I have always admired Thomas Jefferson’s work and philosophy, so it only made sense that elements of his Monticello would serve as inspiration for Moss Mountain Farm. As a graduate student in England, I studied gardens that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had visited in the 18th century. I was inspired by the concept of ferme ornée, a farm designed for both utility and beauty, and I hope that you are inspired to incorporate aspects of Monticello into your home garden.
3 Ways to Bring Aspects of Monticello to Your Garden
Play around with color and texture. Jefferson grew 300 varieties of more than 70 different kinds of vegetables. While his vegetable garden was a functional part of the farm, he also incorporated ornamental aspects. For instance, he arranged broccoli to create visual interest, planting rows of purple, white, and green sprouting broccoli next to each other. He also used okra or sesame as a border around a square of tomato plants–a play on textures.
I like to use flowers as borders around the raised beds in the vegetable gardens, which add pops of color and also attract beneficial birds and pollinators.
- Plant bulbs along walkways. Jefferson planned a flower border along his winding walkways. Bulbs were especially important in this design. In fact, Jefferson mentioned tulips more than any other flower in his garden books.Think about creating borders and using bulbs in creative designs as part of your own landscape.I go absolutely crazy for tulips. There are so many varieties and colors to choose from, and, like Jefferson, I plant them along the walkways on the farm.
3. Go native. Twenty-five percent of flowers at Monticello were native to North America. It is said that “the gardens became, in part, a museum of New World botanical curiosities.” For instance, he planted the cardinal flower, which grew along the Rivanna River at the base of the the mountain on which Monticello sits.
I make a concentrated effort to cultivate the native wildflowers and species into my landscape. These are the flowers pollinators feel most at home with, so it makes sense to include them! Do some research on which plants are native where you live and incorporate them into your landscape.
To learn more about the gardens of Monticello, check out the video below!