|George Washington at Mount Vernon|
George Washington was a farmer and avid gardener, owning the 8000 acre Mount Vernon estate and farm. Click here for a Virtual Tour and much more. In addition to being an innovative farmer, Washington was an accomplished landscape designer drawing praises from Mount Vernon's visitors. He planned flower and kitchen gardens, parterres, as well as a greenhouse and small test garden where he kept various plants he was experimenting with.
"...to be a cultivator of Land has been my favorite amusement" Washington wrote.
Thomas Jefferson wrote to artist Charles Wilson Peale, “No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no comparable to that of the garden. I am still devoted to the garden. But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.” Although Jefferson redesigned the gardens on the White House grounds and planted hundreds of seedling trees, his true passion was Monticello.
|"Monitcello 47MP" by Sbuckley - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -|
|Available on Amazon|
On James Madison's retirement from the Presidency (4th President), he returned to his estate, Montpelier, and championed sustainable farming practices and resource conservation.
John Quincy Adams, John Adams's son and sixth president, implemented many of Jefferson's plans and personally planted many seedling trees including fruit trees, along with herbs and vegetables. More recently, a Victory Garden was planted at the White House during World War II. The Clinton's had trouble convincing the White House of the need for a vegetable garden, so they planted a small garden on the roof.
|First Lady Michelle Obama and White House Chef Sam Kass |
show students how to plant a garden
I wish you a happy President's Day, and however you celebrate, think of the rich botanical heritage the first four Presidents planted in the fertile soil of our new Republic, and the return of those interests in our current President and hopefully beyond!
By the way, in honor of President's Day, national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands are FREE! Or if you can't travel to one of these destinations, follow the links to learn more about Mount Vernon and Monticello, they are truly amazing!