Blog Culture


Happy 4th of July y’all! Meet Mr. Wormley Hughes: Head Gardener at Monticello; “Master of Many Trades;” Horticulture Icon; and slave of Thomas Jefferson (the principle author of the Declaration of Independence and 3rd U.S. President.) Real talk: being “Head Gardener” is a big a** deal!

Jefferson’s granddaughter Ellen recalled Mr. Hughes being “armed with a spade and a hoe.” He planted seeds, bulbs, and trees. Mr. Hughes also planted flowers beds; took up bulbs for winter; and spread dung in the vegetable garden. Hughes even dug Jefferson’s grave. There is no Monticello without mentioning Wormley Hughes and the many slaves who’s talents were used forcibly by Jefferson to build and nurture its land.

“Independence Day” in the USA is a celebration of July 4, 1776—the date the 13 colonies received independence from British rule. Note: slaves like Wormley Hughes did not receive their full independence until “Juneteenth” June 19, 1865.

(Picture from Monticello website)