Certain plants just have a bigger following than others. Perhpas it's shape, color, blossom time…
White House featured newest garden fashion.
Fashion drives much of the commercial world with gardening a prime example.
People want the newest tomato, the latest dahlia hybrid, and the popular shrub that everyone says is easy to maintain.
The White House landscape serves as an enduring example of how gardeners made decisions on what to plant and not to plant, depending on what was in style.
From the beginning White House gardeners followed the latest fashion.
Marta McDowell describes throughout her book All the Presidents’ Gardens how the White House became a beacon for the newest in garden style and fashion.
The West Wing we see today was once the site of several greenhouses.
The greenhouses were there for decades, keeping safe from winter’s chill among other plants the bay trees that decorated the porticoes and terraces in the summer,
In 1902 the greenhouses were demolished to make room for a Colonial Revival garden. The Washington Post wrote at the time, “Landscape gardeners have noticed the tendency to return to colonial flowers to harmonize with the colonial style of architecture which has become so popular.”
The old-fashioned plant golden rod became one of the more desirable plants to include in the garden. “What has been termed ‘old-fashioned’ flowers will be given places of honor in the new gardens because of their beauty and hardy nature,'” wrote The Washington Post.
President Theodore Roosevelt and his family enjoyed this new Colonial Revival garden.
In 1913 a new First Lady Ellen Axson Wilson had more modern ideas for the garden.
She arranged for the American landscape gardener Beatrix Jones to design and install an Italianate garden. The garden was simple and symmetrical.
Inspiration from the Italian garden had become the latest in fashion.
In modern times we saw Michelle Obama plant a vegetable garden. Often children worked with her in the garden which people called a victory garden.
Her gardening inspired people around the country to grow their own vegetables.
It was no coincidence that the popular farm to table movement was happening at the same tine.
Growing your own vegetables had become the latest garden fashion. Everybody wanted to do it.
Thanks to McDowell’s book we see that we need go no further than the White House to encounter the newest garden style.