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Where is it Located

About the Botanical Garden

Between the Upper Garden and North Lane and behind the Spinning House lies the small enclosed area where George Washington probably spent more time gardening on his own than anywhere else on the estate. In 1785, for instance, he sowed flowering shrubs and ornamentals, experimental hedging plants, nuts, fruits, herbs, new grains, and grasses. He marked the planting locations with notched sticks, watered and mulched, and kept careful notes of the results.

Although Washington was a renowned farmer, often offering advice to and trading seeds with his neighbors, some of his experiments went awry. For instance, in that 1785 planting, he carefully sowed a precious gift: the seeds of 200 Chinese species. The next year, he reported, “None . . . were [to] be seen.”