The month of June is designated as National Rose Month so what better time to talk about the White House Rose Garden. In 1913 First Lady Ellen Wilson replaced an existing Colonial garden with the Rose Garden and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy later added features conforming to the gardens of Presidents Washington and Jefferson. The Rose Garden is just steps away from the Oval Office and, in its present form with a broad lawn and flower borders, it is more of an outdoor stage for media events and press conferences than a garden. (Photo: official White House photographer Pete Souza)
Watch as First Lady Michelle Obama welcomes students yesterday from local elementary schools and as far away as Vermont, Florida, Massachusetts and Tennessee to assist her in getting the fifth spring planting of the White House Kitchen Garden underway. All the schools that sent students to the planting have model physical activity programs or healthy lunch nutrition programs.
The 1,500 square foot White House Kitchen Garden continued to be harvested throughout the winter. The photo at right shows the Kitchen Garden last fall when I had an opportunity to tour it.
First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted this picture of vegetables harvested from the White House Kitchen Garden. The harvest is possible because the plants are protected with hoop covers. First Lady Michelle Obama has said that the White House Kitchen Garden is a "good way to start the conversation about healthy eating because vegetables and fruits are a big part of healthy eating". The message seems to be resonating throughout the country. According to the National Gardening Association there were 10,000 applications last year for grants for school gardens. The bounty from the Kitchen Garden is also feeding the homeless. One third of the garden's yield is sent to Miriam's Kitchen, which serves meals to the indigent just blocks from the White House.
The following photos are ones I took earlier this fall of the White House Kitchen Garden.
Today, October 19, and Saturday, October 20, the public is invited to spend time strolling the White House grounds and gardens while tweeting (hashtag #WHGARDEN), photographing and listening to the "President's Own" Marine Band. Some of the sights a visitor is likely to see include First Lady Michelle Obama's Kitchen Garden, the Rose Garden, Jacqueline Kennedy's garden, the children's playground, and
the White House putting green. All visitors who enter the White House grounds must have a free ticket which is available at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion located at 15th and E Streets, adjacent to the White House, beginning at 8:00 a.m. each day of the tour.
White House public tours of First Lady Michelle Obama's Kitchen Garden, the Rose Garden, and Jacqueline Kennedy's garden will happen this weekend, Saturday, October 13, from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. and Sunday, October 14, from 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. Tours will also take place the following week on Friday, October 19, from 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. and Saturday, October 20, from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. The tours are free, but a ticket is required for all attending. The National Park Service will distribute timed tickets on a first come, first-served basis, (one ticket per person) starting at 8:00 A.M, each day of the tour. (Photo: President Obama in Kitchen Garden- photo taken by White House official photographer Pete Souza).
Certain items will not be allowed on White House grounds (see list below) so be prepared. In case the weather does not cooperate the tours may be cancelled. The 24-hour information line at 202-456-7041 will be open to check the status of the tours.
Please note the following items are not allowed on the White House grounds:
Aerosols of any kind
Animals (except guide dogs)
Food or beverages of any kind
Any pointed object
Electric stun guns
Insulated metal containers
Knives of any kind
The U.S. Secret Service reserves the right to prohibit any other
personal items. However, strollers, wheelchairs, umbrellas and cameras
All items needed for medical purposes will be permitted on the tour
(e.g. wheelchairs, electric scooters, glucose tablets, EpiPens, etc.).
Please identify and explain all items needed for medical purposes to
U.S. Secret Service upon arrival.
The White House will open its gardens to the public on two consecutive weekends this fall, October 13, 14 and Oct. 19 and 20. A special time has been reserved on Friday, October 19 for social media users. Adults at least 18 years of age who follow or like official White House social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ can enter to win entrance to the Social Fall Garden Tour, which includes First Lady Michelle Obama's Kitchen Garden (pictured at left), the Rose Garden
where many ceremonial events and press conferences are held, and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy's Garden. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, September 25, 2011 before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. Go to htttp://www.whitehouse.gov/social to apply. Good luck.
This week's cover for My Year with the First Ladies page is a view of the White House Beehive on the South Lawn of the White House. The beehive
is a first for the White House and came into existence in conjunction with First Lady Michelle Obama's Kitchen Garden. This year the hive will produce 175 pounds of honey. An analysis last year from Texas A&M University reveals that the dominant pollen source is clover. Beekeeper Charlie Brandts, in an newspaper interview with the Washington Examiner, credits the "country-like setting of the White House with its population of dogwood, cherry, crepe myrtle, elm and magnolia trees (plus poison ivy) for providing a Shangri-La for bees".
The White House chefs use the honey in various recipes and in brewing the White House Honey Ale. The honey is often given as gifts to visiting dignitaries and guests.
"A rose is a rose is a rose" is the line from Gertrude Stein's famous poem Sacred Emily but it could also apply to the White House Rose Garden. June is National Rose month and the White House Rose Garden has a ready supply. First Lady Ellen Wilson created a formal rose garden and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy oversaw the overhaul of the garden as it appears today after President Kennedy asked her to redo it as a setting for public ceremonies.
An opportunity for those who live in the nation's capital to get an autographed copy of First Lady Michelle Obama's new book American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America. The First Lady will make an appearance at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in downtown D.C. at 555 12th St., NW on June 12 at 11:30 a.m.to autograph her book. HOWEVER, in order to secure the First Lady's autograph, customers must purchase the book ahead of time and leave it at the store until the First Lady's appearance. Customers must also submit their social security number and show an official photo ID (driver's license, passport) to the Secret Service and then they will be issued a wristband. Book purchases and ID check will take place on June 8 at Barnes and Noble beginning at 9 a.m. The contact number for the Barnes and Noble Bookstore is 202-347-0176. All proceeds from the book, which Barnes & Noble is selling for $19.20 will go the National Park Foundation.
In this video First Lady Michelle Obama discusses her new book American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America.
The book is due to be released next week and Mrs. Obama will go on tour to promote the book. The proceeds from the book will go the National Park Foundation. (An earlier blog post featured a video of the First Lady and White House gardeners in the process of creating the White House Kitchen Garden.