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

We all saw the turquoise outfit Dr. Biden wore for the swearing in, but I’d somehow missed the dress and coat she wore for evening activities until Susan Martin posted about it to the GardenComm Facebook group. CNN describes them for us:
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