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Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Gardens of Monticello

The day we spent at Monticello was beautiful and sunny(still very hot) but interesting and inspiring. I love hearing little historic and cultural facts so touring the house and grounds was fun. They have several tours, we went on the house tour, the garden tour, and the slave life tour. Check out their website for any special events and plan your trip! I would recommend setting aside a whole day to see everything and definitely get there early to avoid crowds and the heat. I was really excited to visit this house not only because it is a wonderful historical site and beautiful house but in 2008 I visited another Palladio home, La Rotonda, in Vicenza. Palladio was and extremely influential Italian architect during the 16th century and continues to inspire others today. Jefferson himself was inspired by Palladio and used some of his ideas when he remodeled Monticello to it's current design.

La Rotonda, Vicenza, Italy


On the garden tour! It's really interesting. TJ grew hundreds of plants while at Monticello. All of the plants on the property have been very carefully researched through Jefferson's purchase records and many journals to ensure they are the true original variety and breed during his lifetime. Today's seeds have been genetically altered to be more vibrant and hearty. These plants and flowers take you back in time to what they looked like in the 18th century. Here is Jane in a Cypress Vine.

Sniff Sniff

Entering the vegetable garden

A view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and TJ orchard.

An old fireplace from a slave quarters. All that remains.

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Down in the cellars. These run directly under the house and are connected to the outside. Hard to explain. You'll have to see for yourself.

A Jeffersonian Lizard

Thomas Jefferson never grew grapes or made wine during his lifetime although he very much wanted to and bought land to create a vineyard. It wasn't until the 1980s  that the land was purchased and a vineyard created. We went for a taste.

Upon Thomas Jefferson's death he was over $100,000 in debt. His entire estate, furnishings, and slaves were sold. Later owners were unprofitable cultivating crops and left his house and property to the government who didn't know what to do with it for decades leaving it to fall into disrepair. It wasn't until almost a half century after his death that the Levy family bought and began to repair the home. In 1923 the Levy family sold the home to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation who own the estate today.

To learn more about any of these topics here are some resources:

I hope you've enjoyed this and be sure to have a bright day!
bright girl

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