White House Gardens are Home to Politics, Pleasures and Whimsy

New Jersey Monthly April 2016

New Jersey author and gardener Marta McDowell’s new work All the Presidents’ Gardens: Madison’s Cabbages to Kennedy’s Roses—How the White House Grounds Have Grown with America is a perfect springtime porch read.

The Chatham resident is the author of several gardening books, including Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life:The Plants and Places that Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales, and teaches classes on landscape history at the New York Botanical Garden. She worked as a horticulturist for five years at Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit, and is on the Board of the New Jersey Historical Garden Foundation at the Cross Estate in Bernardsville.

Her newest work, All the Presidents’ Gardens, starts with a short history lesson of how our founders chose the rural plot of land on the Potomac River for the new nation’s capitol. Many complained it was too wooded and isolated compared to the cosmopolitan luxuries of Philadelphia, but the virgin southern real estate allowed the founders to build a city from scratch.

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