A few months ago, I wrote about how Artist Dates, in the manner that Julia Cameron describes them, don’t always have to be done alone. I will be highlighting a few of my recent Artist Dates each Monday in a new Artist Date series. I know the recommendation is to do an artist date once a week, but honestly, with two small children, that’s next to impossible for me. However, I get lucky every now and then and get to venture out on my own for a non-writing, non-essential field trip. By non-writing I mean that I’m not actually writing on the artist date. However, many of these adventures definitely feed into the writing.
In April, I had an opportunity to visit Monticello after it closed to regular tourists for the evening. As part of their TOM (Topics on Monticello) Talks series, they featured Andre Viette, gardening expert. Because I grow a Thomas Jefferson garden at school with my fourth graders, I thought this would offer me the opportunity to learn more about Jefferson as a gardener.
I’ve been to Monticello well over a dozen times, but almost always on a field trip with about 75 kids in tow. Even though I learn new things every year at Monticello, it’s always rushed. I’m always worried about losing someone, maybe even losing myself. But this evening, only the few dozen TOM Talk attendees were there. We could wander the property.
Each time I’ve walked this path at Mulberry Row, it’s been full of hundreds of people. But this time, it was still and silent and mystical. I just stood and listened. I was astonished at the lack of people and the beauty of this property.
There were appetizers and adult beverages and an atmosphere to go with it. I mean, who doesn’t want to dine among the tulips?
I’ve been researching a lot about Thomas Jefferson’s gardens. I find his knowledge and brave experimentation in the garden to be staggering.
Andre Viette spoke about plants, both then and now. He isn’t much into organic gardening, unlike Thomas Jefferson.
But just sharing the same vistas that Jefferson shared, I fed the muse.