Nicole Says… Read This Book by Marta McDowell

By Nicole McManus

All The Presidents’ Gardens
by Marta McDowell

The White House is an iconic structure in American history and its surrounding lawns have stood out through the centuries. The gardens have been the setting where Americans, royalty, dignitaries, soldiers and even protestors have all converged. Marta McDowell dives into the details of how these majestic gardens came to be, as well as taking a closer look into the people in charge of caring for them.

Broken into sections by the decades, readers will be taken on an epic journey from the start of the United States of America to modern times with the Obamas. Filled with photographs and even handwritten blueprints, the gardens come alive. Entertaining little-known historical facts are also mixed into each chapter. A quick reference guide in the back that gives the biographies on the First Gardeners is included as well, and a listing of every single thing that has been planted over time. Readers will feel like they know the First Families better after reading All the Presidents’ Gardens.

This book provides something for everyone, from fans of American History to those wanting inspiration for their own backyard. Thankfully the author keeps away from politics and remains focused on the gardens and the people who influenced and maintained them. The personal details of the families, as well as the significance of each time period are what truly inspired how the grounds were shaped and what plants were displayed. From the first seeds and goats, to golf courses and edible plants, the lawns are ever evolving.

I truly appreciated the thorough research Marta McDowell did in order to create such a breathtaking book. Even her honesty in the opening prologue, where she describes her inspiration for writing this particular manuscript, is refreshing. Growing up, I never really thought about the White House lawns, I just enjoyed their beauty whenever I saw the White House pictured. However, I enjoyed learning about this splendid scenery. This is the type of book that one tends to keep within easy reach, so as to be able to flip through the beautiful pages.


About this writer

  • Nicole McManus Nicole McManus loves to read, to the point that she is sure she was born with a book in her hands. She writes book reviews in the hopes of helping others find the magic in reading. Contact her at

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