Evenings for the Jefferson family were filled with conversation, games, reading, and music.
Following dinner, Thomas Jefferson, his family, and their guests might have spent a cool evening enjoying the gardens of Monticello.
A Family Affair
Oblique angle of Monticello's West Portico looking up through Coxcomb, Prince's Feather and Spiderflower blossoms; photo by Ian Atkins.
The flower gardens captivated the family's interest, and Jefferson's daughters and granddaughters worked the plots themselves, often with the help of an elderly slave. Granddaughter Ellen remembered scenes during Jefferson's retirement at Monticello:
"Then, when spring returned, how eagerly we watched the first appearance of the shoots above ground. What joy it was for one of us to discover the tender green breaking through the mould, and run to grandpapa to announce, that we really believed Marcus Aurelius was coming up, or the Queen of Amazons was above ground . . . . Then when the flowers were in bloom, and we were in ecstasies over the rich purple and crimson, or pure white, or delicate lilac, or pale yellow of the blossoms, how he would sympathize in our admiration, or discuss with my mother and elder sister new groupings and combinations and contrasts. Oh, these were happy moments for us and for him!"