As we near the holidays, we find ourselves needing a break from the daily pummeling of post-election news, but with the constant overload, our interest in the Presidency has been heightened. So, let’s take a non-political walk with the U.S. Presidents through their White House gardens.
All the Presidents’ Gardens; Madison’s Cabbages to Kennedy’s Roses, How the White House Grounds Have Grown with America by Marta McDowell, offers us a linear story about the eighteen acres surrounding the White House as a witness to history. It’s the story of the White House grounds, beginning with the seed-collecting, plant-obsessed George Washington and ending with Michelle Obama’s focus on edibles, making it also the story of America.
We learn about Lincoln’s goats, Ike’s putting green, Jackie’s iconic roses, the last cow to graze on the White House lawn (Pauline Wayne in 1912) and Amy Carter’s tree house. Illustrated with new and historical photographs, art, botanical drawings, garden plans and artwork, this is a book that will keep you interested but cheerfully distracted from partisan politics. This would also be a great gift for that friend of yours that knows everything about politics and needs to have his focus subtly shifted.