U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mount Vernon Reflections

 Let me share some pictures from the George Washington Estate  in Mount Vernon, VA.
Here, on the banks of the Potomac River, 16 miles south of the capitol, the Commander In Chief of the American Revolutionary forces and first President together with his wife Martha lived for 40 years.

          The Estate includes 50 acres of plantations and about a dozen original buildings.
Touring the main house was very interesting. Here are the pictures of the kitchen.
Let's look at it before we go to the garden.
The kitchen had three parts: the food preparation and dish washing room, cooking room and a larder with cooling floors for food storage.

Most of the time I spent admiring the gardens which were restored to reflect Washington's 18th century garden.
In May, blooms in the Upper Garden were abundant. Peony, roses, iris, larkspur, foxglove, cardinal flower, columbine were among numerous perennials and annuals.

Clipped English boxwood hedges border the flower beds.
 They say the recreated fleur-de-lis design, shown in the next picture,
reflects George Washington's friendship with the Marquis de Lafayette
and honors the French for their help in the Revolutionary War.

The Mount Vernon Washington Estate's staff has done an outstanding job restoring the gardens designed and nutured by the first President.
Read more Here

I was impressed by the size and well-planned layout of the Lower or Kitchen garden.
It provided the estate with fresh vegetables and herbs.
I got so lucky being able to spend some time there absolutely alone.
Only the squirrels  waved their bushy tails between the vegetable beds.

The Lower garden is surrounded by a brick wall which evokes a very comfortable feeling.
It was a pleasure being there on a warm sunny day thinking that a great man set his foot here.
Asparagus, peas, beans, spinach, beets grow in the beds surrounded by low growing herb plants.
Onions, lettuce and artichokes grow along the apple and pear tree hedges.
It was interesting to see how low those trees were trimmed to provide easy harvesting.
Back in the 18th century, the kitchen garden soil was fertilized using manure from  nearby stables.

         George Washington tested new plants in his garden. He personally sowed seeds and nurtured, watched and recorded plants' progress. Seeds were sent to him by friends and admirers, sometimes from abroad. He wanted his plantation to be self-sufficient. For that, he experimented with grapes, vegetables, crops, and herbs.  He believed that a farmer shouldn't rely on buying seeds every year.
       He also designed a nursery where he planted dozens of sapplings. It included 11 varieties of pears, 4 - apples, 3 - peaches, 2 - cherries and several varieties of plums. Thanks to the nursery, the estate was getting fresh fruit for almost half the year.

A visit to the George Washington Estate leaves a very good feeling.
It's so nice and inspiring to know that this great man was a person who appreciated nature, land and plants as much as we, gardeners of today, do.
This is the link to the official Mount Vernon  Estate, Museum and Gardens SITE/
Interesting information is also Here.
***Copyright 2013 TatyanaS


  1. Wonderful!!!! Had no idea this existed. If ever I get to visit the US I would certainly love to visit this.

  2. Oh how lovely Tatyana. I wish we would have gone to see Mt. Vernon when we were in Virginia last summer. There was just so much I wanted to see and not enough time to see it all in. LOL! From your pictures the grounds and gardens may have been prettier than Monticello.Maybe we should have went there instead of Monticello. Have a lovely weekend and thanks for the tour on a cold snowy evening.

  3. Marian, thank you! I also had no idea about those gardens. It was a pleasant surprise!

    Lona, thanks! You did good visiting Monticello! I loved it, especially its vegetable garden! Mount Vernon will be there for you next time! Stay warm! Our winter is very mild.

  4. Beautiful photos!
    Interesting information!
    Thanks for the tour!
    Lea's Menagerie

  5. An excellent tour. I'm especially impressed with the kitchen garden.

  6. What a place! WOW! And how lovely kitchen garden. I'm in love :)

  7. Thank you for showing us around the Estate George Washington was living with his family 40 years long. The kitchen was interesting to see, but there is a real beautiful garden, the flower garden but specially the vegetable garden I admire. Nice to know that this great man was experimenting with fruit, herbs and vegetables to be selfsufficient.

  8. The kitchen garden is indeed lovely and bountiful--a perfect combination, I believe. I like the kitchen as well. I find the simplicity quite beautiful.

  9. Thank you everyone!

    Lea, I'd like to go back there one day.

    Jason, I also like it - simple and clever. And looks good!

    Tiina, I agree: beauty+simplicity.

    Janneke, I am glad I've learned about this side of HIS life!

    Mary, i also liked the kitchen. It's so well organized!

  10. Glad to see you get to the east coast and my favorite state. It has always bothered me that Mt. Vernon is asymmetrical, as in the left and right halves are not mirror images of each other. It's probably just me. I have had the chance to meet the director of horticulture there, and he is great guy who loves his job, and it shows. Was Monticello on your itinerary?

  11. Yes it is nice to know he was concerned about his garden and bettering it. Your photos should be used to advertise Mt. Vernon. Wonderfully done!

  12. Love it! Always a highlight of any trip out to the DC area. Thanks for the tour!

  13. Les, thanks! How interesting! Next time, I'll look at it to check if it bothers me... Probably not. I showed my pictures of Monticello on June 1st and June 3rd 2010.

    Janet, thanks!!! Both gardens, in M.Vernon and Monticello, make the history of presidency more interesting.

    PlantPostings, thank you! I hope I can go there again!

  14. Tatyana - shaker quaker americano - absolutely fab photo study.

  15. A very interesting tour which makes me want to visit this house and garden myself someday! So nice to see a summer garden during our wet winter!

  16. Thanks so much for sharing this! It brought back memories. My aunt & uncle took me there when I was 16 and I vividly remember it from some of the pictures....and believe me....that was a long time ago.

  17. Catharine, I am so glad you liked it!

    Outlawgardener, thanks! It's certainly worth visiting!

  18. Tatyana, I cannot tell a lie, such an interesting post and pictures displayed beautifully. There is something to be said for not having a sidebar.

  19. A lovely reminder of my own trips there... thank you for sharing with us!

  20. Alistair, thank you! I think I know what you mean. To have or not to have a sidebar? I gave it a lot of thinking. My blog's previous template had it. I remember two main reasons why I got rid of it: 1)-there are many pictures in this blog and I prefer big pictures, 2)-I personally don't look at the sidebars in other blogs, so why other people would be interested in mine? There are some good reasons for having a sidebar, so everyone decides what is more important. This is a compromise. Thanks again!!!

    Carolyn, thank you! I hope to be there again one day and have more time.

  21. Great photos! I love the attention to detail in both the flower and vegetable gardens. Just delightful.

  22. I find it hard to believe that we've lived in this area for over 20 yrs. and have never set foot inside Mt. Vernon! We have biked along the Potomac River there, but have not gone to the Estate for a tour. The sight of your photos makes me think it is time to schedule a visit! I think, again from your photos, that May would be the perfect time. I'm marking it on my 'to do' list right now :)


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