Score an inside view of the White House gardens.
By Jill A. Norris
Isn’t it every tourist’s dream to see the White House from the other side of that big black iron gate? We can confirm that the grass really is greener on the other side, especially when you have the White House gardening staff to maintain it. Pat Nixon first opened up the presidential gardens to the public in 1972 and lucky for us, it has turned into an annual tradition. Plus it’s free!
On the weekend of April 21st, Washingtonians will have the chance to walk through the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden, Children’s Garden and South Lawn of the White House. The Kitchen Garden, a recent addition to the South Lawn, will also be viewable from the tour.
The Rose Garden was known as the West Garden until 1913 when Mrs. Ellen Wilson replaced the existing Colonial garden with roses. The East Garden also received a name change on April 22, 1965 when Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson dedicated it to Jacqueline Kennedy. This year marks the 47th anniversary since its completion. A gift from President and Mrs. Johnson in 1968, the Children’s Garden is especially sweet as it is decorated with the hand and foot prints of the children and grandchildren of past presidents. Isn’t it a shame that people aren’t lining up to see your kids’ footprints in that brand new sidewalk of yours?
You need a ticket for the tour and though carry-in items are limited, cameras are permitted. The National Park Service is charged with doling out tickets (which are free). Tickets are available at the start of each tour, one per person on a first-come, first-served basis. Pick them up at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion, located at 15th and E Streets starting at 8 a.m.