Gardening season is in full swing and this charming book will appeal both to gardeners and to historians.

Beginning in the 1790s with George and Martha Washington and continuing through the 1990s and beyond, McDowell makes her historical canvas come alive through the paintbrush of flowers, plants, trees and shrubs.  Her ability to make what might have become a dull recitation of botanical facts fascinating lies not only in masterful writing but in her deep understanding of the human and family lives of the Presidents and how they influenced and developed the White House grounds.  Readers will also enjoy the plentiful and well-chosen illustrations, which are a delight.

Perhaps the best lesson to be taken from this thoroughly enjoyable book comes from the preface, in which McDowell writes:  “…whether gardeners lean right or left, blue or red, we are united by a love of green growing things and the land in which they grow.”

Reviewed by Kate Tesdell

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