Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Peter Derieux, 1 June 1812

To Peter Derieux

Monticello June1 1. 12.

Dear Sir

Your favor of May 11. is just recieved, with the seeds & roots of the Tarragon, for which I return you my thanks. the root had become entirely dry & without any principle of vegetation left in it. this was the less important, as I had some years ago succeeded in obtaining the plant from N. Orleans where it grows wild; and I have now so many plants in my garden as will enable me to begin to use it the ensuing year. but altho I have had it these 3. years it has not borne seed. I began with a single plant and have multiplied it by parting the roots. the seed you have been so kind as to send me, will enable me to multiply it still more; for I shall aim at so much as will enable me to try to make the vinaigre d’estragon.

Our family is all well and join me in salutations to yourself and mrs Derieux, and in sincere wishes for your health & happiness.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “M. Derieux”; endorsed by TJ.

New Orleans resident J. Philippe Reibelt sent TJ seeds from tarragon he found growing wild in the woods, although it was probably common tarragon (Artemisia Dracunculus) (TJ to Reibelt, 12 Oct. 1805, 22 Dec. 1807, and Reibelt to TJ, 25 Oct. 1807 [all in DLC]; Hortus Third description begins Liberty Hyde Bailey, Ethel Zoe Bailey, and the staff of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium, Cornell University, Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada, 1976 description ends , 111–2).

During this year TJ constructed a garden pavilion or temple at Monticello (William L. Beiswanger, “The Temple in the Garden: Thomas Jefferson’s Vision of the Monticello Landscape,” in Robert P. Maccubbin and Peter Martin, eds., British and American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century: Eighteen Illustrated Essays on Garden History [1984], 184). A photograph of the reconstruction of this building is reproduced elsewhere in this volume.

1Reworked from “May.”

Index Entries

  • Derieux, Peter (Justin Pierre Plumard); letters to search
  • Derieux, Peter (Justin Pierre Plumard); sends tarragon to TJ search
  • food; tarragon search
  • garden pavilion; at Monticello search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); garden pavilion at search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); gardens search
  • Reibelt, J. Philippe; sends tarragon to TJ search
  • tarragon; from J. P. Reibelt search
  • tarragon; from P. Derieux search
  • vinegar; with tarragon search