A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Thomas Jefferson was an avid gardener. For 58 years, even when he was in Europe in service to his country, he kept gardening diaries. In his letters home, he always asked for detailed accounts about the gardens and the harvest of fruits and vegetables. He often commented on the varieties of plants that he found while traveling. He even smuggled seeds out of Italy.
It seems natural that author and gardener Laura Simon feels akin to Jefferson. Every winter she receives dozens of seed catalogs, and wanting to try new varieties in her large Nantucket garden, she orders from many of them. Then she turns her guest room into a greenhouse to start her seeds. Like Jefferson, she keeps annual gardening plans, ledgers and journals. Her actually writing letters to the long deceased Jefferson is not surprising.
In Dear Mr. Jefferson: Letters from a Nantucket Gardener, Simon recounts one gardening year in Nantucket. In the process, she also lovingly comments on all that she has learned from reading Jefferson and visiting Monticello. Published in 1998, it is still a delight to read. Add it to your list. – Review by Rick