Thursday, April 21, 2011

Charlottesville Public Gardens

As part of Virginia Garden Week, we visited two of the best known gardens in Charlottesville, Monticello and the UVA Academical VillageMonticello offered a free lecture and tour of the gardens that Thomas Jefferson designed in the early 1800's.

I've been to Monticello twice since moving to Charlottesville and have yet to go into the house.  The grounds keep me totally occupied.  There are flower gardens, orchards, and the enormously wonderful vegetable garden.  The Gardening Club of Virginia accurately restored the gardens utilizing Jefferson's meticulous records and plans.  During restoration, they discovered that if they shone their headlights on the yard they could SEE the old outline of the garden foot paths behind Monticello.

Crown Imperial Lily, Fritillaria imperialis
The speaker and key tour guide, Peter Hatch, the Director of Gardens and Grounds, is so impressive.  He has worked for 34 years restoring Jefferson's gardens and eloquently sharing his passion for Monticello.  Publishing several books on the topic, he can recite the history of the gardens like no other!

We strolled the grounds with Peter taking in his enthusiasm for gardening while our eyes feasted on the beautiful scenery.  Monticello's high elevation provides a scenic panoramic view of surrounding mountains and Charlottesville.  Winding our way through the largest Tulips I have ever seen, a trail of color lining the main pathways to the house, surrounding us.  Dancing Columbines, Jeffersonia Diphylla, Tree Peonies, and other spring bloomers were side notes to the Tulips.  The massive trees were leafing out and remnants of patches of the early showing of yellow Daffodils were lingering in the grassy hillsides.  The grounds of Monticello are amazing any season but Spring should not be missed!

We reluctantly sped away down into the heart of Charlottesville to another one of Jefferson's masterpieces, the UVA Academical Village.  This is the original area of the University of Virginia.  There are separate serpentine brick walled gardens behind each main buildings in this area.  Jefferson had no specific designs for the plantings within the walls but years following his death, these gardens have developed into lovely, restful spaces.

My next gardening week event is organized through the Newcomers Club and hosted by the Monticello Gardening Club.  Then, I will be returning to our family home to gather some cuttings and divide some plants while turning a half a century old on Easter Sunday. 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...