John Ousley was the first official White House gardener. He was hired in 1825 by President John Quincy Adams (6th U.S. President) and replaced in 1852 by President Millard Fillmore (13th U. S. President). With these years of service in hand Mr. Ousley is highly qualified to treat walk guests to a look at American history through the White House gardens. After all, objects tell stories! You cannot imagine how much it is possible to learn about people and their lives from treasured items such as chairs, carpets, artwork, dishes --- and gardens!
For instance, do you know which U.S. presidents were farmers before they became president? Or which president wanted to create a forest of trees from around the world? What about the president who preferred gardening to governing? Or the one who planted that very special magnolia? What a story it tells! Well, do you know all the Latin names for local flowers, bushes and trees? The very poetic John Ousley knows the answer to all of these. He knows much about the early White House gardens and the U.S. presidents who loved or hated them.
After the walk, you might enjoy a visit to the White House Visitor Center for more information about the White House as a museum.