Thomas Jefferson;s Revolutionary Garden
1,000-foot long garden terrace, 80 ft.wide
12-ft tall “paling” fence three quarters of a mile long
170 varieties of fruit
400 trees in the orchard
Peter J. Hatch
NYBG/ Sothebys – October 16, 2012
Peter Hatch, Retired Director of Gardens and Grounds at Monticello, gave gardeners and socialites alike, a talk that rested on Jefferson’s belief that “the failure of one thing is repaired by the success of another.” As a gardener, I am well acquainted with false steps and less so with achievement. After spending 35 years at Monticello, Peter Hatch had plenty to say about both.
From the age of 67-82, Jefferson devoted himself to growing vegetables. His was a garden of retirement. “But though an old man, I am but a young gardener”. Hatch categorized Jefferson’s garden as particularly American in scope and scale. It was BIG and EXPERIMENTAL. Unlike the potagers of Europe, Jefferson took chances. He planted vegetables that were unknown and untried in Virginia. Hatch described his table as the “new American cuisine” and Jefferson as the “first foodie”.
Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826. What date could be more fitting for the author of the Declaration of Independence? During the talk, Eunyoung Sebazco, Horticulture Manager of Randall’s Island, whispered in my ear. “Let’s make a Thomas Jefferson Vegetable Garden.” “Ok” I said, “one thing let’s not make it a 1,000 ft. long”.