Happy 200th, USBG!

Established by the United States Congress in 1820 and open continuously to the public since 1850, the United States Botanic Garden tells us that Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and James Madison “wished for the new capital city to have a botanic garden to demonstrate and promote the importance of plants to the young nation.”

The following slide show takes us on a virtual walk through the Monticello garden as it appears today – in full summer form. And read on below for the full story of Monticello’s USBG garden!

Monticello is honored to be a part of the USBG’s bicentennial celebration – contributing expertise and a collection of seeds and plants from the estate that were grown during Jefferson’s lifetime. With four planting beds provided, we organized a landscape at the USBG’s Bartholdi Park into four main themes: Jefferson’s favorite edible plants, Jefferson’s ornamental gardens, African American gardens at Monticello and Jefferson’s connection to native plants, including flora shared by Native American tribes during the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery.

Bartholdi Park, where the Monticello garden beds are located, is open to the public year-round. Directly adjacent to the U.S. Capitol, the location provides a spectacular backdrop to showcase some of the plants we continue to grow in Monticello’s historic gardens today. Throughout 2020, the USBG garden has transitioned to feature spring, summer and fall plants in their peak bloom. Signage was recently installed throughout the displays, highlighting the unique role that Jefferson had in promoting horticulture across America.

Looking for something safe and wonderful to do in DC? This bicentennial garden will remain open through 2020. We hope you have the opportunity to safely visit in person, and ask that you consider posting about your experience and sharing your photos to our Monticello Farm & Garden Facebook group using the hashtag #PlantingHistory.

And if you’re looking to begin, enhance or upgrade your own garden, please visit the Shop at Monticello for a very special selection of heirlooms seeds, plants, garden tools, planters and more!

Photos courtesy of United States Botanic Garden and Fred Abbey, 2018 Harrison Fellow graduate of Monticello’s annual “Historic Landscape Institute.”