Monday, October 22, 2012

White House fall garden tour

I can't believe I'm writing this, but I have exciting news to share. Last week, I was invited to attend the White House fall garden tour for social media!  I learned about the opportunity on Twitter (which I'm on everyday for work).  I applied and was accepted to join the tour of the White House kitchen and rose gardens with 40 other social meeting guests.

I arrived at the White House at 7:30 a.m. to go through security.  The sun still wasn't up yet, and it started pouring rain when I got to the gate.  I didn't bring an umbrella, because I wasn't sure it was allowed through security.  So I ended up walking around the White House gardens with wet hair and clothes the entire time!  I'm still embarrassed about it, but sometimes you just need to laugh and get over it.

After waiting 40 minutes outside (in the rain), they finally let us into the White House gardens.  Check out my favorite photos from the day.

Guests were invited to take photos and "tweet" as they walked through the White House gardens.

My primary motivation for signing up for the White House tour was to see the famous kitchen garden.  I've been a huge fan of the White House kitchen garden from the beginning.  I've even downloaded the garden plan to see if I could replicate it at home.  I was really excited to see the famous White House beehive! We learned from the White House pastry chef that the bees produced 175 pounds of honey last year.  The honey is used as a natural sweetener in desserts at the White House, as well as in the famous White House beer.

I was a little disappointed that we weren't allowed to walk through the kitchen garden; they kept us roped off just a few feet away.  I didn't get the greatest photos, because I was stuck behind the other photographers who got there first. But as you can see in the photos, the White House kitchen garden is planted in raised garden beds. The fall crops include carrots, kale, a few peppers and tomatoes (there hasn't been a hard freeze in D.C. yet). There are beautiful hyacinth beans climbing up posts, and there's even a papaya tree planted in a pot, just to see how it grows.  The produce is served at White House dinners, including the Obama's family meals, and the extras are given to a local food pantry.

Not sure if you can tell, but the purple and green lettuces are planted in a checkerboard style in the back.  We learned that the National Park Service tends the White House gardens, and there's someone out in the kitchen garden everyday, pulling weeds and checking for insects.  I wish I had that kind of help in my little backyard garden!

We were quickly "shooed" out of the kitchen garden so we could visit the Rose Garden before the public tours.  We saw the White House swing set and putting green.

We got so close to the Oval Office, we could look through the windows!

And then finally, we visited the famous White House rose garden.

We only got to take a few photos before we were told to leave the garden immediately.  We heard a rumor the President Obama would make an appearance, so we waited around for a few minutes just outside the edges of the Rose Garden.  About 10 minutes later, I heard a yell from the gathering crowd, and I looked up and saw the president and his dog, Bo, walking through the Rose Garden!  I was too far back in the crowd to get a decent photo, but I'll have that memory etched into my mind forever!

It was an amazing day, and I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to share it all with you.  Are you a fan of the White House Kitchen Garden?  I think no matter what your politics are, it's still a great project to support healthy eating among American families, especially kids.


  1. What an opportunity! I admire Michelle Obama and her mission to improve the healthy eating habits of children throughout the country. I've looked at the diagrams of the White House Garden, but I will have to look at them again. The checkerboard lettuce sounds like a plan to me for next year. Good job!

  2. What an awesome opportunity! I would have loved to do that also.


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