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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
April 16, 2004

Fact Sheet: The White House Garden Tours

The White House Gardens were first opened to the public in 1972 by Pat Nixon. The two-day event will showcase the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden (East Garden), the Rose Garden (West Garden), the Children's Garden and the White House South Lawn while military bands perform from a White House balcony.

The grounds, groves and extensive plantings at the White House comprise the oldest continually maintained landscape in the United States. The current view from the South Portico was developed in 1935 by the Olmstead brothers at the request of President Roosevelt in anticipation of the building of the Jefferson Memorial. Numerous trees were removed from the end of the lawn to allow for a full vista to the memorial and landscape beyond.

The annual White House Spring Garden Tours will be held on Saturday, April 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 18 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The National Park Service will distribute free, timed tickets at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion located at 15th and E Streets on both tour days beginning at 7:30 a.m. 12,600 tickets will be distributed.

The Rose Garden (West Garden)

The Rose Garden is based on a traditional 18th century American garden. The current design of the garden dates to the Kennedy Administration. President and Mrs. Kennedy were interested in having horticultural features that followed the traditions of Presidents Washington and Jefferson. The West Garden has been called the Rose Garden since 1913 when Mrs. Ellen Wilson replaced the existing colonial garden with a formal rose garden.

The Rose Garden features a rectangular grass panel surrounded by flower beds and crabapple trees. The garden is steps from the Oval Office and is the stage for numerous receptions, bill signings and media events annually.

More than 30 different types of tulips and grape hyacinth are planted in the flower beds that are framed and crisscrossed with boxwood. Lavender cotton, planted in the shape of diamonds, surrounds the crabapple trees.

The Jacqueline Kennedy Garden (East Garden)

The Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, like the Rose Garden, is based on a traditional 18th century American garden. Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson continued the garden's restoration plans approved by President and Mrs. Kennedy and the National Park Service. The East Garden was dedicated by Mrs. Johnson as the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden on April 22, 1965.

The garden has a large fescue grass panel in the center and is framed on the north and south sides by a holly hedge. The East Colonnade, located on the garden's north side, is lined by a row of linden trees.

Planting beds, bordered by boxwoods, are filled with tulips, pansies and grape hyacinth. Rosemary, thyme and other herbs, planted under the eight American holly trees, are regularly used by the White House Chefs.

The Children's Garden

The Children's Garden was a gift from President and Mrs. Johnson to the White House. The garden provides a secluded place for children to play in a wooded park-like area.

The garden is located on the South Grounds and features a goldfish pond and a stayman winesap apple tree (for children to use as a climbing tree). Tulips and grape hyacinth provide vibrant colors in the natural drifts of the garden.

Footprints and handprints of Presidents' children and grandchildren are embedded in the garden's paved pathway. (Barbara and Jenna Bush's handprints were added during President George H.W. Bush's Administration.)

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