Bunny Mellon is the individual responsible for designing the 1962 Rose Garden renovations attributed to Jackie Kennedy. Vanity Fair magazine, in 2017, wrote a thorough and informative account of the history and the reasons for the desired changes.
Since the Kennedy Administration, multiple ‘enhancements’ have been made by other administrations.
In January of 1962, Mellon sent watercolor sketches to the President and the First Lady. Vanity Fairs says, “her streamlined design eliminated the existing hedges and opened up the space to allow for as many as 1,000 guests to congregate in the garden. With magnolia trees anchoring the corners, the lawn would be framed—as if it were a picture—with borders of trees and flowers. Two sides of the garden would feature crabapple trees in diamond-shaped beds, surrounded by roses and perennials, with a boxwood border.”
Above is Bunny Mellon’s original watercolor sketch of the plan for the Kennedy Rose Garden (left) and a photograph taken in the early 60s of the actual completed project (right) in accordance with the wishes of President Kennedy and First Lady Kennedy.
First Lady Melania Trump endeavored to return to the Kennedy’s vision of an open and beautiful space that could take advantage of the 9000 square foot garden to accommodate up to 1000 people. She referenced the original design, updated it minimally, and unveiled the renovation on August 22, 2020. Previously there were only 6 rose bushes in the Rose Garden and thanks to the renovation, now there are 120 rose bushes. The crabapple trees that had become significantly larger than the original installation and have grown to overshadow the roses, were carefully removed and will be replanted elsewhere on the White House grounds. The new iteration of the space will also provide safer ADA accessibility for guests.
Immediately, the haters on social media posted photos of the current (summer/fall) renovation alongside photos of the (spring) blooms prior to renovation (full of brightly colored tulips). The social media anti-Trump contingent proclaimed that the renovation was a flop. Those same people also exclaimed loudly that the First Lady had somehow dishonored the Kennedy name. Had they bothered to read the history of the site, they would have understood their own false assumptions, now being spread as lies.
Some tweeted that the project was a waste of tax dollars, while Americans were still waiting for a stimulus package; however, the project was fully funded by private donations.
Several xenophobic Twitter posts accused the First Lady, (a citizen of the US), of being a “classless immigrant and former escort,” “illegal immigrant,” and “foreigner.” One called the First Lady a “tasteless Slovenian model.” Comments also characterized the new design as “neo-facist,” “looks like a cemetery,” and characterized the First Lady as “a racist, plagiarizing, gold-digger.” This, from the party currently running for the presidency with two candidates who have plagiarized, slept their way into power, and careered disturbing records of championing racially-discriminatory policies and legislation. This, from the party of acceptance, love, and hope. It is egregious.
The First Lady came remarkably close to Mellon’s original design, but now, no longer overcrowded by bigger trees and other plants, the roses in the Rose Garden will thrive. The AP story, although mangled by several ‘news’ outlets, also discussed the First Lady’s commitment to the Kennedy-era history of the garden.
The most troubling thing about the criticisms is that the haters, (the same people who are seemingly unaffected by the horrible BLM and Antifa vandalism, violence, and assault happening in our nation’s cities), have effectively deemed the violence far less important to their Twitter feeds than a small White House beautification project honoring the Kennedy legacy.
– top, Trump administration renovation of the Rose Garden
– middle and bottom, Democrat-run city, the “Rose City”, Portland Oregon, with vandalism.