My father loves Cicero, thinks he was very wise. If the above quote is any indication, I would have to agree. As a family, there is little in the material realm that we value above books and growing things.
Being surrounded by lush plant life, fragrant herbs and blossoms and rich soil is one of the most peaceful environments I can imagine. The provision of nature through the renewal of fruits and vegetables every year is of never-ending wonder to me. As soon as the temperatures become mild each year, I find myself eager once again to work with the earth and play my small part in the cycle of life. (Even if the lady at the garden center shakes her head at me and says that it’s still much too early.)
Having a bed and breakfast in Virginia, we have a great historical mentor from which to learn in Thomas Jefferson. The gardens he planted at Monticello were some of the most varied of their time. After his last term as President, he retired and was eager to learn the science of horticulture. He incorporated the innovative style of less formal flower beds, allowing them to flow with the natural landscape and be exposed to the elements. He experimented with different varieties of fruits and vegetables, bringing seeds from all over the world to see how they would flourish in Virginia.
Jefferson is known to be the father of many things American from gardening to cooking. Of course, the two are not unrelated. Kitchen Gardens used to be a necessity, an important source of produce for individual families and the surrounding community. Obviously today, most of us are able to drive down the road and pick up whatever we need at the grocery store, but the art of gardening is experiencing a re-birth.
People want to know where their food comes from, they want to connect with where it was grown. This year, we are taking the plunge and planning our own kitchen garden here at the Babcock House. The breezeway is already full of seedlings just waiting for the last frost to be over. We have beans, peppers, tomatoes, melons, asparagus, beets, kale and cabbage so far. I am so excited to watch this grow and flourish! We hope that guests at our bed and breakfast will enjoy seeing the process as well. I actually need to sign off now to get some things re-potted so they have room to grow and time to soak up the sunshine this afternoon. If you would like to stay abreast of our planting season, check out our Facebook page!