Remarkable Trees of Virginia: White Ash at George Washington’s Mt. Vernon

Mt. Vernon
I’ve lived less than an hour away from George Washington’s Mt. Vernon for over a decade now.  Last week, we visited for the first time because it was on my sister’s itinerary.  She traveled here with two of her five boys for an educational week in Virginia.

Mt. Vernon
My children absolutely loved this place.  So, I suppose we’ll be going back again in the near future.

Mt. Vernon

Mt. Vernon

tulip poplar planted by George Washington

Mt. Vernon
Photography isn’t allowed inside the house because of copyright issues on certain items that are there on loan, so the only interior photo that I took was inside the kitchen, because photos are allowed there.

Mt. Vernon
George Washington’s tomb.

Mt. Vernon
But the best part:  the sheep.  All born on the farm at Mt. Vernon this year, and all so sweet and friendly!

Mt. Vernon

Mt. Vernon

Mt. Vernon
(And, this is where I intervened….)

State Champion white ash tree
Also on the agenda was to find the state champion White Ash (Fraxinus Americana.)  This tree is featured in Remarkable Trees of Virginia and we have been meaning to visit it for some time now.  Most employees on the grounds looked at us blankly when I asked about its location, but eventually someone pointed us in the right direction.  It is on the Serpentine path in front of the mansion.  While this tree wasn’t planted by George Washington as the previously pictured tulip poplar was (it has been cored and found to have germinated around 1819 so not quite old enough) it is incredibly impressive at over 130 feet fall and 17.6 feet in circumference.

State Champion white ash tree

State Champion white ash tree
(Yes, I cut Beatrix’s hair. Yes, I need to carry her to a professional now! In my defense, she had already put so many layers in herself and was really wanting it short. I did my best in hopes of preventing another “by Bea” haircut.)

State Champion white ash tree

State Champion white ash tree

State Champion white ash tree
It was pretty much impossible to get a good photograph. These are more amusing anyway.

fig trees from Mt. Vernon
I brought home two souvenirs: a pair of fig trees being sold outside one of the shops on the grounds. I still haven’t figured out where to plant them.


  1. Hi, I was doing a bit of research on trees in Virginia and I found this website. I just wanted to say I really love all these pictures of the old trees and kids. It makes me feel like I want to go there as I used to live in Virginia (now a New Yorker). What a great help to find pictures of these trees!

  2. Plant the figs by the kitchen door! Isn’t that the traditional location in the South? I’ve been in love with figs this season, just devouring them crazily!

  3. It always makes me happy to read of another “Remarkable Trees” post/ adventure. I want to dig around and see if there’s a similar book for NY State. I’d love to have a similar project.

  4. I remember my fam took us to Mt Vernon…to this day it is something that sticks out so vividly in my mind. I LOVED it there…the winding drive up to it…the old rooms, the view out the back. W had an old blue volvo station wagon and I can just remember all being piled in there and feeling like I’d want to live there. Id love to take my kids there for a visit. Im sure they’d love it too!


  5. All our ash trees here in my area of Northern IN have gone the way of the Chestnut via EAB….it stinks. I would love to visit Mt. Vernon someday!!

  6. Cutest family!

  7. The photos of the kids are hilarious!

  8. ginny, do you know if the mountain ash is safe from the emerald ash borer? what a beautiful tree! our ash trees are all being decimated by them. so sad 🙁

  9. Chinacat Poppins says:

    “My Mom Hugs Trees”.
    This is what my children live with.
    I found you through your tree posts a couple of years back… In fact it was the “Dethroned Black Walnut”. I happened to be searching ideas and recipes for tie-dyeing fabric… I have been hooked ever since. Thank you, for everything. You inspire me in so many ways.
    Someday, our area will have a book such as that…
    Back to Vernon. Gabe had the best seat! I have to say, “I want to be cradled by that ash’s root.” How amazing. I cannot wait to visit Mount Vernon. hmmmm… someday…
    Many blessings to you and yours.

  10. I actually think the pictures are beautiful:) love them.

  11. love all those pics with the children around the trees! what a great souvenir-!!! good luck with figs.

  12. Those huge trees are amazing.

    We had a funny hair cutting experience with Bracken yesterday. As he moved, pieces got cut a little shorter than intended. Oh well. 🙂

  13. Haha love the kids antics! Love your blog!!

  14. Oh was a fun place to visit. I love the sheep 🙂

  15. completely off topic: did you find your rooster? I had such a hard time when my grand mother gave me some chicken soup last weekend, only to find out that it was made out of a rooster which I hated (he was bad, attacking us and little kids) but with all that, I kind of felt sorry for him. And I thought about yours.

  16. What a wonderful outing! I so live trees, especially the older ones with te huge trunks like you ave photographed. How exciting to get the figs. What type are they?

  17. I tell people I fell in love with my husband at Mt. Vernon. We were on a school trip (high school sweethearts), and he didn’t laugh when I was completely amazed by the broccoli growing in the vegetable gardens. (I had never seen broccoli growing before, and–as I’m sure you know–it looks just like someone cut off stalks of broccoli and stuck them in the ground.) Anyway, thanks for the reminder and the good memory!

  18. I’m taken by the roots on the tree. I love them. This tree is on our agenda to visit too!

    Last week we visited the American Elm in Roanoke. It was in the middle of a golf course. The staff had a cart waiting for us when we arrived to visit the tree. My children were thrilled at a trip around the golf course while mama learned to drive the golf cart:-) If you get a chance to head south, it’s a fun place to visit! We have set out to try and visit one tree a month. I have a feeling it will get harder to stick to this plan as we weed out all the local trees and have to travel farther to get to them with gas prices.

    What a fun souvenir to bring home!

  19. i love all of your remarkable trees of virginia post. when my little one gets a little bigger, i would love to drive around and meet some of these trees. as for the figs, i have heard from a couple of people that the best way to grow a fig tree down here in virginia is to plant it close to your house, on a side with a southern exposure–that way, the house will give it a little extra protection in winter.

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