Red, White & Blooming at the White House
In mid-April, some friends with an extra ticket to the White House Spring Garden Tour asked if I’d like to join them. I was thrilled – I’ve never been on the White House grounds before, Congress had just come to its senses (well, at least partially) and averted a government shut-down, and I was longing for a jolt of spring. I had no idea how much we’d get to see but I chose my Nikon 24-120mm f/4 lens for the D300 and we headed downtown.
The White House Grounds (according to our brochure) are “the oldest continually maintained landscape in the United States” and are open to the public twice a year, for Spring and Fall Garden Tours. Over the years, the grounds have been “enhanced” by a series of landscape architects “to seem idealistically natural” (again the brochure). I can’t say that everything I saw quite fit with that concept (for example, on a large hill in the center of the South Lawn I saw a group of massive Camellia japonicas in bloom – beautiful, but hardly “natural” looking). Here and there, usually on the periphery of the more formal areas, however, were stands of trees in bloom or leafing out that looked more like a woodland grove if you averted your eyes from the buildings behind them.
The tour sent us through paths along the South Lawn, and up towards the South Portico, where on the porch a military band was serenading the crowds. I was more entranced by the neatly clipped wisteria growing up the side of the Portico and along its beautiful ornate iron railings.
Moving away from the South Portico, we caught glimpses of the Rose Garden and the Oval Office as we headed down for a glimpse of the Kitchen Garden and the views around the central fountain that faces E Street N.W. The Kitchen Garden was neatly planted (and mulched) with lots of lettuces and herbs – cool weather crops very appropriate for the kind of temperatures we’ve been having.
The magnolias, most of which were still at peak bloom, were probably my favorite trees (along with a number of huge, magnificent dissected Japanese maples just leafing out). Here’s a favorite shot of one next to some more formal plantings near the fountain.Explore posts in the same categories: landscape, photography, Travel comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.