James Madison Papers

Landscape Account for the Executive Mansion, 31 March 1809

Landscape Account for the Executive Mansion

31. March 1809.

List of Trees & Shrubs for the Presidents Garden.1

Where to be procured2

Large trees for Single
trees & in lines
Tulip tree. Saml. Davidson.
Willow leaved Oak
Ash. S. Davidson
Horse Chesnut. Holt
Walnut (English) Hepburn
Sugar Maple Billey
Sycamore (English[)]
Weeping Willow Holt
Mulberry—English, common Chineese
Catalpa Mr. Tayloe
For Close plantation &
Clumps & for screens.
White, or Weymouth pine.
Mountain Ash. (Rowentree). S. Davidson
Locust—common & Honey. Holt &c
Spruce Pine.
Red bud.
Chineese Arb. Vitæ Mayne
Golden Willow Holt
Filbert. Holt.
Flowering Trees &
Laburnum. Holt
Bladder Sena Holt
Althea—White—red, double, & striped. }
Lilac—White, Purple, Persian.
Broom. Scotch & Spanish.
Dbl. Flowering Almond & Peach. Holt.
Evergreen thorn.
Robinia—Scarlet Locust & Hepburn
Yellow & White Jasmine.
Honeysuckles—Early, Monthly & Trumpet
Laurel, Roses &ca.

The above list contains what N. King’s3 Memory Supplies, of Trees & Shrubs for the garden.

Ms (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1Little landscaping had been accomplished during Jefferson’s tenure in the executive mansion, although terraces had been graded above the east and west fronts. Benjamin H. Latrobe’s watercolor drawings show the building before the plantings made during JM’s occupancy (see illustrations in Amy La Follette Jensen, The White House and Its Thirty-Two Families [New York, 1958], opposite p. 13).

2Most of the plants came from local sources. Alexander Hepburn, Theophilus Holt, and Thomas Main were nurserymen and seed merchants in the capital (Betts, Jefferson’s Garden Book, pp. 319, 353, 419). The Mr. Tayloe mentioned may have been John Tayloe. Samuel Davidson (d. 1810) owned the land which became Lafayette Square. His estate, Evermay, was north of Georgetown (Wilhelmus Bogart Bryan, A History of the National Capital [2 vols.; New York, 1914–16], 1:144, 296, 573; Carol S. Day, ed., Analytical Index to the Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Volumes 31/32–57/59 [Washington, 1978], p. 75).

3Nicholas King, son of city surveyor Robert King, “followed his father in that job” (Hamlin, Latrobe, p. 260).

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