UVA’s Madison House

This past Friday nearly two dozen UVA students sat around a table at the back of a school building and talked about their visions of the future for a community garden. UVA has two community gardens but here’s the thing. These UVA students volunteer through Madison House and have chosen to devote themselves to the PVCC Community Garden. Many of them also were with us last year. I would like to take a moment to say thank you for their generosity of spirit, hard work, and compassion. They are just the nicest group of young men and women that you could possibly wish to meet.

Loss of a Fellow Community Garden

Reporters Emily Hays and Zack Wajsgras have done a nice piece in Charlottesville Tomorrow about the demise of the Friendship Court community garden. I’ll place the link below and I urge you to read it, if only in memoriam for someplace that truly meant a great deal to a great many people. As a community gardener, I greatly admired the work that was done there and over the hundreds, maybe thousands of times that I drove by, I would always glance over to see the orderly rows of glistening growing plants. Let us hope that this passing of a fellow community garden is only a temporary dry spell and that it will spring up reborn in a new setting very soon.


Recent News

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any updates to the blog. A full month ago we were the beneficiaries of a wonderful visit by UVA’s Office of Engagement. They came for the United Way Day of Caring and worked really hard, getting the garden a lot further in a number of important areas including organizing the shed, clearing beds, the hoop house, and working on shoring up the exterior fence.

We also have continued to benefit from UVA’s Madison House continuing to come on Fridays and Sundays. It has been a long, hot few few months and while now the weather has cooled and turned wetter, it has been difficult to bring in a good crop. Still, we are trying to bring something in if we can catch one hungry, hungry groundhog. We caught one, but he/she seems to have a partner in crime.

Now we are working to wrap up the season. We’ve got plants going in the hoop house, the beds nearly pathed, mulched, and cover cropped. And a recent large donation of organic seeds was delivered by a seed company that wishes to remain anonymous but we send them our grateful thanks.

Project SERVE

UVA’s Project SERVE occurred Friday and we received their offered service with much gladness. The men and women weeded the Hemingway bed that had gotten overgrown, planted and watered it. Just like that one of the garden’s eight beds was growing food for the hungry in our community.

Summer plots

There’s so much growing in the garden’s beds that I just had to start this hot summer Sunday with a few pictures to share the pleasure. Enjoy!

Job Openings at Monticello

If you’re interested, information about two local horticulture related jobs follows:
The Thomas Jefferson Foundation seeks a groundskeeper to maintain our grounds and landscape to a high horticultural standard. The position requires horticultural knowledge including; identification of native and cultivated trees, shrubs, groundcovers, and perennials; common grounds maintenance techniques; experience with pesticides and fertilizers; pruning and planting techniques; and an understanding of irrigation systems. Typical duties include mowing, chainsaw work, litter control, leaf removal, pruning, mulching, string trimming, snow and ice removal, and walkway maintenance. Knowledge of the safe use, operation, and preventive maintenance of common landscape and heavy equipment is essential. Applicant must be able to obtain and maintain a Virginia pesticide license within 6 months of hire. Typical schedule is 6:30 AM to 3PM, Tues-Sat or Sun-Thurs, flexibility may be required for special events. This position is considered essential personnel and is required to report to work during inclement weather. This is a full-time position and our benefit package includes: health, dental, life insurance, Paid Time Off, paid holidays, and a 401(k).
Please apply online at- https://monticello.applicantpro.com/jobs/1039485.html

We are looking for part time seasonal help:
The purpose of this job is to assist in the maintenance of Monticello’s gardens and landscape features to ensure a professional horticultural presentation and to preserve an historic plant collection. Assists in the maintenance of the fruit, flower, vegetable, and seed garden: planting; weeding; staking; edging; transplanting; seed and produce harvesting; fertilizing; seed sowing; amending soil; planting bulbs; moving potted specimen plants; labeling; mulching; cleaning and packaging seeds; assisting with garden tours; etc. Assists in occasional grounds maintenance activities, such as raking leaves, shoveling snow, mowing turf grass; weed-eating; cleaning gutters; spreading mulch; removing trees; clearing out woodlands; maintaining shrubberies; operating power equipment, such as lawn mowers, roto-tillers, weed-eaters, etc. This position is full-time seasonal position: 40hr/week for 25-30 weeks. Please send resume to grounds@monticello.org.


I’d like to take a moment to express gratefulness to Garrad and Victoria, officers with PVCC’s Horticulture and Environmental Club. They came out to the garden this morning and began a big project of making the back fence more impregnable. A number of critters have been finding their way through or underneath it and eating crops. In response, some of our community members have been fencing their individual beds, but we’re hoping that by improving the exterior fence we can create a safe space inside. This will be a long project but we’ll be in much better space when it’s done. Also pictured are a few of the garden beds. Looking good right now, ya’ll!

Upcoming news

New for May…
A beautiful new mural by our wonderful volunteers from Madison House.

New garden volunteers starting this month!
New mulch that’s so broken down and rich it looks like great black soil!

And just tons of native plants in flower. Come and see.

UVA’s Big Event comes up HUGE

This past Saturday we were grateful for a reprieve from the showers of April because it allowed students from UVA’s Big Event to volunteer in the garden. Seven students showed up and man, they worked! We planted two rows of freshly dug up raspberries. I’m so excited about this, because just in the last few weeks we’ve planted raspberries and thornless blackberries, a great, long-lasting addition to the community garden that we’ve been looking forward to for years!

We also took down all last season’s brush from the native plant borders and cut down a lot of twining plants that had been working their way up the fence border. It looks so much cleaner in the garden and created a lot of room for new spring growth to flourish. We worked two beds to get them ready for planting, weeded, divided iris and planted some by the roadside sign and rehung the other sign, rolled up the sides of the hoophouse to welcome the air in, etc.

Amazing. Thank you to all the hardworking students who came to join us for a few hours before heading back to their studies and perhaps, to join in the celebration of UVA’s national basketball championship.

Plant labels, garden style

Madison House’s Sunday shift came in and made even more rock labels. These beauties are going to grace the grounds of the community garden for many years to come!