Stella Otto: The Backyard Fruit Gardener

Today's Tip: Mow vegetation short around the base of fruit trees and bushes to reduce winter habitat for rodents.

The Fruits and Fruit Trees of Monticello: Thomas Jefferson and the Origins of American Horticulture — Book Review

Book Review


A fascinating chronicle of the restoration of the edible gardens a Thomas Jefferson's Momticello

A fas­ci­nat­ing chron­i­cle of the restora­tion of the edi­ble gar­dens at Thomas Jefferson’s Momticello.

Title: The Fruits and Fruit Trees of Mon­ti­cello: Thomas Jef­fer­son and the Ori­gins of  Amer­i­can Horticulture

Author: Peter J. Hatch

Strong points: Where to begin? This book is as infor­ma­tive and fas­ci­nat­ing as it is beau­ti­ful!
It belongs in the library of every seri­ous fruit gar­dener, no really every gar­dener! It also belongs on every gardener’s cof­fee table and in every historian’s collection.

Weak­nesses: Only that the fruits shared in the book don’t very lit­er­ally jump out of the book for us to eat!

Green thumbs rat­ing:

Book Rat­ing:  

I have trea­sured own­ing this book since it’s orig­i­nal pub­li­ca­tion and now, this week, I have had the priv­i­lege of attend­ing a con­fer­ence where the author, the ven­er­a­ble Peter Hatch, Direc­tor of Gar­dens and Grounds Emer­i­tus, Mon­ti­cello brought it even more to life. What a treat!

We are so for­tu­nate that Thomas Jef­fer­son was as ded­i­cated a record keeper as he was a gar­dener and states­man. Equally, we are blessed that Peter Hatch is as ded­i­cated a his­to­rian and hor­ti­cul­tur­ist that he strove to recre­ate, first on the grounds of Mon­ti­cello and now for us in this book, with such accu­racy what Jef­fer­son orig­i­nally intended and cre­ated in his gar­dens. What a priv­i­lege that we are able to share the adven­ture, the tri­als, tribu­la­tions, and suc­cesses through all that Peter brings to us in this won­der­ful book. It is one to be savored like a great big juicy bite of an Eso­pus Spitzen­burg — Jefferson’s favorite apple!

ISBN: 0–8139-1746–8 (hard­cover), 978–0813926919 (paper­back)
# of pages: 238
Pho­tos: yes, many black & white; 49 color, many are repro­duc­tions of old botan­i­cal prints
Illus­tra­tions: yes, numer­ous repro­duc­tions of old black and white botan­i­cal prints
Appen­dix: yes, list­ing of the type and vari­eties of fruit Jef­fer­son grew
Notes: chap­ter by chap­ter list­ing of many of the his­toric source doc­u­ments sited
Index: yes
Pub­lisher: Uni­ver­sity Press of Vir­ginia
Pub­li­ca­tion Date: 1998 (HC), 2007 (PB)
Price: $39.95 (HC), $14.95 (PB)