The Rose Garden May27

The Rose Garden

Over the years, the White House Rose Garden has played host to a number of distinguished guests and important events. From news conferences to weddings, it has functioned as a beautiful outdoor sanctuary for both the public, and private lives of the First Family. And because it sits on the West Wing, just outside of the Oval Office, it is often a private escape for the President. The garden was first established in 1913 (during Woodrow Wilson’s administration), but was most notably re-designed by Bunny Mellon – during the Kennedy years. I’ve been slowly making my way through Katharine Graham’s autobiography, and just came across a fun anecdote regarding Bunny Mellon and the re-design of the garden. In 1961, while summering on Cape Cod, Mellon hosted the Grahams, and President and Mrs. Kennedy to a picnic lunch on the beach. When they were out on their boat, according to Bunny, the Kennedys always lunched on “awful thick sandwiches and canned clam chowder,” so she felt that steamed clams and champagne would be more appropriate. …At lunch, we all sat around at small tables. The President and Bunny were alone at one, and it was then that he asked her, whose skill at landscape gardening was legendary, if she would redesign the garden outside his office window, complaining that people called the place a rose garden but there wasn’t a rose to be seen – that, in fact, there was nothing but crabgrass. Sometime later, when nothing had happened with the garden and Bunny was going through a receiving line at the White House, the President asked, “Where are the plans for my garden?” “Oh, Mr. President, I’ve been busy and I’ve been traveling. They are in my head but I haven’t had time to...