Kitchen Garden (1801-1817)

Research & Collections

During the massive landscaping episode of 1808-1812, Madison had his slaves create a series of terraces in the formal garden by cuts and fills.  This garden--the Kitchen Garden--would eventually be planted with the vegetables and fruits that would grace the Madison table. The shape of this garden has been called a horseshoe--but is arranged as a hippodrome-shaped set of terraces facing the south.  These broad semicicular terraces provided a sheltered warm environment for vegetables and fruits and allowed an extended growing season.








Topographic map showing the potential hippodrome shaped garden enclosure (dashed olive lines) and 1920s brick wall (red line)--all draped over the terraced (falling) landscape (click on image to enlarge).