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Marie Iannotti

Presidential Roses

By February 18, 2013

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We're celebrating Presidents' Day in the U.S today and I was poking around for some information on the White House Rose Garden. We hear about it all the time, but it always seems to be treated as a backdrop for briefings, not a pleasure garden.

It was First Lady Ellen Wilson who was responsible for the creation of the Rose Garden. The current layout is based on a redesign undertaken during President Kennedy's administration and, sure enough, he envisioned a space for hosting events. Rachel Lambert Mellon was charged with devising a more formal layout. The current Rose Garden is a central lawn bordered by flower beds planted predominantly with American plants. Although there is a structure of trees, boxwood and thyme hedges, the garden is filled with seasonal color and, of course, a good many roses

President Lincoln had multiple roses named after him, including a mini rose, 'Honest Abe'. But 'Mr. Lincoln', a red, hybrid tea, remains the most popular. 'General Washington' is another lovely red rose, as is 'Ronald Reagan', a red rose with silvery shading on the undersides of petals. 'John F. Kennedy' has a cream colored hybrid tea named in his honor. Other presidents immortalized in roses include: Calvin Coolidge, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Herbert Hoover, William McKinley, Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson.

Along with the men, First Ladies, Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Rosalyn Carter both Barbara and Laura Bush all have namesake roses. I believe there used to be an Eleanor Roosevelt rose, but as with many of these Presidential roses, I can't find it listed anywhere. Know of any more? We've got the perfect venue for memorializing our Presidents. I wish roses remained available longer.

Photo: Getty Images News / Mark Wilson

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