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The Lewis and Clark Expedition is one of the great tales of American history. I can only imagine the incredible endurance and determination the members of the party possessed. Not only did they cross a rugged continent of unknown wilderness (twice), they collected, cataloged, and buried large caches of species and artifacts along the way. This article by Peggy Cornett gives some more of that story and how specimens of the time were distributed. She writes of a practice that still thrives today and goes to the heart of the mission at The Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants, the preservation and dissemination of the vast landscape that is our horticultural hertiage. I love listening to a return visitor tell me how their Lewis Prairie Flax is doing or to talk to a plant enthusiast about the delicate white flowers of the Jeffersonia diphylla for which this journal is named. I feel a small sense of victory when one of our plants finds a good home in a "backyard conservatory."Brian Hartsock
I knew of Reverend Seidel, the author, long before I met him. When I first began familiarizing myself with the botanical collections at The Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants I kept seeing "Doug" on the back of many of the identification tags.The story was always the same,"Oh, that's from Doug. You'll meet him." I have, and a true plant wrangler he is. Standing in the Leonie Bell Rose Garden (a friend of Rev. Seidel) listening to the histories of not only the species or cultivar but the individual specimens is a particular treat. A treat enjoyed by old friends and new rose enthusiasts after his lecture this year at our annual open house. I think it was also a treat for Doug who got to talk about that which he loves. As with much of our collection, these roses have traveled far and wide, from hand to hand, from garden to garden to come to us. There is one story I particularly love, but I would hate to ruin it. Not to worry, you'll meet him.Brian Hartsock
June 17, 2010 on The China (Rose) Revolution
Admitting some bias, I think Jefferson must have loved his gardens above all things at Monticello. The gardens are also unique among the preservation efforts at Monticello, in that we can still experience them in the way that Jefferson did. We can't lie on his bed or sit behind his desk. We can't relax in his study and thumb his books. But, we can stoop to smell the roses he loved. We can sit on the lawn and watch children run about and note how the tomatoes are ripening. We see the seasons sweep over the small mountain, not in angled shadows, but through harvest and fading blooms soon replaced by another. The Monticello gardeners must have one of the coolest jobs in the world and I think Mr. Jefferson would be very pleased to see his garden grow.Brian Hartsock
June 14, 2010 on "Attending to My Farm"