The East Garden, designed during the Wilson administration by Beatrix Farrand, in a 1921 photograph by Frances Benjamin Johnston.
The East Garden, designed during the Wilson administration by Beatrix Farrand, in a 1921 photograph by Frances Benjamin Johnston.Library of Congress, Courtesy of Timber Press
The East Garden, designed during the Wilson administration by Beatrix Farrand, in a 1921 photograph by Frances Benjamin Johnston.
Two participants in the Easter egg roll during the Hayes administration.
The extended Harrison family enjoyed the White House grounds with their pets and planted several trees.This photograph includes the president's son, Major Russell Harrison, and three grandchildren along with their goat, Old Whiskers, and one of their dogs.
The planting bed around the South Fountain sported German irises in 1897. To the left is one of the Japanese maples planted by Frances Cleveland.
Edith Roosevelt in the White House garden.
Horse-drawn and motorized vehicles join pedestrians in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Hyacinths fill a bed in Lafayette Park and magnolias bloom on the North Lawn across the street. During the Taft administration.
Edith and Woodrow Wilson enjoy the East Garden in their summer finery.
Between the wars, the White House grounds reopened for events such as the annual Easter Egg Roll, a favorite for children and a horror for the horticultural staff.
Spring in the East Garden 1920s is full of peonies, pansies and irises in this hand-colored glass slide by Frances Benjamin Johnston.
President Carter and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat have a private discussion in what might be an early example of "Rose Garden strategy"; or "What is said in the Rose Garden stays in the Rose Garden."
The East Garden, designed during the Wilson administration by Beatrix Farrand, in a 1921 photograph by Frances Benjamin
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Library of Congress, Courtesy of Timber Press
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See Photos of the White House Gardens Over Time

Apr 22, 2016

As both the seat of American executive power and the home of the President's family, the White House serves as a three-dimensional message that the administration sends out to the world. Sometimes the President uses the White House—the building itself, and the art and furniture it contains—to say that the United States is a world power. Sometimes he uses it to tell citizens that he's just like them. And that message doesn't stop at the door.

The grounds of the White House have also served to telegraph an image, perhaps most famously with the Victory Garden established by Eleanor Roosevelt during World War II, and echoed in the kitchen garden that has grown during the Obamas' time in the executive mansion. The grounds have also been the site of fun both public and private. As these images show, the White House gardens have served a wide range of purposes over the years—and no matter the aim, they almost always look good.

All Photos from All the Presidents’ Gardens© Copyright 2016 by Marta McDowell. Published by Timber Press, Portland, OR. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

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