Post-election, I wrote “First Lady Jill Biden and the White House Gardens,” listing everything my research unearthed about Dr. Biden as a gardener or garden-lover, and speculating on whether she would change the White House gardens and grounds in some way.
Dr. Biden’s Garden
Along with some commenters expressing shock and anger that on November 12 I’d acknowledged Biden’s win came this comment on the GardenRant Facebook page:
Laura Dowling, of course, had authored her book about floral design at the White House after serving as Michelle Obama’s top floral designer there. (I wrote about Dowling in “Floral Design Clash at the White House: French v. Modern.”)
Skyler then helpfully photographed the page about “Dr. Biden’s Garden” from the book and posted it. So thanks, Skyler – you’re a better researcher than I!
So it’s official – she’s a lover of plants, probably of whole gardens!
But as to what the Bidens may or may not change about the White House gardens and grounds, it’ll surely take a while for that topic to land on their daunting list of concerns. Meanwhile, I’ll attend the next White House Garden Tour and will let you know what I find.
What else I learned from that book blurb is that Second Ladies (and now a Second Gentleman!) have offices on site. Turns out they do, and they’re in the Old Executive Office Building, a French Second Empire monstrosity gem of architectural history (opinions have changed over time – Mark Twain called it “the ugliest building in America). Next door to the White House, it’s on the far left in this photo. We’re told the balcony faces east toward the White House, so the choices in flowering plants were determined by that exposure.
Inaugural Dress Revealed
Jill Biden’s cashmere coat featured embroidered flowers representing every state and territory, each flower taking approximately two hours to apply… The dress under the coat also featured the embroidered state flowers, placed along the organza bodice and sleeves. The Delaware state flower — the peach blossom — was positioned purposefully above Biden’s heart.
And here’s a close-up. We gardeners approve!
Photo credit: Old Executive Office Building.
The book passage mentions a volunteer who owns a local nursery. Any idea which nursery?
(As a former White House intern, I sometimes worked in the OEOB. Though opinions differ on the building, I will say that it does have a beautiful stained glass window ceiling in one part of the building.)
I don’t know but hopefully someone else will.
Just don’t ask her about medicinal plants.
There was a nice passage about the garments on its designer’s website, Gabriela Hearst: https://www.gabrielahearst.com/blogs/stories/dr-jill-biden-inaugural-evening-dress
Melania wore flower prints all the time. Don’t remember you commenting on them. I’m asking again—please leave politics out of gardening.
Go away, Sue.
yes do. Commenting on a floral themed dress doesn’t sound like politics to anyone but you.
bonnie in provence
Flower prints are not the same as a dress custom-made to feature flowers from each state.
On a “somewhat” related subject, does anyone know whatever happened to Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden at the White house?
Just a guess: “they” took it out. Having the “ Hamburgler” for a so-called potus, why would she bother?
Thanks for all DC updates, Susan. They are most welcome & appreciated. Dr./Mrs. Biden was in full bloom on Wed and I look forward to seeing her beautiful sincere smile every day. How happy we will be!
Not true. The edible garden is still there and maintained by the National Park Service.
Kathy, do you know where the edibles go when they’re harvested?
Love this, Susan! I want to share a fun coloring sheet we created for Slow Flowers’ American Flowers Week — it features all of the state flowers. Link below. We also have downloadable coloring sheets for all 50 states at this link. Here is a question: Does the District of Columbia have a designated “district flower”?
American Beauty rose
From google search: American Beauty rose
Politics aside, I loved the coat in this post. What a wonderful idea to represent each state. Not just, not just blue, each and every state represented. Beautiful! She wears it well!
I was trying to find Ohio’s flower a red carnation to see how it came out. It always looks like a blob.
The dress and coat are beautiful and a unique way to represent all of the states. This would have been a wonderful opening to provide readers interested in gardening information about how state flowers were chosen.
The political bend is exhausting. No time to research that Melania was returning the rose garden to its original design for the betterment of the roses, but Jill is applauded as a garden lover because she can hire someone to create a lovely well planted patio?