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Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants

The Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants, established at Monticello in 1987, collects, preserves, and distributes historic plant varieties and strives to promote greater appreciation for the origins and evolution of garden plants. The program centers on Thomas Jefferson's horticultural interests and the plants he grew at Monticello, but covers the broad history of plants cultivated in America by including varieties documented through the nineteenth century, and choice North American plants, a group of special interest to Jefferson himself.

Center for Historic Plants gardens, barn, and greenhouse

Jefferson owned over 5,000 acres in Bedford County, Virginia (at Poplar Forest), and he also owned 5,000 acres in Albemarle County, Virginia. Monticello was his pride and joy, but he also maintained five satellite farms surrounding Monticello: Milton, Tufton, Lego, Shadwell, and Pantops. Tufton Farm is now home of the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants.

There are four plant collections located at Tufton Farm:


The Center cultivates over 40 varieties of dianthus. This collection is currently under renovation.



The Center's iris collection represents over 300 years of cultivation and breeding.


Rose Border

The Rose Border at CHP includes varieties first identified as early as the 1400s.


Léonie Bell Rose Garden

Established in memory of rose enthusiast and author, Léonie Bell, the garden features over 30 noisette roses.

Through the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the Center sponsors many educational programs, including lectures, workshops, and special tours of the facility; these include five annual Open Houses (one each in March, April, May, June, and October), a number of Saturdays in the Garden events, and sponsorship of the annual Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello.

The Garden Shop at Monticello's Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center, open daily, and its companion in the Monticello Online Shop, offer a broad range of historic plants and seeds as well as books, reproduction flower pots, and related items.

For further information, please contact us:
1293 Milton Rd., Charlottesville, VA, 22902



Whenever people ask me about Monticello, I like to tell them about the Center for Historic Plants (CHP), a hidden treasure at Monticello. Many people tend to think about Monticello as simply being the house and the gardens, but often, they tend not to be aware of the other cool stuff going on, like the CHP. Their response is often, “Really? I had no idea this was part of Monticello!” There are links to the fabulous Twinleaf Journal, put out by CHP, and to the seed and plant catalogs available online.


This page takes me to everything at CHP from the plant collections to the Twinleaf articles, to the online seed and plant sales.


I visited last week and on the garden tour we met Beth (?) who showed us a great pair of gardening gloves. Since coming home we have struggled to remember the brand of gloves she referred to. Could Beth remind us?

Many thanks,
Graham furniss

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