Friday, December 3

Why Melania Trump is a better gardener than Jackie Kennedy | ICON Design


The initiative of Melania Trump renovating the White House rose garden has ruined, according to the most critics, the emblematic garden next to the oval office. The attacks directed at the first lady denounce the elimination of a dozen wild apple trees and rose bushes, supposedly planted by the wives of the presidents of the United States since 1913. In addition, they criticize the lack of color of the recent plantation and installation of a new pavement.

The works, according to Melania herself, have returned this garden to its original project from 1962, designed by Bunny Mellon during the Kennedy administration. The reality is that this 684-square-meter space has hardly changed, or at least that’s what the author of All the President’s Gardens (Timber Press, 2016), Marta Mcdowell, who, in various statements to the US media on the occasion of the reopening of the rose garden, has explained that the removed apple trees are not the original ones.

According to the expert, the trees have been replaced three times since 1960, and even the variety planted has changed. Mcdowell justifies their disappearance by the shadow they cast, thus affecting the development and flowering of the rose bushes, the main plant in the presidential garden. According to the official statement, the apple trees have been sheltered in the White House greenhouses waiting to be transferred to another area of ​​the gardens.

melania trump jardin casa blanca
The White House Rose Garden photographed last week after the Melania Trump-led remodel, in which apple trees have been removed from flower beds and paving was installed around the perimeter of the central meadow. |

melania trump jardin casa blanca
The rose garden, in late summer, full of roses in pastel shades. A variety planted in honor of Pope John Paul II’s first visit to the White House in 1979 has been maintained, as well as the ‘JFK rose’, both white in color and intense perfume. |

Marta Mcdowell also denies that the previous rose bushes were planted by the first ladies since 1913 and affirms that at this time they have necessarily been replaced as they are not such a long-lived plant. After this last intervention, a variety planted in honor of Pope John Paul II’s first visit to the White House in 1979 has been maintained, as well as the JFK rose, both white in color and with an intense perfume.

In recent days, an image comparing the before and after of the garden has circulated on social networks to denounce the loss of color that, according to some, the space has suffered with the reform undertaken by Melania. It is an impossible parallel that does not take into account seasonal changes or the time that every garden needs to thrive. The first of the photographs captures a specific moment of the rose garden in the middle of spring – possibly during the Obama administration – with apple trees in bloom and a flower bed full of yellow, red, orange and white tulips. The few rose bushes that dot the composition have not yet blossomed. The second, taken a few days ago, reflects the current state, at the end of summer, without the presence of apple trees and full of roses in pastel tones.

The installation of the pavement on the perimeter of the central meadow and parallel to the boxwood border has been another of the actions criticized despite not substantially altering the original layout. In Melania’s words, “These improvements make the garden fully accessible to all Americans, including those with disabilities.”

melania trump jardin casa blanca
The Jackie Kennedy Garden in 1967, shortly after its opening. It was named –although also President’s garden– thus in honor of the wife of President John F. Kennedy and designed by the landscaper Lyndon Baines Johnson, although without the participation of the first lady. |

Contrary to everything that has been read recently, which tries to confront the figures of Jackeline Keneddy and Melania Trump, the Rose Garden of the White House was not designed by Jackie and not even she was its promoter. It was her husband, the thirty-fifth president of the United States, who in 1961 commissioned the redesign of a pre-existing garden from the landscaper Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, heir to the Listerine fortune and a very close friend of the presidential marriage. After a trip to France, England and Austria, President Keneddy expressed his interest in having a garden on the same level as those he had seen on his European journey. This was revealed by the gardener herself, also the author of Jacqueline’s summer home on Martha’s Vineyard, Hubert de Givenchy’s Manoir du Jonchet in the Loire Valley and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

melania trump jardin casa blanca
Bunny Mellon design showing the evolution of the Rose Garden in the different seasons. |

melania trump jardin casa blanca
In Melania Trump’s new design, areas marked with diagonal red lines contain tulips that will grow in the spring, and other bulbs and flowers in the summer. |

Other criticisms, beyond the renewed aesthetics of this rose garden, fuel disputes between Republicans and Democrats, using the garden as a weapon of confrontation in the pre-electoral period. This is the case of the digital magazine Slate, which considers this action typical of an uncontrolled presidency. Many opinions also point to the inappropriateness of the moment. The columnist of the The New York Times Charles M. Blow, among others, he questions on his Twitter account that the renewal is done in the middle of a pandemic which has killed more than 175,000 people.

melania trump jardin casa blanca
Clinton and former Mexican President Vicente Fox walk through the Rose Garden on August 24, 2000, when the roses were the same color as now. |

In addition, the fact that the reopening of the garden took place a few days before Melania Trump delivered her speech at the Republican National Convention in that same place has been harshly censured as it is the first time in history that the House is used. White for party events. The rose garden located in the west wing of the presidential mansion has been the scene of important celebrations both official and private, from the wedding of President Nixon’s daughter, Tricia Nixon, in 1971, to many state dinners and receptions or the most recent Trump press conferences that have found a safer place in this open space against covid-19.

So much so that this corner has served to baptize the “Rose Garden strategy” O “What is said in the Rose Garden stays in the Rose Garden“(” What is said in the Rose Garden stays in the Rose Garden “), a reelection maneuver that consists of focusing political activity on the White House gardens instead of traveling around the country and that used especially the President Carter.

melania trump jardin casa blanca
The President’s Garden, watercolor by Rachel Bunny Mellon (January 24, 1962). |

The land to the west side, which was previously occupied by stables, housed from 1902 a colonial garden established by then-first lady Edith Roosevelt. It was Ellen Wilson, in 1913, the initiator of a rose garden whose design has been altered, to a greater or lesser extent, during all presidencies and which underwent its most radical change with the Keneddys.

This last intervention, wild for some and respectful for others, has been financed through private donations although the total cost has not yet transcended. Although the most critical have placed Melania Trump in the center of the bullseye, the reform has been carried out after a thorough preliminary study –Which considers the incidence of the sun in all seasons, hydrography, irrigation, lighting, the composition of the substrate, the most used paths within the garden or the views from different points– and has been approved by the Committee for the Preservation of the White House Gardens, recently formed under the leadership of the first lady. The project is signed by landscaping studios Perry Guillot Inc. and Oehme, from Sweden & Associates / OvS.

melania trump jardin casa blanca
Edith Roosevelt created in 1903 a colonial garden on both sides of the south portico, in which the flowerbeds were arranged in the shape of four petals whose vegetation consisted of evergreen shrubs and ornamental flowers of native species. |

melania trump jardin casa blanca
Above, detail from a watercolor by Anthony St. John Baker, from approximately 1827, showing the barn area and trees on the west side of the White House during the John Adams administration (1797-1801). Below, a photograph by Harris and Edwin Inc. showing the first Rose Garden, designed by Ellen Wilson in 1913 and for which she built the colonial garden for Roosevelt’s wife. |

melania trump jardin casa blanca
President Kennedy shows the White House Gardens to Princess Beatrice of the Netherlands during a state visit in May 1963. |

melania trump jardin casa blanca
Tricia Nixon’s wedding to Edward Finch Cox in the Rose Garden at the White House, June 12, 1971. |

melania trump jardin casa blanca
The garden seen on April 27, 1963, when flowering was at its peak. |

melania trump jardin casa blanca
The west wing of the White House seen in 1848. |




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