Great White House Garden Makeover Contest!

Calling all plant lovers this election week! Now that a desire for fundamental change seems to be sweeping the country, we should be pushing for a radical makeover of the White House landscape. Coddled with water, fertilizers, and pesticides and designed according to fussy, outdated, and ecologically destructive notions of beauty, this garden is a national disgrace. Enter the Great White House Garden Makeover Contest and make horticultural history!

Brooklyn Botanic Garden traces the history of the site: “When George Washington and Pierre Charles L’Enfant mapped out the ‘President’s Park,’ in 1791, Washington sketched reflecting pools and terraced gardens buttressing an executive residence to rival Versailles.” This hoity-toity approach to horticulture has continued to this day, with a brief interlude when Andrew Jackson actually got his hands dirty weeding the garden after naked morning dips in the Potomac.

So, what should be done with these 18.2 acres of hallowed ground today? The Rodale Institute exhorted the Clinton administration to ban synthetic pesticides in the Rose Garden and build a compost bin. Restaurateur Alice Waters offered to create an organic garden for the White House chefs. The White House Organic Farm Project has an online petition calling on the 44th President to oversee the planting of an organic farm on the grounds of the nation’s First Home.

What would you do if you had your druthers? Send me your ideas by December 1, 2008. I’ll post the best ones online. Here’s how to reach me.

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