June 26, 2013

Heirloom seeds and wishful thinking...

 “No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.” - Thomas Jefferson
As we said goodbye to Monticello and headed back towards Charlottesville, we (I say "we", but of course I really mean "I") had to stop by the lovely gift shop at the bottom of the hill.  Having admired the layout of Tom's gardens, it seemed apropos to purchase a few packets of heirloom seeds.
Said seeds will hopefully turn into:
and these:
Painted Lady sweet peas
and these:
French Mallow
Jefferson's gardens were his pride and joy, and just looking at the carefully designed plots makes you think you too can have a green thumb.  We'll see....
The biggest shock in the gift store, though, was that my husband purchased something!  He's the guy who always sits on a bench outside the shop, waiting patiently while I browse through everything.  I don't need anything, and I usually don't buy anything, but I sure do like to browse and get ideas!  But the gardening bug bit my husband as well, and he impulsively purchased two packets of heirloom tomatoes.  We've been married almost thirty-one years and in all that time he has never shown the slightest interest in gardening, probably due to all the weeds he had to pull in his dad's garden way back when.  But now we are the proud owners of two little seed packets, hoping that a little of Jefferson's skill will rub off and turn into:
'Brandywine' is considered the most esteemed late nineteenth century heirloom tomato. It has potato-like leaves and large, meaty, reddish-pink fruit, with an indeterminate growth habit.
As we made our way back to Charlottesville in search of a good dinner, we drove past the University of Virginia, founded by Jefferson in 1819.  It was the first nonsectarian university in the United States and the first to use the elective course system.  I thought the architecture, designed by you-know-who, looked familiar:
At this point we were tired and hungry, so the photo op was a rolled down window and a slight slowing of the car while I shot the picture really fast!
And as we finally, after a long but truly satisfying day, made our way back to the motel for a good night's sleep, I discovered another question I should ask when making reservations sight unseen....by any chance, are there railroad tracks located approximately fifteen feet from my bed???
Scenic view from our window.  The whole room was shaking, and I think the trains ran every fifteen minutes...all night long!

So on that final note we say goodbye, or au revoir (as French loving TJ would say) and head towards Williamsburg, originally known as Middle Plantation when founded in 1632 and later the capital of the Colony of Virginia.  We'll see what Patrick Henry said to fire up the colonials and listen to that rascally traitor, Benedict Arnold, try to condone his actions!  Stayed tuned for some colonial mayhem and the great Gunpowder Incident of 1775!

Here's a poem by Thomas Moore, Irish poet and songwriter, and a great favorite of Thomas Jefferson's.  It is taken from Thomas Jefferson's Scrapbooks:  Poems of Nation, Family and Romantic Love, Collected by America's Third President.  It's a fun book to browse through to get a sense of what interested Jefferson and the sentiments of the times.

Oh, Could We Do With This World of Ours

Oh, could we do with this world of ours
As thou dost with thy garden bowers,
Reject the weeds and keep the flowers,
What a heaven on earth we'd make it!
So bright a dwelling should be our own,
So warranted free from sigh or frown,
That angels soon would be coming down,
By the week or month to take it.

Like those gay flies that wing through air,
And in themselves a lustre bear,
A stock of light, still ready there,
Whenver they wish to use it;
So in this world I'd make for thee,
Our hearts should all like fire-flies be,
And the flash of wit or poesy
Break forth whenever we choose it.

While every joy that glads our sphere
Hath still some shadow hovering near,
In this new world of ours, my dear,
Such shadows will all be omitted; --
Unless they're like that graceful one,
Which when thou'rt dancing in the sun,
Still near thee, leaves a charm upon
Each spot where it hath flitted!

1 comment:

  1. How wonderful to have these heirloom seeds from Jefferson's garden. It sounds like you will soon be enjoying time in your garden together. I LOVE mallows of all sorts. My mom has some growing in her garden.