First lady unveils restoration of Rose Garden, where she'll give GOP convention speech Tuesday

Project marks first time in 60 years that the Rose Garden has been renewed.

Updated: August 24, 2020 - 2:27pm

First lady Melania Trump on Saturday unveiled the restoration of the White House's historic Rose Garden restoration, where she's scheduled to give her speech for next week's Republican National Convention. The renovation project marks the first time in 60 years that the Rose Garden has been renewed.

"Generations of Americans have come to know and love the White House Rose Garden and its role in countless and significant events over the years," Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff and spokesperson to the First Lady told Just the News.

The White House said the costs for the renovation were paid through private donations. The National Park Service is responsible for the care and upkeep of White House outdoor spaces.

The first lady is scheduled to deliver her speech from the updated Rose Garden live on Tuesday evening.

The renovation includes a new garden, and it is expected to grow in concert across all of the flowers and boxwoods, rather than staggered replacement of sections or seasonal substitutions.

The White House noted that the predominant rose used in the new design is the “JFK Rose,” a white flower. JFK Roses line the length of the garden, closest to the colonnade on one side, and the slope down to the South Lawn on the other. The middle of the plantings area are filled with other smaller pink roses, and several “Peace” roses, yellowish and light pink in color.

The other notable addition is the “Pope John Paul II Rose,” a taller plant with white roses, in honor of his historic visit to the White House in 1979, the first visit of a Pope to the White House.

Most notable is the absence of the 10 crabapple trees that were part of the original design. However, per a White House official, the shade they were casting over the flowers, as well as root growth, made it difficult to keep other plantings alive and healthy. The official also said the trees were taken to the offsite White House greenhouse to be cared for and that they will eventually be replanted around the White House grounds.

The White House also noted that the new limestone pavers and steps on the east side of the garden will be “the new site for an unannounced art installation.”

There is a place at the front of the beds for seasonal displays, but the actual garden itself is designed to remain as is and grow on its own. A diamond-like pattern of boxwoods has also been reissued, part of the homage to the original 1962 design.

"The recent restoration project is the result of a thoughtful and collaborative process between horticulture, architectural and design experts to improve infrastructure and utility needs to allow for the continued enjoyment of the garden as well as carrying out the demands of a modern, working White House," Grisham said. "The First Lady hopes that future generations will be able to enjoy and draw inspiration from this iconic space where so much of American history has played out.”

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