Category Archives: Washington, D.C., gardens

Life in gardens: Easter Monday

Life in gardens/enclos*ure: may pole dancing at WH, 1929, Library of CongressMay pole dance at the White House Easter Egg Roll, Monday, April 1, 1929, National Photo Company Collection, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

First Lady Lou Hoover added may pole and folk dancing to the annual event — but only briefly.  Apparently, the Depression was bad enough on its own.

(If you click on the photo and enlarge it, you can see the wonderfully fierce expression of one of the girls on the right side.)

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Life in gardens: White House

Sadat and Carter at the White House, 1980, Library of Congress“President Jimmy Carter and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat have refreshments in the garden of the White House,” April 8, 1980, Washington, D.C. Photo credited to Marion S. Trikosko and Warren K. Leffler,via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.*

The previous spring, Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin had signed the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty on the White House lawn.

*U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection.

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Vintage landscape: spring rain

Showers, White House, early 1920s, via Library of Congress“Sidewalk in front of White House, Washington, D.C.,” early 1920s, by Harris & Ewing, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Whan that Aprill with his shoures sote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour. . .

– Geoffrey Chaucer, from “The General Prologue” of The Canterbury Tales

Translation: April showers bring May flowers.

Today is Whan that Aprille Day – a day to enjoy “alle langages that are yclept ‘old,’ or ‘middel,’ or ‘auncient,’ or ‘archaic,’ or, alas, even ‘dead.’” This is the idea of @LeVostreGC (or Chaucer Doth Tweet), who blogs at Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog.

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Vintage landscape: Tokyo

Akasaka, Tokyo, 1890s, from The New York Public Library Commons on flickrAkasaka, Tokyo, ca. 1890s, photographer unknown.  The image is part of “The Album of Photographs of Japan,” via The New York Public Library* Commons on flickr.

Cherry blossoms (sakura) in Tokyo are expected to open on March 30 this year, with the peak bloom being about April 6 to 15.

In Washington, D.C., The National Cherry Blossom Festival will begin on Thursday, March 20, and continue through April 13. Click here and here for more information on events and local accommodations.

The Washington Post has predicted this year’s peak bloom to be about April 9.

*Photography Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs.

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Vintage landscape: tree delivery

White House tree delivered, Mar. 1922, via Library of Congress. . . to the White House, Washington, D.C., March 1922, by Harris & Ewing, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Thomas Jefferson, the second President to occupy the White House, directed that hundreds of small trees be planted in groves around the grounds (none of them exist today).

John Quincy Adams was the first to add ornamental trees. Andrew Jackson brought in the first sycamores, elms, and maples.

There’s more about the history of the White House gardens and grounds here.

What kind of small tree/large shrub do you think this was?

I never before knew the full value of trees. My house is entirely embossomed in high plane-trees, with good grass below; and under them I breakfast, dine, write, read, and receive my company. What would I not give that the trees planted nearest round the house at Monticello were full grown.

Thomas Jefferson to his daughter, Martha, (from Philadelphia), 1793

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