Thomas Jefferson

Letter to the Monticello Naturalist

On this day Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the painter and naturalist Charles Willson Peale about his farming and gardening at Monticello ("MontiCHELLo”).
Here's an excerpt:

“I have heard that you have retired from the city to a farm, and that you give your whole time to that.
Does not the Museum suffer? and is the farm as interesting?
I have often thought that if heaven had given me a choice of my position and calling, it should have been on a rich spot of earth, well watered, and near a good market for the [produce from]the garden. No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden. Such a variety of subjects, someone always coming to perfection, the failure of one thing repaired by the success of another, and instead of one harvest a continued one through the year.
Under a total want of demand, except for our family table, I am still devoted to the garden. But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.
Your application to whatever you are engaged in I know to be incessant.
But Sundays and rainy days are always days of writing for the farmer.”

This post was featured on
The Daily Gardener podcast:

helping gardeners find their roots,
one story at a time
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson

Leave a Comment