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New Book about Jefferson’s Gardens is a Winner


IMG_4021-002The American Horticulture Society’s book awards for 2013 are out, and here’s the one winner that I might just buy:  A Rich Spot of Earth by Peter J. Hatch.  The AHS notes that it’s “unquestionably a superb work of scholarship,” and an “homage to Jefferson’s contributions to our national gardening heritage as well as a treasury of information about the many varieties of plants he experimented with in his Virginia garden.”

Peter Hatch is none other than the director of gardens at Monticello for 35 years until his recent retirement.  He’s a keen historian of Jefferson’s gardens, and knows more about that sacred soil than anyone on earth.  Click here if you  missed Adrian Higgins’ wonderful article about Peter in the Washington Post.


I visited Monticello in 2011 and enjoyed it so much I couldn’t imagine why I hadn’t been there since high school!!  I wrote two stories about the trip for Garden Rant: about Jefferson’s kitchen garden  and about the Ornamental Gardens at Monticello.


heritageThe 2013 Heritage Harvest Festival offers a full schedule of garden-related talks and workshops – September 6-7 of this year (2013).

Or anytime, there’s a choice of three awesome tours:  the house,  the plantation tour, which tells the honest story of slavery at Monticello, and of course the grounds and gardens.

Photos and text by Susan Harris.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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