Gardening in Monticello with Pat Brodowski

Every gardener has a dream garden, a destination he wants to visit. For many market gardeners this place is Monticello. Strolling on the terrace of Thomas Jefferson’s garden and looking south through the orchard and vineyard is a dream come true.

Visitors to Monticello are encouraged to pick and taste the fruit from the vegetable garden. Photo by Bill McChesney

Monticello, where Pat Brodowski was the chief market gardener until recently, has been restored to Thomas Jefferson’s original design for the property. The grounds owe their present splendor to the efforts of modern personnel, as well as to the slaves who laid the foundation and carried out most of the work during Jefferson’s time.

Each year, half a million people walk the Monticello grounds outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. Among them are famous personalities, such as the famous British gardener Monty Don, host of the longtime BBC show “Gardeners’ World”. Guests travel to this National Historic Landmark to see the home of the third President of the United States and to tour the grounds designed by one of the nation’s first horticultural influencers. The Jefferson Plantation spanned 5,000 acres at its peak in the late 1700s and was tended by more than 100 slave laborers. The vegetable and flower gardens, located next to Jefferson’s lavish home, were located on a 1,000-foot-long terrace near the cabins of slave laborers. Jefferson was active in the garden, especially in his later years.


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Monticello’s house is nestled among the flower beds and overlooks the vegetable garden. Photo by Andrew Weidmen

Nowadays, you can find the gardeners of Monticello cultivating the land, hauling compost, setting up poles for beans or tomatoes, sowing trays for successional crops, investigating and repairing deer damage, and Moreover. Brodowski had the duty and honor of looking after the vegetable garden for over a decade, starting in 2009. His morning began by loading tools and plants into a golf cart and checking the garden for any damage. of any kind. The daily checklist was invariably long. “You don’t really have a break,” she said.


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