Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 October 2020

Before and after photos of Melania Trump's Rose Garden renovation

The first lady has made the first major change to the world-famous garden in almost 60 years

The Rose Garden in 2011, left, and then in 2020 after Melania Trump's overhaul. Courtesy The White House
The Rose Garden in 2011, left, and then in 2020 after Melania Trump's overhaul. Courtesy The White House

On Saturday, Melania Trump unveiled what the Rose Garden now looks like after it was renovated under her supervision. The complete redesign, which has stripped much of the colour from the garden as well as 60-year-old trees, is the first major change since the Kennedy era.

The famous garden is just outside the Oval Office, and is often home to press conferences and events. It dates back to 1913, and had its last full redesign in 1962. That reworking was overseen by then first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

Slide to see the garden in 2015, left, and today, right (Photos: AFP and The White House):

Another before and after showing former president Barack Obama taking a stroll through the White House Rose Garden in 2009 and then the garden today (Photos: White House):

The majority of the flowers now in the garden are pastels, whereas red and yellow florals used to feature. The white JFK rose now lines the length of the garden, light pink and yellow Peace roses are dotted throughout and the Pope John Paul II rose, which is tall and white, has been used to mark the 1979 visit by the Pope to the White House.

Much of the changes, officials note, had to be made because of poor drainage of the lawn and damage to shrubs and tree roots over time.

Where are the crab apple trees?

A notable removal are the 10 crab apple trees that lined the garden – these colourful, blooming trees were planted in the early 1960s. They were chosen mostly because they are part of the rose family. Late designer Rachel Lambert Mellon, who was Jackie Kennedy's good friend and oversaw the 1960s overhaul, wrote that they were also selected because "the force of the summer sun that bakes the city of Washington would be broken by the height and width of these trees".

In the same story, which is on the White House's official history site, she said "it was truly President Kennedy’s garden" when renovated almost 60 years ago. "His concern for the growth and well-being of this garden was never-ending."

Reports suggest that these crab apple trees will be moved and planted elsewhere in the White House, and that the move is necessary for their continued survival.

Another key element that has been removed is the seating area on the east side of the garden, which was at times used by presidents for lunches and other meetings. It will be replaced by an art installation, officials say.

The garden was cordoned off in late July and wasn't seen by the press until it was unveiled on Saturday, August 22. Other changes include the installation of underground electrical cables to assist television crews and other media.

The renovation was paid for by private donations.

Scroll through the gallery below to see 17 historic moments in the Rose Garden:

Updated: August 23, 2020 05:33 PM

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