First lady Melania Trump announced on Monday that she will oversee the renovation project for the White House Rose Garden, the first restoration of the iconic space in over 58 years.
“The very act of planting a garden involves hard work and hope in the possibility of a bright future,” Melania said in a statement announcing the plan. “Preserving the history and beauty of the White House and its grounds is a testament to our nation’s commitment to the care of this landscape and our dedication to American ideals, safeguarding them for our children and their children for generations to come.”
Melania plans to restore the garden to resemble the original design and formation from First Lady Jackie Kennedy’s 1962 footprint that was implemented by President Kennedy’s personal friend, Rachel Lambert “Bunny” Mellon. The renovation, which includes excavation began on Monday and will put the Rose Garden inaccessible for approximately the next three weeks.
“Decades of use and necessary changes made to support the modern presidency have taken a toll on the garden and have made it more difficult to appreciate the elegant symmetry of the Mellon plan,” the statement from the Office of the First Lady reads.
Melania said a “comprehensive renovation” is needed after the site for decades has been used for countless presidential news conferences, bill signings, state dinners, and events such as the annual pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey. The garden is a special significance for Melania, as it is the same spot where she launched her Be Best initiative and has celebrated the first year anniversary last year.
“Our country has seen difficult times before, but the White House and the Rose Garden have always stood as a symbol of our strength, resilience and continuity,” Melania said.
The renovation project will incorporate essential infrastructure and technological upgrades, including electrical “support for audiovisual and broadcast needs” that will make it easier to televise the president’s press conferences and public events, upgrades to improve accessibility for those with disabilities, replace crab apple trees with white rose shrubs, and add a new drainage system.
New flower assortments will be planted as well, such as white “JFK” and pale pink “peace” roses. It also will add two limestone walkways, one to the inner perimeter of the garden, and the second will stretch from the Palm Room to the south grounds.
According to the statement, the final design plan is the result of a collaboration by two premier landscape architecture firms, Perry Guillot, Inc and Oehme, van Sweden & Associates/OvS.
The Rose Garden is the latest White House renovation project for Melania. During her tenure as First Lady, Melania has revamped several spaces in the White House including the redesign of White House bowling alley, the wall coverings in the Red Room, the furnishings in the Blue Room, the draperies in the Green Room and the rug in the Diplomatic Reception Room, where she added a border of the flowers representing each of the 50 states. She also oversaw most recently the installing of the Tennis Pavilion.
The renovation plan will be financed by private donations, and the plan for renewal was approved after going through the approval process by the Committee for the Preservation of the White House. It is unknown at the moment how much the cost will be for the restoration.
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