The Thomas Jefferson Foundation owns and operates Monticello, the mountaintop home of Thomas Jefferson and the only home in America on the elite World Heritage List of the United Nations. As a private, nonprofit organization, the Foundation receives no ongoing local, state, or federal funds for its two-fold mission of preservation and education. More than 450,000 people visit Monticello each year.
Monticello’s Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants (CHP), established in 1987, collects, preserves, and distributes historic plant varieties and strives to promote greater appreciation for the origins and evolution of garden plants. The program centers on Jefferson’s horticultural interests and the plants he grew at Monticello, but also covers the broad history of plants cultivated in America by including varieties documented through the 19th century and choice North American plants. Thomas Jefferson’s landscape and gardens have been recreated with unusual accuracy. The flower gardens – the oval beds and winding walk on the West Lawn – were restored by the Garden Club of Virginia between 1939 and 1941. The Grove, an 18-acre ornamental forest reflecting Jefferson’s vision of the ideal American garden, was recreated in 1978, and Jefferson’s fruit and vegetable gardens were restored in the early 1980s based on years of archaeological and documentary research.
Monticello’s garden education programs – garden tours for 35,000 yearly visitors, Historic Landscape Institute, and Saturdays in the Garden series – are singular in quality and use the landscape as a classroom for the study of Thomas Jefferson and his revolutionary gardens. Jefferson cultivated 330 vegetable and 170 fruit varieties, and Monticello was an Ellis Island of new and unusual plants from around the world. He championed vegetable cuisine, plant experimentation, and the value of sustainable agriculture. Garden history lives at Monticello like nowhere else in America.
Monticello’s Web site — www.monticello.org — provides convenient access to a wealth of information about Monticello, Jefferson, his family, and his times; visitor information; event and program listings; ticket reservations; online shopping; and links to hundreds of resources.