White House Garden!


For my first-ever White House garden tour I was expecting long lines and lots of hassles, but instead was greeted with the sound of this military band, and NO line at all (thanks to early arrival). Lots of welcoming staffers and volunteers, fast security screening, and glorious weather.

There were iconic photographs taken on the grounds everywhere, causing my history-loving companion to linger.  And linger.  Below, clockwise from upper left: presidential helicopter on South Lawn, Caroline Kennedy on pony following her dad into the West Wing, the “Beer Summit”, and an accidental landing from – I didn’t catch the year.

This shot into the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden over a sea of mums is for James.  There were indeed gobs of mums, and they looked terrific to my eyes.  Sadly, visitors weren’t allowed to go into this garden or the Rose Garden, as they had on previous tours – because of bottlenecks, I was told.  Bummer.

The Rose Garden, with the West Wing in the background, from as close as we were allowed to see it.

Above, note the putting green in the foreground. There’s also a tennis court, now showing the telltale yellow markings of a half-basketball court.  And on the right, where presidents once played horseshoes, is the Obama girls’ play set.  I couldn’t resist these adorable kids beaming for their parents.


How about these floral details on the south facade?  My friend Erik Anderson – an architectural conservator – spotted and photographed them.

Next, the famous Kitchen Garden, which was looking fine and sporting its own weather-monitoring equipment.  Top gardener Jim Adams was on hand to answer everyone’s questions about it.  I asked if the broccoli he’s pointing had been attacked by cabbage worms (like most of my fall crops) but no, his were spared.  And he does absolutely no spraying, not even with organic pesticides.

White House Kitchen Garden October 2010

Finally, the fountain on the South Lawn is no longer surrounded by bedding annuals (seen here), but by Knockout Roses.  Not the artsy choice some would prefer, but low-maintenance, and crowd-pleasing.



  1. I was very interested to see the knockout roses instead of annuals… so much nicer even if they aren’t the most refined plant. But you’re right, they are absolutely low care (compared to bedding plants especially) and they look great all the time. A good choice.

    Thanks for the tour of Our House.

  2. Glad to see the vegetable garden was not just for show, but is an ongoing enterprise. I love that their bees are working out well, too. 100 pounds per year seems like more than even the White House chefs could use. What a good example for the whole country.

    Thanks Susan!

  3. Great post. I get to D.C. every few years and always check out the US Botanical Gardens to see what is happening but I never knew I could get a tour of the White House Gardens…next time, I’m in for sure!

    But the Knockout roses??? Rats. Those darned things are going to completely destroy the rose breeding industry.

  4. Darn it knockout roses, must you be everywhere. I swear they’re secretly Russian Spies! Those are some awesome pictures, I wonder how much the Obama’s are outside in their gardens. By the end of the presidency, I hope they have some nice family pictures.

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