The Gardening President
April 30, 1789
On this day, George Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States.
A gardening President, George Washington oversaw all aspects of the land at Mount Vernon.
George had a personal copy of Batty Langley's New Principles of Gardening. Inspired by the 18th-century author, George adopted a less formal, more naturalistic style for his gardens, and he supervised a complete and total redesign of his Mount Vernon.
On Mount Vernon's website, they review in detail the four gardens that makeup George Washington's landscape:
the upper (formal) garden, the lower (kitchen) garden, the botanical (personal or experimental) garden, and the fruit garden and nursery.
When I was researching Mount Vernon, I was struck by George Washington's intentions and methods.
George was naturally curious and wanted to see what plants would survive in the harsh climate of Virginia.
Of his four gardens, George often referred to his favorite of the four gardens, the botanical garden, during his lifetime. George called it "the little garden by the salt house," or rather fondly, his "little garden."
George used the botanical garden as his trial garden, testing alfalfa and oats, which, he happily surmised correctly, would increase his fields' productivity.