For Valentine's day, my husband gave me "a year of gardens." That is, we got Independence passes to Monticello, allowing us unlimited visits to the house and grounds for a year. This is perfect, as the gardens there are truly splendid, and a lover of flowers and vegetables such as myself cannot possibly appreciate them fully on one single visit at one single point in time. We made our first visit of the year over the weekend, and the place was looking spectacular. The day before, it rained a beautiful, soaking rain and the flowers seemed to rejoice. The main spectacle was the tulips, but other spring blooms showed beautifully as well. The vegetable garden, which encompasses around 2 acres (!!) is in its early stages, with peas, lettuce, cole crops and a few asparagus spears to show. I cannot wait to visit many more times this year, hopefully each month, to see the progress in the vegetable garden and the changes in the flower beds up near the historic house. I plan to photograph these changes, just as I am doing in my own garden, just a fraction of a fraction of the size of the one at Monticello!