White House in spring is a site to behold


By Lauren Leatherman, RT Reporter

Today’s White House Grounds are a site to behold. What started as 85 acres of land chosen by this country’s first president, George Washington, was first refined and cultivated by its garden-loving president, Thomas Jefferson.

The grounds are the oldest continually maintained landscape in the United States.

These shifting grounds around the Executive Mansion have seen retaining walls, green houses, vegetable gardens and beautiful flowers. Changes to the landscape came in long intervals and evolved to fit the era and needs of the residents.

In 1933, the President’s Park, and all national capital parks, were placed under jurisdiction of the National Park Service.

Daily and seasonal maintenance of the President’s Grounds is currently carried out by a dozen or so landscape architects, horticulturalists and gardeners. It is to them and to the National Park Service that the president and the public alike are indebted for the well-manicured green spaces, magnificent trees and many gardens full of flowers that lift the spirit and rest the soul in the heart of the nation’s capital.

Touring the White House gardens and grounds only happens twice a year, one weekend in the spring and one in the fall. This spring, the White House opened its gardens and grounds to visitors. These tours are a special opportunity for visitors to discover the beauty of the South Lawn of the White House. The Jacqueline Kennedy Garden and the White House Kitchen Garden was also on display for guests to access.

This event was free and open to the public. The National Park Service (NPS) gave out complimentary tickets starting at 8:30 a.m. on April 13-14 stationed near an entry point. Each attendee was allowed one ticket on a first-come, first-serve basis. There was long lines for tickets, so attendees had to plan ahead and arrive early.

Visitors were welcomed by music playing just outside the Blue Room, with French doors flanked by large windows surrounded by an oval portico with curving stairs that descended the South Lawn. Pictures were set up along the walk around the grounds capturing significant moments in history.

The White House gardens are now being used as a political pedestal. First lady Melania Trump participated in a harvesting and planting event in the White House Kitchen Garden with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, D.C., on Sept. 22, 2017. She encouraged the children to “continue to eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, so you grow up healthy and take care of yourself.”

The President and first lady counted down to start runners on the South Lawn Drive, during the White House Sports and Fitness Day event on May 30, 2018, which was hosted at the White House.

At the Historical Association tree planting, Melania Trump participated by planting a Pin Oak tree with a golden shovel on the property on Aug. 27, 2018, on the South Lawn of the White House.

Even though the White House is 227 years old… it never fails to disappoint the thousands of eager visitors that come each year to see the and feel the aura of the United State’s rich history.