Thursday, December 28, 2017
The Jackson Magnolia
As Magnolia trees go, the Jackson Magnolia has lived a long life, nearly 200 years, but as with any venerable tree it is hard to see it go. Not surprising the decision to cut back the tree significantly is being met with some indignation, especially since the burden of the decision fell on the Trump White House. It remains to be seen what will be left of the tree.
Andrew Jackson had planted the tree back in 1829, in memory of his late wife, Rachel, who died shortly after he was elected President. He took a seedling from his farm in Tennessee and had it brought to the White House. Probably one of the few warm stories surrounding "Old Hickory." The tree has literally spanned 38 succeeding presidencies and is immortalized on the $20 bill along with Jackson himself.
You might recall that Jackson was scheduled to be scrubbed from the $20 bill and replaced by Harriet Tubman, but like many of former President Obama's executive orders, this one is in danger of being rolled back by Trump, who has a special affinity for Andrew Jackson, as well as an overwhelming disdain for Barack Obama.
It seems it is this special affinity that led Trump, or rather his wife in this case, to retain a remnant of the Magnolia Grandiflora with the hope that it will regain some of its former glory. More likely, the tree will be replaced by one of the seedlings taken from the Jackson Magnolia that have been secretly cultivated in a greenhouse-like location nearby. All though, I don't think a seedling can grow to 8-10 feet in a matter of months. As you read down the linked CNN article, you find Michelle Obama began this project in 2009. Rest assured, Trump will give full credit to his wife.
Melania has tried to display her horticultural skills during the year, but was met mostly with derision given her designer clothes. At least she has carried on one tradition left from the Obama administration, which is more than can be said for her husband.
As for Andrew Jackson, probably best to remember him as a tree.