White House Garden Tour

Mrs. Wheaton and I had a garden tour scheduled for Saturday morning after the Friday evening Awards Banquet.  We were surprised with a Garden Tour on Friday with all of the NDP’s!  The rain stopped and we got to walk on the beautiful White House south lawn!  First, we had to line up in our respective tour lines.  Cameras are allowed on the grounds, but not in the White House interior.  Just like every building you enter in Washington DC, bags are checked and you have security checks to go through.  The security was not as tight visiting the grounds as it was to enter the White House interior.  First Lady Pat Nixon, sponsored White House ground tours for the public for the first time.  Since that time, about four days a year, the public is welcome to tour.  Many more people are allowed on to the grounds during this event than in the interior tours.  Throughout the day, different bands play on the grounds to provide a festive atmosphere.  The grounds are well-manicured.  As you travel through the grounds, you find pictures of president’s digging the earth for the trees that they planted.  There are trees planted on the ground from when Andrew Jackson was president.  The story is that he planted beautiful magnolia’s on the ground in honor of his wife Rachel who died before his inauguration   The magnolia’s reminded him of the beautiful dress she had made for the special event.  The magnolia’s are huge and are supported with huge poles and wiring.  They have been growing on the grounds for a long time!  This side of the White House is rarely seen, because it has the Truman balcony off the back where the President and his family can enjoy some respite and fresh air.  The view is wonderful and you have the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial as part of your view!  Very majestic.  There are two beautiful gardens that flank the east wing and the west wing.  The main White House building still stands, but additions have been built to house offices and to allow for larger families living in the  White House.  A couple of special additions to the grounds that the Obama’s have added are a playground for the children and First Lady Obama’s White House garden.  This is the first families back yard, so it is the place where they get to play!  Enjoy the gallery of pictures we took on our tour!

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