Book showcases Thomas Jefferson’s revolutionary vegetable garden

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Media Contact: Lisa Stites, 434-984-7529

Charlottesville, VAThomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States of America was a revolutionary gardener. Today, the vegetables and herbs Jefferson favored are thriving in the 1,000-foot terraced vegetable garden at his home Monticello. Extensively and painstakingly restored under Peter J. Hatch’s brilliant direction, Jefferson’s unique vegetable garden now boasts the same medley of plants he enthusiastically cultivated in the early nineteenth century. The garden is a living expression of Jefferson’s genius and his distinctly American attitudes. Its impact on the culinary, garden and landscape history of the United States continues to the present day.

Monticello celebrates the launch of Peter J. Hatch’s A Rich Spot of Earth”: Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello with the National Book Launch: An Evening with Peter Hatch, during Historic Garden Week in Virginia, Monday, April 23, 2012, from 6-8 p.m., on the West Lawn of Monticello. The evening includes an elegant garden party with the author as he discusses his pioneering new book.

Hatch will be signing copies of A Rich Spot of Earth starting at 6 p.m. on the West Lawn of Monticello. Books will be available for purchase during the event. Visitors can also enjoy informal tours of Monticello and the gardens, fine Virginia wine and heavy hors d'oeuvres on the West Lawn of Monticello. Tickets cost $60, of which $30 represents a tax deductible gift to support the garden programs at Monticello.

This gorgeous volume showcases Jefferson’s amazing vegetable garden, its uniquely American characteristics and its legacy. Graced with 200 full-color illustrations and a foreword by Alice Waters, “A Rich Spot of Earth” is the first book devoted to all aspects of the Monticello vegetable garden. Hatch guides us from the asparagus and artichokes first planted in 1770 through the horticultural experiments of Jefferson’s retirement years (1809-1826). The author explores topics ranging from labor in the garden, garden pests of the time, and seed saving practices to contemporary African American gardens. He also discusses Jefferson’s favorite vegetables and the hundreds of varieties he grew, the half-Virginian half-French cuisine he developed, and the gardening traditions he adapted from many other countries.

As Director of Gardens and Grounds at Monticello since 1977, Peter J. Hatch has played an essential role in the maintenance, interpretation, and restoration of its 2,400-acre landscape. He has written several previous books on Jefferson’s gardens and is an advisor for First Lady Michelle Obama’s White House kitchen garden. He lives in Charlottesville, VA.

“A Rich Spot of Earth”: Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello is now available. It is a co-publication of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello and Yale University Press. $35.00 It can be ordered online at