Jefferson's 1806 sketch, with the Grove in the lower right corner. Drawing is oriented with north at the bottom.

In an 1806 sketch of Monticello mountain, Thomas Jefferson recorded 18 acres on the northwestern side as the “Grove.” He intended the Grove to be an ornamental forest with the undergrowth removed, the trees pruned and thinned, and the woodland “broken by clumps of thicket, as the open grounds of the English are broken by clumps of trees.”

Through research and the replanting of 52 new trees, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation has revitalized the Upper Grove to resemble Jefferson’s plans more closely. The trees replenish those that have been lost and replace locally extinct Jefferson-documented trees such as the chestnut and American elm with other native species.

Gardens and Grounds Department staff planted and care for the trees in the Grove

Researchers used Jefferson's surveys, maps, and notes to identify and map out the Grove on the modern landscape. Monticello's Archaeology Department conducted a survey to see what deposits lie below the surface, not finding any significant artifact deposits in the area.

Visitors to Monticello in Jefferson’s time were often given tours of the grounds, which included a rambling survey of the 160 species described as Jefferson’s “pet trees.” The Grove was first restored in the 1970s, but many of the trees have lived out their life spans, succumbed to disease, or suffered heavy storm damage. This past year's project has revitalized the Grove, giving present-day visitors a glimpse at what it was once like to meander through Jefferson's "pet trees."

Archaeologists monitored the tree plantings to ensure no significant historic deposits were impacted

The yearlong landscaping project was made possible with funds from the Rivanna Garden Club of Charlottesville, Virginia.