John Adams, the first president to occupy the White House, ordered that a garden be planted and ever since presidents and first ladies have enjoyed the beauty and the bounty of the White House garden. This entire issue of White House History is centered on gardening, flower arranging, and table decorations.
“The first reference of flowers used for decoration in the White House tells of garden loving president Andrew Jackson bringing camellias in terra-cotta pots into the State Rooms for special occasions and returning them to their places in the orangery he had established on the grounds,” writes William Seale, editor of White House History.
Presidents and first ladies have loved their gardens and each has played a part from early-day gardeners like John Quincy Adams, who developed the first flower garden and actually tilled the garden’s soil, and Andrew Jackson whose magnolias are still covered with blossoms each June, to Julia Grant who began the tradition of White House garden parties and substituted floral bouquets for social calls, to Theodore Roosevelt, who reluctantly allowed his architects to demolish his cherished conservatory, and John F. Kennedy, who made the private Rose Garden near the Oval Office an outdoor meeting place that accommodates a thousand spectators.
Articles include: First Lady Edith Kermit Roosevelt’s “Colonial Garden” at the White House by Mac Keith Griswold; James Monroe’s White House Plateau: “A perfect riot of festooned railings and graceful figures” by Melissa Naulin; Flowers for the President’s Table: State Dining Room Splendor by White House florist Nancy Clarke; White House Brides and Envisioned Flowers: Two Nineteenth Century White House Weddings with an album of White House brides by Margaret Huddy; and “The Most Beautiful Things”: Gifts from France in the Roosevelt White House by Amy Verone.
White House History is published twice each year by the White House Historical Association and features articles on White House history, architecture, fine and decorative arts, and gardens as well as stories about the occupants of the White House and their experiences living there.
White House History is available for $6.95 per copy (plus packing and delivery). To order please call toll free 1-800-555 2451 or visit our web site www.whitehousehistory.org.
The White House Historical Association, established in 1961, is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to enhance the understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the White House. All proceeds from the association’s trusts, publications and other items are used to fund acquisitions of historic furnishings and artwork for the permanent collection, to assist in the preservation of public rooms, and further its educational mission.