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"A Rich Spot of Earth": Thomas Jefferson's Revolutionary Garden at Monticello
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"A Rich Spot of Earth": Thomas Jefferson's Revolutionary Garden at Monticello

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3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  100 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Were Thomas Jefferson to walk the grounds of Monticello today, he would no doubt feel fully at home in the 1,000-foot terraced vegetable garden where the very vegetables and herbs he favored are thriving. Extensively and painstakingly restored under Peter J. Hatch's brilliant direction, Jefferson's unique vegetable garden now boasts the same medley of plants he enthusiasti ...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Yale University Press (first published January 1998)
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Community Reviews

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Jonathan
This is a wonderful book, partially a history of gardening in the United States, partially a history of Monticello, it has a few tidbits about the history of American food, and half of it is a beautifully illustrated catalog of common and unusual vegetable crops Thomas Jefferson grew. I was struck by how greatly our understanding of gardening has changed, and by how many of the vegetables we not consider common (broccoli, celery, peanuts) were either specialty crops or unpopular at the time. Thi ...more
Jess
May 11, 2012 Jess rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012-booklist


I was excited to finally get this from the library. For some reason, I find it difficult to read larger, almost coffee table-like books. Thomas Jefferson's garden was and is amazing. He was truly dedicated and interested in every aspect of gardening. After seeing the photos of Monticello's gardens, I would really like to visit there sometime.
Laura
Dec 12, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
I checked this out on NetGalley and found it pretty interesting, then ordered the book to give to my Dad for Christmas. I was really missing out just looking at it electronically. It is a gorgeous coffee table book full of really wonderful photos and illustrations. A must for historically-inclined gardeners and fans of the Sage of Monticello.
Emily
Jul 17, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
beautiful just beautiful, i like the strange old names of veg, i like the gardener's passion involved in both Jefferson and peter hatch, great pics nice stories,
Mary
Mar 18, 2011 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mainlibrary
This short book is a must-read for anyone interested in gardening, history, photography, nature, heirlooms, Thomas Jefferson, etc. Hmmm sounds like me!
Denver Public Library
Jan 11, 2017 Denver Public Library rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: emily
This book is a lovely overview of the resurrection of Jefferson's garden at Monticello. This has been a project for Peter Hatch since the late 70s, reinvigorating Jefferson's 1000 foot terraced garden. Peppered throughout with lovely photographs of the garden throughout the improvements and the seasons, and sprinkled with reproductions of pages from Jefferson's garden diary this book charts the growth of the garden both then and now. I really liked seeing the old fashioned vegetables (both names ...more
Katie
May 08, 2014 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, gardening
Hatch takes us up close and personal with Thomas Jefferson's garden obsession in this heavy volume. It is well researched and is accompanied by stunning pictures. The writing style is a little dry but not unpleasant. The author takes us through Jefferson's interest in gardening, the creation of his retirement garden at Monticello and the restoration of the garden in the 1900s. The best part of the book is the extensive list of vegetables he grew. Each vegetable type is thoroughly described in ta ...more
David Ward
"A Rich Spot of Earth": Thomas Jefferson's Revolutionary Garden at Monticello by Peter J. Hatch (Yale University Press 2012) (635) is a comprehensive volume that distills the brilliance of Thomas Jefferson's ability to delay short-term gratification for an immensely rewarding long-term payoff. His design vision for the fruit and vegetable gardens at Monticello is stunning. I was disappointed, nevertheless, by this volume; I looked forward to reading about the flowers in Jefferson's gardens as we ...more
Brad Lucht
Jan 22, 2016 Brad Lucht rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of famous quotes from Jefferson about gardening. What this book really exposes is how bad of a gardener Jefferson really was, an example of a wealthy landowner who had hired help and plenty of slaves to do his gardening for him.

This book is divided into two parts. The first half describes the history of the garden, how it was constructed and by whom. It goes into the detail of the archaeology of the garden, as well as the garden's restoration.

The second half of the book contains short stori
...more
Christine Boyer
Oct 09, 2012 Christine Boyer rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Organic & heirloom farmers, gardeners, landscape artists, seed collectors
Beautiful photos on every page! Pretty coffee table book. The author has been the gardener at Monticello for 30 years and you can tell that he loves his job and EVERY detail of horticulture. This book is for only a FEW people - and I'm not one of them. The author is very specific regarding weights, measures, pest control, seed packets, vegetable classifications, quantities, varieties - too much for me. I loved the few moments in the first half where the author would quote a letter from Jefferson ...more
Tracy
Oct 20, 2012 Tracy rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I really enjoyed this coffee table style book. I'm not a gardener, but I wanted to read this book for it's historical tidbits. I learned that Jefferson really loved his veggies and introduced a lot of new legumes to the States. He was one of the first gentleman farmers to start growing vegetables based on the seasons and he americanized gardening, and got away from the english style of planting.
This book is truly a treasure and so is it's author Peter Hatch. Hatch has devoted many decades to re
...more
Laura Odom
Mar 12, 2013 Laura Odom rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
This is a lovely coffee table book. It’s split into two sections – one telling the history of the Monticello gardens, and the second featuring vegetables that are found in it. Being a gardener, I really enjoyed this glimpse into this marvelous garden of both past and present, and it inspired me to go pull the weeds in my own garden! The pictures in the book are breathtaking, and reminded me of the awe I had when I visited Monticello in person. 4 of 5 stars.
Lissa Rose
May 12, 2015 Lissa Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting! A fascinating look into America's horticultural history! I never knew Thomas Jefferson and I shared a love for garden peas!
Gretta Walhovd
Jan 19, 2013 Gretta Walhovd rated it really liked it
Inspirational. Targets a very specific audience. the level of historical detail could be intense for someone with a casual interest in Jefferson's vegetable garden at Monticello.
Margaret
Jan 13, 2014 Margaret rated it liked it
Interesting information, well research and wonderful photos. But Peter Hatch is a gardener, not a writer, so the task of hoeing through his prose became a little tedious.
Janet Bellusci
Mar 05, 2013 Janet Bellusci rated it really liked it
incredible reconstruction of the original gardens gave me such an appreciation for the way foods worked their way from the old world to the new world, and from region to region. wonderful book.
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