Irvin Williams, the White House gardener who made Rose Garden bloom, dies at the age of 92

Irvin Williams, whose horticultural career spanned the Kennedy to the George W. Bush administrations, made him the longest-serving gardener in the history of the White House and was a key figure in the creation of the Rose Garden. He died on November 7 at a hospital in Reston, Va. He was 92. The cause was kidney failure, said a son, Bruce Williams. Mr. Williams, tall and elegant, with a silver mustache as well-groomed as his South Lawn Greensward, was averse to publicity during his 46-year tenure, but played a pivotal role in maintaining the continuity and integrity of the historic landscape – and ensured that the landscape was raked lawn was repaired after the annual Easter Egg Roll. He was appointed Gardener of the White House in 1962 and retired in 2008. As a gardener to the government, he worked on garden projects of the White House dating back to the Truman period. While commissioned to install such landscaping additions as President Gerald R. Ford's swimming pool and Amy Carter's tree house, he did so without compromising the master plan of landscape architect Frederick Olmsted Jr. in the 1930s, the historian Jonathan said Pliska. Mr. Williams knew each of the 400 trees on the site and led a team that was tasked with obtaining specimens or propagating their offspring, which dates back to the time of President John Quincy Adams. "No president, with the exception of Thomas Jefferson, has influenced the garden as much as Mr. Williams," said Pliska, author of "A Garden for the President." "He's on Mount Rushmore, who did the most, and unfortunately he's one of the least well-known, but he wanted it." Although he had few training sessions, Mr. Williams's horticultural knowledge, work ethic, and high standards secured him a place Superintendent of Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in the district where the White House had its greenhouses, he was regularly used by the mid-1950s for landscaping projects in the White House, where he took over full-time oversight in 1962. Mr. Williams was the last surviving member of the Teams behind the modern rose garden John F. Kennedy, at the beginning of his presidency, wanted a complete overhaul of the West Garden in front of the Oval Office to create a space that could be used as an outdoor ceremony.The old garden was a boring confection of truncated privet hedges , and the narrow steps that take him to the office of the President were an unpleasant place to address events. Kennedy turned to the friend of his wife, art patron and garden designer Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, to create the new garden. Mellon in turn sought design consultant to landscape architect Perry Hunt Wheeler. She had only four months to design and build the garden. [Rachel ‘Bunny’ Mellon, arts patron and confidante of Jackie Kennedy, dies at 103] "Her approach was to find a person she could communicate with, knew about horticulture and gardening, managed a workforce within a short space of time, and knew the special and sometimes special ways of the White House," historian William Seale wrote Journal of the Historical Association of the White House. "It seemed a daunting task at first, but it turned out that this was not the case. Irwin M. Williams was very close. "The new garden consisted of wide steps that could be used as a stage, a central lawn for assembled dignitaries and a frame of ornamental trees, boxwood hedges and rose bushes for the seasonal plantings that make color from April to November. (He planted at home the same varieties of roses that he planted in the rose garden so he could master the cultivation.) Mr. Williams was an expert in digging and moving mature trees, and brought four large saucer magnolias from the torrent with basins Rose garden marking the corners of the garden. After Kennedy's assassination in November 1963, he worked with Mellon to renovate the East Garden on the other side of the south portico dedicated to Jacqueline Kennedy during the Johnson administration. "He was a consummate servant in the palace," Seale said in an interview. "His only interest was to do his job well and right, and he was very special." Irvin Martin Williams was born on March 18, 1926 in Engle, USA, and was the son of a peasant family that moved north to Virginia when he was a boy. Survivors include his 67-year-old wife, Dorothy Dailey Williams of Herndon, Virginia; five children, Donald Williams of Lorton, Virginia, Gary Williams of Richmond, Richard Williams of Herndon, Bruce Williams of Arlington, Virginia, and Patricia Williams of Paragon, Ind .; and eight grandchildren. Retired, Mr. Williams propagated boxwood and over the years became a collector of antique clocks and lead crystal vases adorning luxury cars. Even in the family, Mr. Williams did not talk much about his interactions with presidents. He asked one of his grandchildren to collect acorns so that President Ronald Reagan could feed the squirrels in the rose garden. But Mr. Williams had a love-hate relationship with the squirrels, who in each case considered the many thousands of freshly planted tulip bulbs as an invitation to a feast. Mr. Williams, who was a pragmatist, put peanut containers at the base of the trees to appease the furry raiders. (At heart, he was an animal lover who adopted Pushinka, the Soviet puppy leader Nikita Khrushchev had given to the Kennedy.) Mr. Williams helped the president install her personal landscape features and after George H.W. When Bush built his horseshoe court, he sometimes got in touch with the president. Fortunately, Mr. Williams did not have to be downplayed. "Mr. Bush was really good, my dad tried to beat him but never could," said Bruce Williams.

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