burgh replaced it in 1994. The symbolism of
the large-flowered magnolias planted by the
Fergussons to celebrate the 60th anniversary
of the Queen’s coronation is also appropriate
as the magnolia represents femininity, nobility
The grounds are filled with trees planted
by members of the British royal family. For
example, Princess Margaret, Colonel-in-Chief
of the Bermuda Regiment, planted a royal
poinciana, as did her successor, the Duchess of
Gloucester. As Mrs. Fergusson puts it, “The two
trees nod at each other.” A Cuban royal palm
2006 was replaced by her daughter Zara after it
was destroyed in Hurricane Gonzalo in 2014.
Other royal families are represented. In 1963
Emperor Haile Selassie planted a princess palm
(Dictyosperma album), which was replaced in
2015 after it, too, had been destroyed in Hurricane Gonzalo. And in 2006 Queen Noor of
Jordan planted a queen palm.
But many other trees were planted by lead-
ers in Bermuda and from abroad, as well as
by other British prime ministers. Numerous
American presidents have planted trees. Presi-
dent Richard Nixon’s still-standing Senegal date
Watergate affair broke out in 1972. President
George H. W. Bush visited Bermuda twice, as
did his ally British Prime Minister Margaret
Thatcher. The name of the tree she planted in
1981 is amusingly apt: the Lesser Antilles silver
thatch palm (Coccothrinax barbadensis).
Most notably, in 1961 President John F.
Kennedy arrived at Government House to
meet with Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, eventually leaving by helicopter. During
their “Big Two” summit they discussed the
growing nuclear arms race and the Berlin Wall.
Both leaders planted Canary Island date palm
trees, which remain. Actually, a back injury
prevented President Kennedy from planting his—he snipped a ribbon tied around it
instead. Given that the Bay of Pigs crisis had
happened just six months before, it’s as well he
did not plant a Cuban royal palm. Film footage shows the two leaders chatting amiably
together. According to Richard Reeves’s 1994
biography, President Kennedy: Profile of Power,
President Kennedy said, “I wonder how it is
with you, Harold? If I don’t have a woman for
three days, I get terrible headaches.” It’s likely
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