And when I looked down from the plane's window, I loved what I saw: green, green, and more green. There were green trees everywhere. It was just beautiful. And while it was too early for a full fall foliage display, I didn't care. I was going on a Presidential Gardens Tour!
In the end, I was pleased to visit three gardens of previous Presidents. Can you guess where I was?
Charlottesville, VA is home to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's famed home. James Monroe's home, Ashland-Highland is just 2-1/2 miles away from Monticello. And in Orange, VA, outside of Charlottesville, sits James Madison's home, Montpelier.
Just a little advice: Do NOT type in Montpelier into your gps tracking device, or google maps, expecting them to know it as a point of interest. Both of them will take you to the town of Montpelier, VA, an hour away from your intended destination. Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way.
And if you are planning your own Presidential Gardens Tour, George Washington's Mount Vernon is just a few hour's drive from Charlottesville (near Alexandria, VA). But due to time constraints and complications with traffic congestion, my plans to visit it were spoiled.
I'll just have to plan another trip!
Here are just a few of my vacation pictures from Monticello, Ashlawn-Highland, and Montpelier. We'll start with the home of the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello:
|Monticello from the back.|
See that pathway in the picture above? This was a circular pathway lined with flowers on both sides. I could imagine walking along this path every morning, and maybe I'll be able to incorporate this design somewhere in my own garden.
This is just one of the groups of flowers lining the pathways. So many different varieties of flowers all placed together! And the plantings were different in each grouping. In addition, they were planted very densely. So, while not everything in the groupings were blooming at the same time, it had the feel that the entire group was blooming because they were planted so closely together.
But I was most impressed with the vegetable garden:
So different from my weed-filled vegetable garden! Some things had just been planted. Their little leaves were just beginning to pop up through the soil. And some things were ready to be harvested. I felt quite inadequate as a vegetable gardener here!
Above is another area of the vegetable garden. There were a few pods, but most of these peas were in flower. Morning glories and other climbing flowers were planted along with them. It was just beautiful.
Instead of taking the shuttle bus down the hill, we walked. About halfway down is the graveyard. I loved this unusual headstone, and think it looks especially lovely with the lush plantings around it.
Just around the corner is the home of the fifth President of the United States, James Monroe's Ashlawn-Highland:
Ashlawn-Highland from the back.
Ashlawn-Highland was a small house, but the grounds were beautiful. The approach to the house was lined with ash trees. Oh, how I wish I had a winding road leading to my home. I would love to have it lined with trees like this. Simply gorgeous.
They also had a beautiful vegetable garden (shown below), and a small kitchen garden with numerous herbs and a fig tree right outside the kitchen doorway. I am determined to have a much less weedy vegetable garden next year! I especially loved how they had beautiful ornamental plantings outside the vegetable garden. There was even a climbing rose bowing over the picket fence. You know I found that charming!
According to our guide, the tree below was over 300 years old! This wasn't the only tree that commanded attention. There were several areas where large and beautiful trees were featured. Note to self: plant more trees!
Check out the free-range chicken in the background of the picture below! haha - The rooster was trying so very hard to keep his "girls" in line, but they seemed to be ignoring him! In addition to chickens, there are also peacocks that wander the grounds.
While this garden was smaller than Monticello's, it had a uniquely enjoyable personality.
Home to the fourth President of the United States, James Madison's Montpelier (in Orange, VA!) was the final home we visited.
|Montpelier from the back.|
This above view is just one small area looking across the garden. A hedge lined most of the straight walk through the middle of the garden, but wander around, and you will realize that there is much more about this garden than just what you can see from the main path. Hidden on either side are lovely plantings, several benches, secret pathways, and even a rustic bridge.
It was fun discovering these little secret areas. See the bench in the picture below?
Besides this particular garden, there was much more to discover here, including hands-on demonstrations, and a forested walk.
Next to the house are the model slave quarters (above). Before going to Virginia, I read 'Founding Gardeners', the book reviewed by Dorothy of Soil Sister of the San Joaquin. I am so thankful that Dorothy brought this book to my attention. It made the founding fathers come to life for me, and I noticed things in these gardens that my eye would not have caught before. These slave quarters are just one of the many things discussed in the book.
This temple located on the grounds is also discussed in the book. It sits over a well which was used as an ice house, keeping the temple cool, and allowing them to serve iced drinks and even ice cream during the summer - a rare treat back then!
|A close up of the plantings at Ashlawn-Highland.|
Each of the gardens were uniquely wonderful. Famous and beautiful, you could see the love of gardening that Thomas Jefferson had at Monticello. James Monroe's Ashlawn-Highland had gorgeous views and lovely garden areas. And James Madison's Montpelier was quite impressive with its numerous trees and rolling hills. I recommend touring all three!
