The White House Rose Garden is a garden bordering the Oval Office and the West Wing of the White House in Washington, D.C., United States. The garden is approximately 125 feet long and 60 feet wide (38 meters by 18 meters). It balances the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden on the east side of the White House Complex. It is commonly used as a stage for receptions and media events due to its proximity to the White House.
Design and horticulture
Prior to 1902, the area of the present-day Oval Office, Cabinet Room, and Rose Garden contained extensive stables housing horses and coaches. There was also a conservatory rose house in the area. During the 1902 Roosevelt renovation of the White House, First Lady Edith Roosevelt established a "proper colonial garden" in place of the conservatory.. The White House Rose Garden was established in 1913 by Ellen Louise Axson Wilson, wife of Woodrow Wilson. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt commissioned Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. to redesign the garden, and he installed cast iron furniture pieces.
Renovations performed in 1961
In 1961, during the John F. Kennedy administration, the garden was largely redesigned by Rachel Lambert Mellon concurrently with extensive repair work to the East Garden. Mellon created a space with a more defined central lawn, bordered by flower beds that were planted in a French formal garden style whilst largely using American botanical specimens. Although individual plantings are changed frequently according to the wishes of the incumbent administration, until 2020 the garden followed the same layout first established by Mellon, where each flower bed was planted with a series of pale pink 'Katherine' crabapples and Littleleaf lindens bordered by low diamond-shaped hedges of thyme. (The 'Katherine' crabapples were replaced in 2019 with a white-flowering variety called Spring Snow, which did not do well.) Additionally, the outer edges to the flower bed which faced the central lawn were edged with boxwood, and each of the four corners to the garden were punctuated by Magnolia × soulangeana; specifically, obtaining specimens that were found growing along the banks of the Tidal Basin by Mellon.
Ever since then, roses have served as the primary flowering plants in the garden, including large numbers of 'Queen Elizabeth' grandiflora roses, along with the tea roses 'Pascali', 'Pat Nixon', and 'King's Ransom'. A shrub rose, 'Nevada', also served to add a cool note of white coloration to the landscaping. Seasonal flowers are further interspersed to add nearly year-round color and variety to the garden. Some of the Spring blooming bulbs planted in the Rose Garden include jonquil, daffodil, fritillaria, grape hyacinth, tulips, chionodoxa and squill. Summer blooming annuals are changed on a near yearly basis. In the fall, chrysanthemum and flowering kale bring color leading all the way up until the early winter days. In a tradition, every summer sees garden gnomes placed throughout the Rose Garden on July 1st - the number representing the number of living presidents at that time.
Renovations performed in the Summer of 2020
As part of an August 2020 renovation project, First Lady Melania Trump ordered the ornamental trees planted by Jacqueline Kennedy removed. In the flower beds, white and pale pink rose bushes are intermixed with seasonal bulbs and annuals. A new limestone walk, 36 inches wide to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, was laid around the borders of the garden. There were public complaints that she had so drastically changed the historic White House garden.
Official and informal use
Beginning with the establishment of the garden in the early twentieth century, the Rose Garden has been used for events. President Wilson met there with the press for informal questions. President Herbert Hoover began a tradition of welcoming and being photographed with prominent citizens there. Calvin Coolidge used the garden for making public announcements about policy and staffing decisions. President John F. Kennedy welcomed Project Mercury astronauts in the garden. Many presidential news conferences take place in the garden, as well as occasional White House dinners and ceremonies. The marriage of President Richard Nixon's daughter Tricia to Edward F. Cox took place in the Rose Garden in 1971. In recent years, joint news conferences with the president and a visiting head of state have been held in the Rose Garden. Presidents frequently host American Olympic and major league athletes in the Rose Garden after winning in their respective sport. George W. Bush welcomed the Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes to the Rose Garden after their victory in 2006. In August 2020, First Lady Melania Trump gave a speech for the second night of the 2020 Republican National Convention in the Rose Garden before an audience of 70 people. Although the Rose Garden is used frequently to greet distinguished visitors and for special ceremonies and public statements, the contemplative setting is often a very personal and private place for the president.
Rose Garden strategy
The phrase "Rose Garden strategy" (such as a re-election strategy) refers to staying inside or on the grounds of the White House as opposed to traveling throughout the country. For example, Jimmy Carter's initial efforts to end the Iran hostage crisis (1979–1981) were a Rose Garden strategy because he mostly held discussions with his close advisers in the White House. On July 25, 1994 a declaration of peace between Israel and Jordan was signed in the Rose Garden.
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- "The Rose Garden". White House Museum. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
- Andriotis, Mary Elizabeth (August 23, 2020). "Melania Trump Unveils the Renovated White House Rose Garden". Yahoo. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
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- "Melania Trump Rose Garden speech attendees not all required to get coronavirus tests". CNN. August 26, 2020. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to White House Rose Garden.|
- History of the White House Gardens and Grounds
- Additional pictures of the Rose Garden at the White House Museum