On the third Monday in February, the entire nation celebrates Presidents Day … sort of. While the holiday is known colloquially as Presidents Day, its official federal name is still Washington’s Birthday. If that wasn’t confusing enough, different states officially know it as “Presidents Day,” “Lincoln/Washington/Presidents Day,” “Washington- Lincoln Day,” “George Washington Day,” and more. Let’s untangle how all these variant names came about and delve into the fascinating history of the holiday. Washington was born on February 22, 1731. Given his incredible contribution to the founding of the United States, it’s understandable that a national holiday would be established to commemorate his legacy. The holiday was first established in 1879 for employees in Washington, D.C. Six years later, it was expanded to include all federal offices nationwide. And for the next century or so, nothing changed. However, in 1971, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This bill officially moved holidays that were once celebrated on specific dates, like Memorial Day and Columbus Day, to a particular Monday in a given month. This allowed for three-day weekends and, hopefully, encouraged retail sales with an extra day of shopping. But this,
unintentionally, moved Washington’s birthday celebration to a day between his actual birthday and the birthday of another venerated president, Abraham Lincoln. By the late 20th century, Lincoln’s reputation and legacy were as titanic as Washington’s. Because Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, many states found it appropriate to make the day a commemoration of two great presidents rather than just one. By the 1980s, “Presidents Day” was the more widely acknowledged name, if not the official designation.
Why it hasn’t received a uniform federal name is anyone’s guess, but at least when you say “Presidents Day,” everyone knows what you’re talking about. No matter what you call it, the day is a chance to celebrate some of the people who’ve made lasting contributions to our nation’s history. If you look at any presidential ranking, Washington and Lincoln are probably No. 1 and No. 2. It’s fitting, then, that we celebrate their birthdays in tandem.
GARDEN PREPARATION FOR SPRING By Kate Refine Pruning, Trimming, and Rejuvenating
My goal for my February garden (as soon as we get a nice 50-degree day) is to prune the overgrown viburnums that form a hedge along the side of my backyard. They are at least 15 years old, very leggy, and in need of rejuvenating. They are a fragrant variety with an early spring bloom. I realize I will be sacrificing this year’s blooms, but the shrubs are so unruly at this point that it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. I choose to do it at this time of year because there is still no leaf growth, which allows me to see into the interior of the shrub and thin out the limbs with relative ease.
or touch another. I will also take out any water sprouts — growth that emerges vertically from the limbs from latent buds. After this is done, I will trim the bush back by one-third. All this pruning should leave me with a shrub that looks more controlled and one that hopefully I can enjoy for a few more years. This type of rejuvenation pruning works great on viburnums, dogwoods, burning bushes, lilacs, and other dense, deciduous shrubs. It’s important to know the bloom time so you don’t prune away the flower buds. If you are uncertain what type of shrub you are working with and you want to prune it back, you can always send us a photo. Maybe we can help identify it. We’d love to help.
First, I will take out all the older, dead limbs with a lopper. Next to go are all the crossing branches — the branches that lean on
Made with FlippingBook - Online Brochure Maker