project called Reuniting Monticello’s Mountaintop Landscape, which will reestablish the link between the ornamental landscape surrounding the house and its connection to the functioning plantation. A tour of the site follows Hallock’s lecture.