Did you know that Christmas trees are harvested several months before they even make it to the tree lot around Thanksgiving ti... Read more »
Are you thinking about the holidays and getting a living tree for Christmas? Read more »
Whether it’s chopping, kindling or splitting firewood for a campfire, there are times when an axe comes in handy. Ask yourself... Read more »
The Fiskars® aluminum shrub rake features a slim head with uniquely tapered tines that are perfect for reaching into tight spac... Read more »
Our Eco Bin Composter features an easy-to-assemble, easy-to-use design that can simplify and speed the composting process. It i... Read more »
Our HardShell® Kangaroo® Gardening Container is perfect for all your outdoor cleanup needs — whether you’re gathering yard and... Read more »
Teresa Collins is a top craft celebrity who has been featured numerous times on My Craft Channel, HSN, QVC and DIY network, wel... Read more »
Our unique Tag Maker with Built-in Eyelet Setter features an innovative design that makes it easy to create tags perfect for gi... Read more »
Looking to give a second life to some old clothing. Here are a few ideas to get you started. Read more »
By creating a few simple tags, you won’t be caught at the fabric store not knowing what fabrics or yardage you have in your st... Read more »
A brocade drawstring pouch can be a beautiful and luxurious accessory or gift. Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Serrated Fabric Shears sense blade separation an... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
The holidays are a popular time to stop and thank teachers and all of the wonderful staff at school for all they do. Read more »
Encourage children to help make gifts this holiday season with these kid-friendly projects. Read more »
Our Preschool Training Scissors features a special training lever that opens the blades after each cut, helping children learn... Read more »
Children love our Designer Non-stick Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the colorful handle patterns that make cutting fun and the non... Read more »
Our Designer Non-stick Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those ol... Read more »
Transform a basic jacket into something personal and unique. Read more »
Create a simple reusable calendar to plan all of your back to school activities. Read more »
Creating a miniature collage with your Fiskars® Duck® Edition Scissors is a great way to use up any last bits of Duck Tape® yo... Read more »
Designed for long, easy cuts down strips of Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that preve... Read more »
Designed for all-purpose cutting through a range of craft materials that incorporate glue, tape and other sticky adhesives, our... Read more »
Designed for tight, precise cuts through a range of craft materials that incorporate glue, tape and other sticky adhesives, our... Read more »
These garden and farm records played an important role in the restoration of Jefferson’s gardens at Monticello, according to Peter Hatch, who supervised the project and recently authored A Rich Spot of Earth (pictured above). Today, Jefferson’s garden journals continue to help modern gardeners appreciate his impressive horticultural achievements.
I bought the 1987 special edition of Jefferson’s Garden and Farm Books at a library book sale for two dollars (also pictured above). For a history buff like me, that was a great find. The volume featured Jefferson’s actual garden records at Monticello, plant lists and a horticultural bibliography for those interested in historical gardens. It also included Jefferson’s letters to George Washington, John Adams and James Madison.
The left book in this photo – Founding Gardeners – provides a rich history of how the Founding Fathers’ love of gardening and farming were fundamentally important to the creation of the United States.
Garden Records Relive History
A master of detail, Jefferson observed nature in detail and recorded new varieties of trees, fruits, vegetables, shrubs and flowers. From his records we learn that in March 1790, “a cold wind in this month killed all the peaches at Monticello” but “the other species of fruits escaped tolerably well.”
We also learn that on:
• Feb. 28, 1782, “a flock of wild geese flying to N.W.” was spotted.
• March 30, 1766, “Purple hyacinth begins to bloom.”
• April 19, 1794, the growing season’s “first dish of Spinach” was served from his garden.
A pioneer in meteorology, Jefferson started July 1, 1776 – and continued throughout the rest of his life – to compile extensive weather data, noting daily maximum and minimum temperatures, rainfall and wind direction. He reported that on May 26, 1771, “the greatest flood ever known in Virginia” took place. And later on Nov. 16, 1774, “this morning the Northern part of the Blue ridge is white with snow.”
Inspiration for Today
More than two hundred years later, Jefferson has inspired me to keep better garden records. I’m not nearly as disciplined as the former president. But just as he did, I’m trying to record what’s happening in my yard – particularly on a busy planting day.
These handwritten notes help me track plant varieties in my garden, and monitor how well they grew that year. Plant tags that aren’t attached to pages are housed in plastic sleeves that I slide into a 3-ring binder.
Another reason to keep records is to help with crop rotation. Both Jefferson and George Washington were big proponents of crop rotation to protect the quality of soil in their gardens. They rotated food crops, so the same edibles weren’t planted in the same places year after year. Above shows how Jefferson tracked where a particular food was planted that season, when it was planted, the day it arrived on the table and miscellaneous facts about its growth.
Here you can see how I listed edible varieties planted in a particular bed, and how well they grew. This allows me to later remember what I’ve harvested from past years, so I can ensure the same plant family isn’t grown in the same spot more than once every three or four years.
However, you decide to use your garden journal, don’t be afraid to record your disappointments, as well as your successes. Jefferson considered his garden his laboratory, and he often learned the most valuable lessons from his failures.
As Jefferson explained, “But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.”
Some things to record in your garden journal:
• Names of different plant varieties and how well they grew
• Planting dates, locations and growing conditions for various varieties
• Locations of edibles for crop rotation
• Important milestones in garden, like the first cherry blossom in spring, or the details of a summer thunderstorm passing through.
Notes: For more about Monticello, visit: http://www.monticello.org/.