Rose Garden – White House Museum


Barack Obama walks through the Rose Garden in 2009, view to the northeast (White House – Pete Souza)

The President’s Garden

Prior to 1902, there were extensive stables, housing horses and coaches, located on the grounds of the present-day Oval Office, Cabinet Room, and Rose Garden. During the 1902 Roosevelt renovation, First Lady Edith Roosevelt insisted on a proper colonial garden to help replace the conservatory rose house that had stood here.

The Rose Garden is based on a traditional 18th century American garden. The current design of the garden dates to the Kennedy Administration. President and Mrs. Kennedy were interested in having horticultural features that followed the traditions of Presidents Washington and Jefferson. The West Garden has been called the Rose Garden since 1913 when Mrs. Ellen Wilson replaced the existing colonial garden with a formal rose garden.

The Rose Garden features a rectangular grass panel surrounded by flower beds and crabapple trees. The garden is steps from the Oval Office and is the stage for numerous receptions, bill signings and media events annually.

More than 30 different types of tulips and grape hyacinth are planted in the flower beds that are framed and crisscrossed with boxwood. Lavender cotton, planted in the shape of diamonds, surrounds the crabapple trees.

The Rose Garden was once a formal flower garden, but it was eventually converted to a broad lawn surrounded by flower and shrub plantings so that presidents could hold press conferences out in the sunny, open area with the West Wing colonnade as a backdrop.

More Images

The Rose Garden in 2006, looking west (Lafayette)

The Rose Garden in 2006, looking west (Jwolfman83_16)

The Rose Garden in 2006, looking northwest (Lafayette)

The Rose Garden in 2006, looking northwest

The Rose Garden in 2006, looking east (White House – Tara Engberg)

Proposal in the Rose Garden in 2004 (Christopher Tolton)

A garden party in 2005 (White House – Paul Morse)

The Rose Garden in 2005 during the fall tour (White House – Tina Hager)

The Rose Garden in 2004 (Dcunited)

The Rose Garden in 1992, looking northwest (HABS)

The Rose Garden in 1988, looking southeast (Reagan Library)

President Nixon and daughter Tricia in the Rose Garden in 1974 (Nixon Library)

President and First Lady Nixon in the recessional of the 1971 wedding of Tricia Nixon and Edward Cox (Library of Congress)

John-John Kennedy in the new Rose Garden in circa 1963 (Kennedy Library)

First Cowgirl Caroline Kennedy rides Macaroni the Pony up the south lawn toward the Rose Garden,
which is being replanted in 1962 (Kennedy Library)

The Rose Garden circa 1956, after the Roosevelt redesign of the West Wing but before the Rose Garden was turned into a lawn (HABS)

The West Wing and Rose Garden, circa 1933 (HABS – Albert Burns)

Herbert Hoover (right) with outgoing secretary George Akerson in 1931 (Corbis)

The garden in 1923; note the clothesline (Library of Congress)

The garden in 1923 (Library of Congress)

The Coolidge Cabinet just outside the Rose Garden in 1923 (Library of Congress)

The garden in 1921 (Library of Congress – Frances Benjamin Johnston)

The garden in 1921 (Library of Congress – Frances Benjamin Johnston)

The early Rose Garden established by the Wilsons, circa 1917 (Library of Congress)

The old colonial garden in the Taft era, circa 1909 (note the clothes line on the side) (Library of Congress)

The colonial garden in the Theodore Roosevelt era, around 1908 (Library of Congress)

The old garden in the Theodore Roosevelt era in 1903 (note the drying yard) (Library of Congress)

 

 

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