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Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants

The Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants, established at Monticello in 1986, collects, preserves, and distributes historic plant varieties and strives to promote greater appreciation for the origins and evolution of garden plants. The program centers on Thomas Jefferson's horticultural interests and the plants he grew at Monticello, but covers the broad history of plants cultivated in America by including varieties documented through the nineteenth century, and choice North American plants, a group of special interest to Jefferson himself.

Center for Historic Plants gardens, barn, and greenhouse

Jefferson owned over 5,000 acres in Bedford County, Virginia (at Poplar Forest), and he also owned 5,000 acres in Albemarle County, Virginia. Monticello was his pride and joy, but he also maintained five satellite farms surrounding Monticello: Milton, Tufton, Lego, Shadwell, and Pantops. Tufton Farm is now home of the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants.

Guided tours of the Center's preservation display gardens

Through the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the Center sponsors many educational programs including three annual Open Houses (one each in April, May, and October) with featured speakers, garden tours, and plant sales; a number of Saturdays in the Garden workshops; and private group tours of the Center's preservation display gardens and nursery. To schedule a group tour, please contact Monticello's Reservations department at 434-984-9881.

The Garden Shop at Monticello's David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center, open daily

We specialize in heritage and native plants. The Garden Shop at Monticello's David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center, open daily, and its companion in the Monticello Online Shop, offer a broad range of historic plants and seeds as well as books, reproduction flower pots, and related items.

Stay in touch with the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants on Facebook: receive garden-related announcements, learn about upcoming events, and see photos of our gardens throughout the year.

For further information, please contact us:
P.O. Box 316, Charlottesville, VA, 22902 


There are three notable plant collections located at the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants:


The Center's iris collection represents over 300 years of cultivation and breeding.


Rose Border

 The Rose Border at CHP includes varieties first identified as early as the 1400s.


Léonie Bell Rose Garden

Established in memory of rose enthusiast and author, Léonie Bell, the garden features over 30 noisette roses.


Available in Our Online Shop
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boars breath's picture
Does anyone know of most current description of Jefferson’s “lost” Taliaferro Apple? Peter Hatch mentioned in a Mother Earth interview a year ago that a new description source for the Apple was just discovered. Yet that source and more importantly the description has not been made public as far as I know. I have contacted several people in regard to this and no one has answered. This is not a reference to the Jefferson/ Mease letters description. Supposedly this was a new description that had been recently found. Thanks
BE Todd
plazamart's picture
I Would appreciate info on how to retrieve, for planting next year, seeds of Amaranthus Tricolor (Josephs Coat). The seeds were a gift from my son 3 years ago, & volunteer plants have appeared in the general area planted. They are beautiful! G.D. Gilmour
Gary D. Gilmour
etay's picture
Whenever people ask me about Monticello, I like to tell them about the Center for Historic Plants (CHP), a hidden treasure at Monticello. Many people tend to think about Monticello as simply being the house and the gardens, but often, they tend not to be aware of the other cool stuff going on, like the CHP. Their response is often, “Really? I had no idea this was part of Monticello!” There are links to the fabulous Twinleaf Journal, put out by CHP, and to the seed and plant catalogs available online.
Endrina Tay
pcornett's picture
This page takes me to everything at CHP from the plant collections to the Twinleaf articles, to the online seed and plant sales.
Graham Furniss's picture
I visited last week and on the garden tour we met Beth (?) who showed us a great pair of gardening gloves. Since coming home we have struggled to remember the brand of gloves she referred to. Could Beth remind us? Many thanks, Graham furniss


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