Have you had the opportunity to tour these gardens?
Thanks Holley for giving us a glimpse of these presidential, and very much historical gardens! And you're right, each gardens looks uniquely wonderful.ReplyDelete
Yes, the gardens are wonderful to see, especially for their historical significance. I am amazed at all that was accomplished by the generations past.Delete
I did a project on the Monticello in the 5th grade...I have always wanted to visit!! Thanks so much for the wonderful tour! have a great weekend Holley GardenReplyDelete
I hope you get to visit in person some day. I think you'd really enjoy it.Delete
I can't believe you were just hours away from me! You could have come and picked up your irises! LOL I know you enjoyed it. That is a beautiful area. My sister and her family have been long time residents there.ReplyDelete
I wish I could have come visit you! Wouldn't that have been fun! I knew I was fairly close by. The Charlottesville area is gorgeous. I can only imagine how beautiful it will be in a few weeks when the leaves change. I bet your sister loves living there.Delete
AAAhhh, you just planned my next vacation!ReplyDelete
Ava, I seriously think you would love it. There really is a lot to see. I with I could have stayed a couple more weeks and seen even more!Delete
Holley, what a great idea to do a Presidential Garden Tour! I am not a vegetable gardener, but when I see your photos I want to be one. I also love the mature trees featured in your post. They are so incredible beautiful. Thanks for taking us on the tour!ReplyDelete
The trees were truly magnificent. I was discussing this with my husband. Trees just don't live that long here - I guess our dry summers are hard on them. As for the vegetable gardens, they were so well tended. I know they have a lot of help, but it still halfway inspired me, and halfway intimidated me because my vegetable garden is more weeds than vegetables!Delete
The vegetable gardens look amazing - so much energy must go into them! It's great to be able to come back home with ideas and motivation following these special visits. I especially like Ashlawn-Highland!ReplyDelete
I would love to be able to tend my vegetable garden just half as well as these were tended! I'm already thinking of ideas, and my motivation to work outside is very high!Delete
Oh wow, what an epic garden tour! It looks like you had so much fun and all of the gardens are gorgeous!ReplyDelete
It was misty and cool - I thought it was perfect weather! So different than the weather here! I had a wonderful time and would love to go back again.Delete
Lucky you! You've had a great tour. Have a nice weekend!ReplyDelete
When I learned all three Presidents lived just miles from each other, I knew I would love visiting this area. So rich in history!Delete
Great gardens, sounds like you had a fab time, thanks for sharing them.ReplyDelete
They really are some great gardens to visit. I really enjoyed learning about the history. Their pride in being American makes me even more proud, too.Delete
the vegetable garden at Monticello is grown as a serious, historically accurate source of food for the big house, family, guests and staff?ReplyDelete
Yes, it is grown as a serious, historically accurate garden. They grow vegetables that Jefferson himself grew, and some in the very spots that he grew them in. As for the food, they have special Saturdays open to tourists that can purchase a tasting where they give talks about the varieties and then the vegetables are served!Delete
eating an historical lunch, sounds like a wonderful way to bring history to life. I suppose they sell seed and plants of the heritage varieties?Delete
I was certain that they would sell seeds - but I was rushed when at the gift shop, and I didn't see any there. I wondered about it later on, I was so certain there must have been some there, and I would have picked some up if I had seen them on display. Plants, no. Montpelier (Monroe's home) sold boxwood cuttings.Delete
I meant Madison's home, not Monroe's! I saw some boxwoods outside at Monroe's home, but I didn't know if they were to be planted, or were for sale. If they were for sale, the sign was not as prominently displayed as at Montpelier.Delete
Hi There, I've been to Monticello ---but that is the only one of those three. I've been to Mt. Vernon but I was young, so don't remember too much about it. I'd love to visit those gardens again --but a better time probably would be in the spring...ReplyDelete
Great set of photos... Sounds like you had a great trip.
