Melania Trump will lead a "significant renewal" of the White House Rose Garden. The First Lady will oversee a project to restore the space so that it more closely resembles the original design and formation — which was established by President John F. Kennedy — that was implemented by horticulturist and philanthropist Rachel "Bunny" Mellon in 1962. At this time, there is no word on exactly how long the process may take.
"The refreshment of the Rose Garden will return it to its original '62 footprint and help ensure it will thrive with improved infrastructure, better drainage, and a healthier environment for plantings that reduce the risk of leaf blight," a statement from The White House read. Also, the plans include improved Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility, utilities, and support for audiovisual and broadcasting needs that will allow for the continued enjoyment of the garden's natural beauty and storied history." Trump added, "The very act of planting a garden involves hard work and hope in the possibility of a bright future. Preserving the history and beauty of the White House and its grounds is a testament to our nation's commitment to the care of this landscape and our dedication to American ideals, safeguarding them for our children and their children for generations to come."
Even in the most difficult times, the @WhiteHouse Rose Garden has stood as a symbol of strength & continuity. Today, it is my pleasure to announce our plans to renew & restore this iconic space so that we preserve its history & beauty for generations to come.— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) July 27, 2020
CNN reports that a source advised the outlet that plans for the Rose Garden renovation were actually decided on before the coronavirus pandemic hit, but adds that the timing is not ideal. Kate Andersen Brower, a CNN contributor and author of Team of Five: The Presidents Club in the Age of Trump, offered her thoughts on the situation, likening it to Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake," moment. "I think it's important for her to point out that this is a restoration that has nothing to do with the Trump administration, but about making sure that the White House is a pristine and beautiful home for any president who occupies it," Brower said. "But, yes, the timing could not be worse as the country is being ravaged by Covid, and there is major economic and social upheaval."