All The Presidents' Gardens: Madison’s Cabbages to Kennedy’s Roses- How the White House Grounds Have Grown with America by Marta McDowell
When it comes to this time of year, if you live in a northern climate you are absolutely starving for a book about gardens. Anything that puts a little green in your smile. I was delighted to receive this copy of All the Presidents' Gardens. It’s fascinating. The research is either impeccable or the records kept over the years well anticipated a book like this. This one has everything you will want to know beginning with how and why the decision was made to put the capital in Washington. ( A decision, the author tells us, that was finalized at a dinner party.) I shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose. This IS the President’s house, after all, and so all bits and pieces of information are carefully kept. And it’s fascinating!
There are photographs galore. We watch the march through history and the progression of each addition to the grounds as the need for an outdoor pleasant space is refined by each President or First Lady. There are photographs of sheep grazing on the lawn, and lawn parties, Easter egg hunts, victory gardens, conservatories. Anecdotes about the Presidents and their relationship to the gardens is fascinating. President Jimmy Carter planted pine, maple and other trees from his home in Plains, Georgia around the White House and in return asked when he leaves office if he could take clippings from the gardens home with him. He has Andrew Jackson’s magnolias, Harry Truman’s boxwoods, and rose cuttings at his home in Georgia.
This is a fascinating, fascinating walk through our nation's backyard. (Did I say this book is fascinating??)