Oh, I think going in the spring would be glorious! I hope to get to Mt. Vernon at some point. Maybe I could squeeze in a tour of the White House gardens, too!Delete
Thanks for the fabulous tour. Lovely homes and gardens.ReplyDelete
Cher Sunray Gardens
I love that I came away with ideas from each of these gardens. I wasn't sure before I went if I would just be impressed, but not inspired, but am glad to report that I definitely was very inspired.Delete
I love history anyway, but add gardens and I'm really hooked. thanks for the tour. Loved it!ReplyDelete
I feel the same way - gardens are so much better with a little history, and vice versa!Delete
Thanks for the tour. Those morning glories and sweet peas are another reminder I need more vines in my garden.ReplyDelete
I need more vertical interest in my garden, too. I think I'll be certain to add peas to my spring vegetable garden next year!Delete
You did enjoy yourself for sure. It is always interesting to visit places as you did. Thinking of the lives that lived there and the history they all made. Historic gardens tell stories way beyond the flowers. Thanks for the tour. JackReplyDelete
I really enjoyed reading about the history, then being able to visit the gardens. It makes the gardens, and the history so much more interesting.Delete
I have not visited any Presidential gardens but would love to after seeing this!ReplyDelete
And I would love to visit more of them! Wouldn't it be fun to be able to visit them all?!Delete
These gardens/homes are just a few hours away from me! I'm outside DC. :o) I love Monticello. I was there this spring for a vegetable garden tour that included lunch made from the produce in the garden. I have The Founding Gardeners in my To Read pile. :o)ReplyDelete
Oh, how fun to be able to have tasted the produce from Monticello! You will absolutely love reading Founding Gardeners. It gives a totally new perspective to the gardens, and you will not look at them the same again, I bet. You live in a wonderful part of the country. So much historical significance and so many things to see there.Delete
Holley, thank you for sharing this tour! I feel as I would visit this garden myself. I liked the idea to plant the flowers very densely. Of course, it seems that the bed is blooming all the time because of closely planting.ReplyDelete
I loved how they had the flowers so densely planted. I could tell that at any time there would be something blooming, and the things that weren't blooming were hardly even seen.Delete
Holley, what an interesting post. Lovely gardens to look at, and historically so interesting. Not surprised their vegetable garden had less weeds than yours. They used to have slaves to look after it, now they have gardeners!ReplyDelete
Yes, I'm certain they spend more time on their vegetable gardens than I do on mine! Of course, I have to admit that I don't have a lot of passion for my vegetable garden. But, seeing how beautiful these were, it made me want to have one that was beautiful. So, maybe I'll take a little more time for mine from now on - I hope!Delete
Presidents gardens, now! how posh is that. I don't suppose I will ever see the likes but I didn't half enjoy sharing in your trip.ReplyDelete
And I am always so amazed and a bit jealous of all the history surrounding you, Alistair. I find as I get older history becomes more interesting, no matter what kind of history it is. Of course, throw in some gardens, and it makes it that much more fascinating.Delete
What an amazing tour, you must have had a wonderful time...ReplyDelete
It's very interesting to be able to see this through your lens.
Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams
I really enjoyed it, and wish I could have had even more time to explore these gardens, and the one at Mount Vernon, too. And reading Founding Gardeners beforehand made me even more excited to be able to see them.Delete
I absolutely must visit these...I have been to Mount Vernon and it is one of the best historical homes and gardens I have visited...this is a great trip to add to my list...always wanted to visit Jefferson's but was unaware the others were so close...what a fabulous opportunity!ReplyDelete
I do hope I get to see Mount Vernon sometime in the future. I bet it is absolutely wonderful. I was amazed how close these three Presidential gardens were. Jefferson's is the most famous, but I think anyone that sees it should take the time to see the other two, too.Delete
Thank you for a lovely tour, you must have had a great time. I hope one day I will go and see those gardens too.ReplyDelete
I loved reading about the history, and I loved that they were gardeners just like us (just in a bigger sense than most of us). In fact, the way they wrote each other and shared seeds reminded me a bit of bloggers. :)Delete
Wow! Thanks for taking us along, Holley! I haven't visited these gardens, but they're on my list now. Love the vegetable garden with the morning glories, etc. :-)ReplyDelete
I hope you get to go. I hope I remember next spring to plant several things together like they had there. It was really beautiful.Delete
It's always good to go out and explore other gardens and the ones you visited are truly an inspiration in every way! Thanks for the wonderful pictures and the tour :)ReplyDelete
I realized that these were wonderfully historic gardens, but I also realized that I need to go visit other gardens more. I rarely do that, and I should!Delete
What a beautiful new header photo you have, HolleyGarden!! What is that rose? It is so in love with you, that's obvious. Can't wait to hear what it is.ReplyDelete
Sherry, that is a Knock Out! It can look quite lovely at times. :)Delete
Hi Holley and thank you SO much for your pictures and comments! I've been to Monticello and Mt.Vernon. Unforgettable places!ReplyDelete
I was so excited to get to go here - and I have Mt. Vernon on my "must see very soon" list!Delete
I remember these historical buildings from my youth - school outings when I lived in Richmond Va. How beautiful the gardens are. Thanks for the memories!ReplyDelete
How wonderful to have had the experience as a schoolgirl to visit some of these historical places! We don't have the rich history such as this in Texas. Of course, we have other things, but it is so interesting to see these historical places in real life. It makes me more interested, and more proud, of the history behind the buildings and the people that lived there.Delete