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The Contest
Timber Press, publisher ofĀ All the Presidentsā€™ Gardens by Marta McDowell, is launching the book by sending a lucky winner to DC ā€“ enter to winĀ before April 15.

The winner (and guest) can use the prize any time, and assuming they enjoy visiting gardens, I suggest checking theĀ DC Gardens websiteĀ to seeĀ what the cityā€™s public gardens look like throughout the season, March through November. (Yes, thatā€™s my website.)

Now if the winner wants to see the White House gardens, thatā€™s a little trickier because theyā€™re only open to the public two weekends each year, once in spring and once in the fall, and the dates are usually announced with just 8-10 days notice. This year, the Spring Open Garden Days will be next weekend, April 16-17, something that was announced just two days ago. Ā In the fall, the date is usually mid-October. (Sign up for the e-news at DC Gardens to get the announcement within 24 hours.)

The Book
Iā€™m eager to read All the Presidentā€™s Gardens because it tells the story of how the White House grounds have changed over time, including interesting details from presidential history ā€“ Ā George Washingtonā€™s obsession with collecting trees, Lincolnā€™s goats, Ikeā€™s putting green, Kennedyā€™s roses, and of course the Obama kitchen garden. Sounds like a high-profile microcosm of the history of American gardening and gardens.

Having seen the book, I can attest that itā€™s beautifully illustrated with gems from the archives, many of which Iā€™ve never seen before.

Kudos to the author for her thorough research that unearthed plenty of little-known stories, which Iā€™ve been assured are told with no hint of partisanship (a nice respite in this election year). Rather, the book seems to be told from the perspective of an avid gardener ā€“ who can appreciate the challenges of helicopter winds and 1,000-person events in the garden. Ā It even includes plant lists and short bios of key White House gardeners.

Long Live the Kitchen Garden!
Today, the editorial board of the Washington Post declared that ā€œThe next administration should continue this delightful tradition of Ms. Obamaā€™s.ā€Ā  They say her kitchen garden isnā€™t just delightful, though; it has ā€œmore than lived up to its mission of encouraging a national conversation about healthy eating.ā€

Loved the part about the nay-saying.

There was speculation about hidden agendas (advancing leftist causes), criticism about gardening (too trivial to be a priority for the first lady), self-interested lobbying (from promoters of pesticides aghast at plans to go organic) and dire predictions (the garden would be short-lived once the first family found out weeding is a chore). There were even conspiracy theories after the first harvest proved so bountiful that skeptics were sure it had been trucked in.

Too trivial? Thesharegardenā€™s Manifesto begins with ā€œWe are convinced that gardening MATTERS,ā€ and over our 10 years thatā€™s only become more evident, and to more people.

Posted by

Susan Harris
on April 7, 2016 at 8:22 pm, in the category Books, What’s Happening.

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2 Comments

  1. admin

    30th May 2016 at 4:35 am

    FYI,
    Over at Timber Press, you can pick up Darke and Tallamyā€™s recently released
    The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodeversity in the Home Garden
    ebook for $3.99 now.

  2. admin

    11th November 2016 at 10:07 pm

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