Ever since 1961, when President Kennedy came up with the idea to design the Rose Garden at the west end of the White House, the garden has become an icon by itself.
Designed by the gardener Rachel Lambert Mellon, it has been home to a colorful selection of magnolias, cherry trees, roses, tulips, and other botanical beauties. Both harmonious and subtle, it has framed the view toward the Cabinet Room and the Oval Office and reflected every changing pattern of American history.
But on Saturday, the First Lady unveiled her Rose Garden remake that was meant to bring the space to its original roots. But the redesign received strong backlash on social media with people being far from impressed with the results. The internet dubbed Melania’s makeover “#RoseGardenMassacre,” comparing the result to a lifeless "parking lot." The hashtag is now trending and people have a lot to say about it.
After you're done reading this one, check out our new article on the gardener who stepped in to defend Melania's redesign.
The iconic Rose Garden came to being after President Kennedy and the first lady returned from a state visit to France. In the summer of 1961, they visited the gardener Rachel Lambert Mellon and invited her to bring the space back to life.
In a piece written for the White House Historical Association in the early 1980s, Mellon revealed that “Kennedy noted that the White House had no garden equal in quality or attractiveness to the gardens that he had seen and in which he had been entertained in Europe. There he had recognized the importance of gardens surrounding an official residence and their appeal to the sensibilities of all people.”
The garden was begun in the spring of 1962 and finished at the end of the same year. Most importantly, its creator said that “It was truly President Kennedy’s garden” and he always showed how much he cared about it.
That Melania Trump took on a task so clearly associated with the Kennedys doesn’t come as a surprise, since President Trump told Fox & Friends that “We have our own Jackie O. It’s called Melania, Melania T.”
Today, the flowers in the garden are largely pastels chosen according to the tastes of the first lady, including taller white roses, which were in honor of the first papal visit to the White House by Pope John Paul II in 1979. The most obvious change to the garden was the addition of a 3-foot-wide limestone walking path bordering the central lawn.
But after the first lady tweeted the first images from her renovation, the new Rose Garden received many mixed reactions.