Southeast Piazza (Greenhouse)

Southeast Piazza

Dimensions: 21' 7"x 12' 4"; ceiling 11' 7 3/4"

Color: White

Purpose of Room: Greenhouse for growing plants; location of Thomas Jefferson's workbench, where he is known to have made locks and chains; possibly home to a pet mockingbird

Unusual architectural features: Part of Jefferson's suite of private rooms that included his book room, writing office (Cabinet), and bedroom. Flanked by two "venetian porches"

Furnishings of note: work table and tools, as well as flowers, seeds, and flats for sprouting see

Primary Source References

1807 November 11. (Ann Cary Randolph Bankhead to Jefferson). "Ellen and myself have a fine parcel of little Orange trees from the green house against your return." [1]

1808 January 22. (Ann Cary Randolph Bankhead to Jefferson). "I have not been to Monticello since we cane from there but Jefferson was there the other day and says that the green house is not done." [2]

1808 December 8. (Ann Cary Randolph Bankhead to Jefferson). "In fact the Mimosa Nilotica and Orange are the only things I have ever proposed to have in my Green house." [3]

1816 November 10. (Jefferson to Martha Jefferson Randolph). "Tell Wormley also to send...about a bushel of Orchard grass seed out of the large box in the Green house." [4]

1829 October 7. (Virginia Jefferson Randolph Trist to Nicholas Philip Trist). "By the way, you never answered my inquiries about...the box of unpacked books in the greenhouse..." [5]

1828 August 10. (Mary Jefferson Randolph to Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge). "Then we have the sitting room adjoining in which two more can be comfortably lodged, and the green house a very convenient little appendage to our bed chambers." [6]


1. Edwin M. Betts and James Bear, Jr., eds. Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1966, Rep. Charlottesville: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, 1986), 314.

2. Ibid, 323.

3. Ibid, 369.

4. Ibid, 416.

5. Nicholas Philip Trist Papers. University of North Carolina.

6. University of Virginia.



I have always wanted to have 2 things in my house, a pool and a greenhouse. A greenhouse would be beneficial because I could easily grow my own herbs and fruit in there. Plus, I love nature. A pool would also be a great investment because I could practice swimming. I have been able to talk to swimming pool designers about how I could maybe have a greenhouse with a pool in it. Wouldn't that be awesome?


This charming room is guaranteed to be beautiful and fragrant year-round.


I completely agree with Anna. The Greenhouse and the Tea Room at the opposite end of the house are my favorite places inside Monticello. I think Jefferson was a genius (and I use that word REALLY sparingly) in the way he conceived the perimeter of the house as an extension of the living space. The Greenhouse and the adjoining louvered Venetian porticles and South Terrace accessible by the triple sash window are perhaps the best examples. Sitting inside the Greenhouse on the Windsor chairs that are there today for visitors, it is not hard to see what a pleasant place to live Monticello must have been.


Every time I come through Monticello on a tour, I sidle over to the doorway of the piazza, stick my head in, and imagine relaxing in there with a nice fruity drink. Ahhh! One of the most beautiful spaces at Monticello, for sure.

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