First lady Melania Trump has announced plans to restore the White House Rose Garden to the elegant design created during the presidency of John F. Kennedy, nearly 60 years ago.
“Even in the most difficult times, the @WhiteHouse Rose Garden has stood as a symbol of strength & continuity. Today, it is my pleasure to announce our plans to renew & restore this iconic space so that we preserve its history & beauty for generations to come,” the first lady tweeted on Monday.
Even in the most difficult times, the @WhiteHouse Rose Garden has stood as a symbol of strength & continuity. Today, it is my pleasure to announce our plans to renew & restore this iconic space so that we preserve its history & beauty for generations to come.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) July 27, 2020
The project, the cost of which was undisclosed, is being funded with private donations and has the approval of the National Park Service, which oversees the White House and its grounds.
The Rose Garden is located between the White House and the West Wing, just off the Oval Office. It underwent a major upgrade in 1962, during the second year of the Kennedy administration. The garden was established in 1913 by Ellen Axson Wilson, Woodrow Wilson’s wife.
The idea for a significant renovation of the space came from President Kennedy, according to Rose Garden designer Rachel Lambert “Bunny” Mellon, who passed away in 2014.
The president and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy had just returned from a state visit to France with stops in Great Britain and Austria in 1961.
JFK told Mellon the White House had nothing comparable to the beautiful gardens the first couple had seen in Europe and asked if she would take on the task of creating one.
The guiding principles were to make the garden both functional for outdoor events and appealing to the eye.
Mellon anchored the garden with four magnolia trees. Overall, she sought to capture the feel of an early American garden in southern Virginia.
The project began in the spring of 1962 and finished at the end of the year.
Decades of use have taken their toll on the space and Mellon’s original elegant design, according to a White House news release.
“The refreshment of the Rose Garden will return it to its original ’62 footprint and help ensure it will thrive with improved infrastructure, better drainage, and a healthier environment for plantings that reduce the risk of leaf blight.”
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Even in the most difficult times, the @WhiteHouse Rose Garden has stood as a symbol of strength & continuity. Today, it is my pleasure to announce our plans to renew & restore this iconic space so that we preserve its history & beauty for generations to come. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/first-lady-melania-trump-announces-plans-restore-enhance-white-house-rose-garden/
“In addition, the plans include improved Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility, utilities, and support for audiovisual and broadcasting needs that will allow for the continued enjoyment of the garden’s natural beauty and storied history,” the White House said.
Melania Trump observed that making these improvements offers a message of hope.
“The very act of planting a garden involves hard work and hope in the possibility of a bright future,” the first lady said.
“Preserving the history and beauty of the White House and its grounds is a testament to our nation’s commitment to the care of this landscape and our dedication to American ideals, safeguarding them for our children and their children for generations to come.”
Jacqueline Kennedy made restoration and preservation of the White House one of her top priorities while serving as first lady.
“Everything in the White House must have a reason for being there. It would be sacrilege merely to redecorate it—a word I hate. It must be restored, and that has nothing to do with decoration. That is a question of scholarship,” Kennedy told Life magazine, according to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
In February 1962, Mrs. Kennedy hosted a televised tour of the White House to showcase her restoration project. The CBS program drew nearly 60 million American viewers, when the entire population of the country was only about 186 million.
Trump’s fashion sense as first lady has been compared to Kennedy’s.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) January 21, 2017
It’s nice to see the Rose Garden being restored to its former glory — a wonderful metaphor for the renewal and regrowth of the nation.
The early 1960s definitely were a high point in American history, when the country stood confidently on the world stage as the victors of World War II and leader of the free world.
Mrs. Trump is doing her part through this project and others to help Make America Great Again.
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