Read an Excerpt
Excerpt from Presidents' Gardens
When Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had grown up on a well-groomed river estate in the Hudson Valley of New York, came to live at the White House, he found the grounds in appalling disarray. There was a mishmash of overgrown plants, disconnected designs and a lack of any semblance of order. He enlisted the help of landscape designer Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr. to bring order and botanical integrity to the presidential grounds. Mr. Olmstead conducted a comprehensive study of the gardens and grounds and drew up a plan for improvement—simply known as the “Olmstead Plan”—a lengthy report that describes in detail the conditions of the gardens and grounds in the 1930s and makes incremental recommendations for improvement. Historical accuracy, suitability and appropriateness—hallmarks of this report—are the traditions still followed today.