The artichokes Jefferson took note of in his weather observation records and the Washington market chart are globe artichokes (Cynara scolymus). Hailing from the warm climes around the Mediterranean, artichokes are the immature flower of the plant. They are picked before becoming a large purple, thistle-like blossom. Jefferson intended to plant artichokes as early as 1770 when he included them on a list of “Work to be done at <Hermitage> Monticello” in his Memorandum Books. In 1807 he ordered roots of the “best Globe artichoke” from Bernard McMahon in Philadelphia, planted them 17 April, and recorded a harvest 7 June 1808 in the weather records. Not particularly cold tolerant, the globe artichoke plant requires attention in the fall and dressing, or covering, to survive the winter. One of the great features of the Monticello climate that Jefferson pointed out to Jean Baptiste Say when recommending the Charlottesville area for his new residence was that “the Artichoke stands the winter without cover.”
Edwin Morris Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Garden Book, 1766–1824 (Philadelphia, 1944).
Peter J. Hatch, “A Rich Spot of Earth”: Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello (New Haven, 2012), 125-7.
|Date||Location||Time||Temp. (F)||Weather Conditions||Plants||Wind Direction|
|Washington, D.C.||3:00:00 PM||85.00||Fair||Artichokes||View Data|
|Washington, D.C.||3:00:00 PM||80.00||Fair||Artichokes, Cauliflower||NW||View Data|
|Monticello, Albemarle County, Virginia||3:00:00 PM||87.00||Fair||Artichokes||NW||View Data|
|Washington, D.C.||3:00:00 PM||88.00||Fair||Artichokes||S||View Data|
|Monticello, Albemarle County, Virginia||3:00:00 PM||79.00||Fair||Artichokes||NE||View Data|