Interesting Facts & Stats from "A Rich Spot of Earth"

Some interesting facts and stats from "A Rich Spot of Earth"

  • Peter Hatch, Director of Gardens and Grounds at Monticello since 1977, has meticulously restored Jefferson's revolutionary 2,400 acre landscape.
  • Open to new ideas from far-flung sources, Thomas Jefferson incorporated gardening traditions from England, France, Spain and the Mediterranean, West Africa, and Creole culture.
  • With boundless enthusiasm, Jefferson sought seeds and distributed them. He received them from the Lewis and Clark expedition, from neighbors and friends across America, and from an international community of plantsmen.

Jefferson's vegetable gardens are both revolutionary and uniquely American

  • Jefferson experimented with over 330 varieties and some 99 species of vegetables.
  • With some of his neighbors, Jefferson enjoyed a tradition of competing to raise spring peas; whoever harvested the first spring pea hosted a community dinner that included a feast on the winning pea crop.
  • Unique among Virginia gardeners of his day, Jefferson introduced a roster of unfamiliar species now taken for granted, including tomatoes, okra, eggplant, lima beans, peanuts, and peppers.
  • Anticipating healthy living advice that would be extolled two centuries later, Jefferson wrote, “I have lived temperately, eating little animal food, and that . . . as a condiment for the vegetables which constitute my principal diet.”
  • Jefferson documented nearly six decades of horticultural triumphs and failures in his Garden Book, a diary he maintained from 1766 to 1824. This rich record made possible the most accurate early American garden restoration ever undertaken.

Published by Yale University Press, "A Rich Spot of Earth" Thomas Jefferson's Revolutionary Garden at Monticello is a co-publication with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello. Available in April 2012.

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