PRESIDENTS IN THE GARDEN
Beginning with Ellen Wilson, many of the first ladies were involved in landscape design and garden design.
Perhaps her most enduring contribution to the presidential mansion itself, though ephemeral, was the creation of the White House Rose Garden. It was established in 1913, replacing the site of a previous colonial garden established by Edith Roosevelt (wife of Teddy Roosevelt) in 1902. She travelled back to Princeton, New Jersey with her landscaper to show him some of the work she had done there and intended to copy elements of at the White House. It included a fountain and marble statue of mythic Pan, one source claiming that Ellen Wilson chose the figurine of the boy to represent the son that she had always wished for. Although Ellen Wilson’s Rose Garden landscape design did not endure through the generations to the present-day landscape design, it was placed in the same spot, outside the West Wing and thus established the tradition. She also created a garden design for the area flanking the east colonnade, at the site of the present-day Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, installing a lily pond stocked with goldfish.