At-home Activities

Gardening

Students posing with a Jefferson-style gardenMonticello's West Lawn suggests a number of possible activities for children and adults alike, ranging from playing with hoops to taking nature walks. We hope that you will be inspired to take special note of gardens around you, or perhaps to grow your own. Monticello supports the development of historic gardens through its Center for Historic Plants, which makes available seeds and plants associated with Jefferson's time.

Younger Gardeners

Younger gardeners might enjoy the children's garden kit, which features ten varieties of seeds and instructions for growing a Jefferson-related flower and vegetable garden. The flower seeds include such eighteenth-century favorites as "love-in-the-mist" and "Johnny-jump-up" violets while many of the vegetables are ornamental or interesting, like scarlet runner beans and artichokes. Developed for use in schools and homes, the packets are produced by Monticello's Department of Education and Center for Historic Plants. They are available through our Monticello Online Store or by calling (434) 984-9821.

Twinleaf, Jeffersonia dyphillaOlder Gardeners

Older gardeners might enjoy visiting the gardens in person or learning more about Monticello-grown species through the What's In Bloom section of this site. Articles about Jefferson's interest in gardening are available at the online Twinleaf Journal, which is run by Monticello's Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants. Established at Monticello in 1987, the Center collects, preserves, and distributes historic plant varieties and strives to promote greater appreciation for the origins of garden plants. The program centers on Jefferson's horticultural interests, but includes varieties documented up to the early twentieth century and choice North American plants.

The Center features interpretive gardens at its Tufton Farm headquarters near Monticello, and a Garden Shop (located at Monticello) where visitors may purchase historic varieties of plants and seeds (shown above is twinleaf, or Jeffersonia diphylla). For information about visiting the Center, please call the Monticello Department of Public Affairs at (434) 984-9822.

 

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Image Credits

  • Thaxton Elementary School students commemorating the 250th anniversary of Jefferson's birth in 1993 with a Monticello-inspired garden. Courtesy Thaxton Elementary School.
  • Twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla). Photograph by Skip Johns.

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