Washington's Little Garden

#OTD On this day in 1789, 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.

Washington had a personal copy of Batty Langley's New Principles of Gardening. Inspired by the 18th-century author, Washington 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 make up 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 Washington's intentions and methods.

He was naturally curious and wanted to see what plants would be able to survive in the harsh climate of Virginia.

Of his four gardens, Washington referred often to his favorite of the four gardens, the botanical garden, during his lifetime. He called it "the little garden by the salt house," or rather fondly, his "little garden."

Washington used the botanical garden as his trial garden; testing alfalfa and oats which, he happily surmised correctly, would increase the productivity of his fields.


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George Washington
George Washington