Welcome to "A Rich Spot of Earth," Monticello's podcast about Thomas Jefferson, gardening, and the natural world. In this inaugural episode, Monticello's gardeners and groundskeepers look at seeds — one of the most elemental building blocks of the garden — and seed saving, while sharing stories, tips, and techniques from Jefferson's time and our own. Featuring Jason Young, Manager and Curator of Historic Gardens at Monticello; Peggy Cornett, our Curator of Plants; and, Debbie Donley, our Flower Gardener.

Plants from this podcast

Tennis Ball Lettuce

Tennis Ball was among Thomas Jefferson's favorite lettuce varieties.  He noted that "it does not require so much care and attention" as other types.

Sweet Acacia

Called by Jefferson "the most delicious flowering shrub in the world," he also felt that Sweet Acacia was "the only plant besides the Orange that I would take the trouble of nursing in a green house."


Jefferson noted planting this extremely fragrant annual in an oval bed on March 22, 1811, yet he included it among the seeds "which I do not now possess" in a letter to Bernard McMahon the following year.

Sweet Shrub

Thomas Jefferson recorded planting Sweet Shrub at Monticello in 1778, 1794, 1812, and 1815 and gave them as gifts to fellow gardeners, including his good friend Madame de Tessé in Paris.

Direct file download »

Thoughts to share about this podcast? Suggestions for other episodes? Send us an email!

Narration and stories Jason Young, Peggy Cornett, and Debbie Donley

Jefferson quotes read by Bill Barker

Content and story development by Peggy Cornett, Debbie Donley, Joan Horn, William Snyder, Mike Tricomi, Jason Young, and Chad Wollerton

Direction and editing by Joan Horn

Sound design by Dennis Hysom

Production by Chad Wollerton and Joan Horn