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Plantidote of the Day 2011-08-17

Kathryn's picture

Tulip Trees

Liriodendron tulipifera
Tulip Trees at Monticello

In the image above, the two enormous trees that flank the front of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello are Liriodendrons. If you look at the tree on the right, and then just towards the house, and you make the image as big as possible, you will see a person standing there. Just to give yourself an idea of scale.

Image is courtesy member insanelysane, who writes:

Monticello is so wonderful. Jefferson was an engineer, gardener, architect and all that other stuff too. I do have some awesome pics of the 2 gigantic liriodendrons on either side of the home from across that big back lawn. You don't grasp the scale until you realize that tiny ant dressed in tan linen is a person walking past the tulip tree. Thomas, himself, had these trees planted when he built Monticello, over 200 yrs ago. These are ancient trees. He planted olive trees in his garden in Va..... Imported them cause he had connections...heh! His vegetable garden is so inspiring, 80' x 1000'.

From the Monticello website:

“Thomas Jefferson described the Tulip Poplar as "The Juno of our Groves" when he forwarded seeds to a Parisian friend, Madame de Tesse, in 1805. The Tulip Poplar, also called Yellow Poplar or Tuliptree, is a fast growing tree and the tallest hardwood species of the eastern North American forest. It is both a majestic and graceful tree and is especially treasured in European parks and gardens, where it was first described in 1687. Its dramatic, golden yellow autumn color, its ornamental, orange and green, tulip-like flowers, and its unusual leaves and quick growth lend this species the mythological glory Thomas Jefferson justly admired.”

These trees are estimated to be 120’ tall. More information on Tulip Trees here.

From Wikipedia, image in public domain, the tulip flower in bloom:

Tulip Trees

BONUS PICS!!! More images from insanelysane, some of the Monticello gardens:
The Monticello Vegetable Garden #1 Purple Hyacinth Bean on rustic trellis [dolichos lablab]:

Hyacinth Bean

The Monticello Vegetable Garden #2, 80’ x 1000’ on a terraced slope.

Veg Garden

Readers, please send twig ( images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chanterelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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insanelysane's picture
Submitted by insanelysane on

Jefferson's gardens and landscape reflects a gardener's desire to grow all things. Mr Jefferson imported seeds from the far reaches of the world to try and grow them at Monticello. He was looking for a way to expand the food sources for the country and to increase the biodiversity at his farm.

I gotta get back there sometime soon. There is so much to learn from this amazing man.