First Lady Melania Trump Unveils White House Rose Garden Renovations

August 22, 2020 Updated: August 24, 2020

First Lady Melania Trump unveiled on Saturday the renovations that have been done to the White House Rose Garden just days prior to her speech at the Republican National Convention.

The iconic garden is famous for its close location to the Oval Office and will serve as a backdrop for the first lady as she gives her speech Tuesday evening for her husband’s reelection.

“Excited to honor history & celebrate the future in our beautiful @WhiteHouse Rose Garden this evening,” Melania Trump wrote on Twitter. “Thank you to all who helped renew this iconic & truly gorgeous space.”

Melania Trump said in a statement late last month she was “pleased to announce a significant renewal” to the garden, which hasn’t seen a comprehensive refreshment since it was first installed in the early 1960s under President John F. Kennedy.

“Decades of use and necessary changes made to support the modern presidency have taken a toll on the garden,” the statement reads.

The project—spearheaded by Melania Trump—was funded by private donations and no taxpayer money went to the renovations, according to a White House official.

The Rose Garden has been renovated in the spirit of its original 1962 design, which was first implemented by Rachel Lambert “Bunny” Mellon during the Kennedy Administration, and has since been the garden’s guiding blueprint.

The garden is also President Donald Trump’s favorite place to hold press conferences and was forced to close for about six weeks during the renovations.

Epoch Times Photo
The progress of first lady Melania Trump’s historic restoration to the Rose Garden in the White House in Washington on Aug. 14, 2020. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)
Epoch Times Photo
The completion of first lady Melania Trump’s historic restoration to the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington on Aug. 21, 2020. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

The new design conforms with Ms. Trump’s personal aesthetic and the flowers in the garden are largely pastels, which are favored by the first lady, including taller white roses, which were in honor of the first papal visit to the White House by Pope John Paul II in 1979. A diamond-like shape of boxwoods was also added, while about a dozen crabapple trees were removed and will be replanted elsewhere on the grounds.

Moreover, a seating area on the east side of the garden—used at times by presidents for lunch and other meetings—has been removed and will be replaced by a yet-to-be-announced art installation.

The most visually striking change to the garden was the addition of a 3-foot wide limestone walking path bordering the central lawn. Less noticeable changes include improved drainage and infrastructure and making the garden more accessible for people with disabilities. Audiovisual, broadcasting, and other technical fixes are part of the plan, too.

Epoch Times Photo
The completion of first lady Melania Trump’s historic restoration to the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington on Aug. 21, 2020. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)
Epoch Times Photo
The completion of first lady Melania Trump’s historic restoration to the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington on Aug. 21, 2020. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

“The very act of planting a garden involves hard work and hope in the possibility of a bright future,” Ms. Trump said at the time she announced the renovations.

“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,” she continued.

Presidents have long used the Rose Garden as a backdrop for major events, and Trump has been increasingly using it for outdoor events, which are considered safer for gatherings during the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.

The Trump administration will be the first to use the executive mansion for a political convention. Beyond the first lady’s address, the president will deliver his speech Thursday evening from the White House’s South Lawn, where a stage was being constructed over the weekend.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.