George Washington’s Garden Guru

1728 must have been an interesting year for gardening when Batty Langley’s New Principles of Gardening published. (Check out the full title in the citation below.) Prior to the publication of this book, French and English gardens tended to follow a formal architecture. Langley promoted a less rigid garden design than what had been popular at that period, including natural plantings that follow curves instead of straight, structured layouts.

By 1759, the new thinking in garden design reached high society in America when, shortly after marrying Martha, George Washington reportedly ordered the book to inform the design of the gardens at Mount Vernon, according to the Mount Vernon website. Of course by then the principles were no longer new. But anyway, don’t you just love that George Washington’s gardening guru was named Batty?


Langley, Batty. (1728). New Principles of Gardening: Or, The Laying Out and Planting Parterres, Groves, Wildernesses, Labyrinths, Avenues, Parks, &c. after A More Grand and Rural Manner, than Has Been Done before. With Experimental Directions for Raising the Several Kinds of Fruit-trees, Forest-trees, Ever-greens and Flowering-shrubs with Which Gardens Are Adorn’d. To Which Is Added, the Various Names, Descriptions, Temperatures, Medicinal Virtues, Uses and Cultivations of Several Roots, Pulse, Herbs, &c. of the Kitchen and Physick Gardens, That Are Absolutely Necessary for the Service of Families in General. London: Printed for A Bette and J. Battley.

Mount Vernon. Web. Retrieved on June 19, 2014 from