White House Gardens

Twice a year, the White House opens the gardens to the public specifically as a “garden tour”, as opposed to the Easter Egg Roll and any other similar events. These are just a few pictures from the Spring 2010 tour, generally showing the Obama White House and elements that are not as often seen in the major photoshoots.

I thought this was close - we got closer.

The very big swath of lawn down to the fountain. The President has a very big lawn.

There is no zoom - we were close enough to examine the lawn furniture on the second floor balcony.

And the President must have a really nice view from that second floor balcony - straight down to the Jefferson Memorial.

Let’s see that again without cutting off the Washington Monument.

Behind the trees behind my head are the highrises of Rosslyn, across the Potomac in Arlington, where the height restrictions are based on planes landing at National Airport rather than the height of the Washington Monument. A hint of the skyline is visible between the two big trees.

And turning around, we are so very close that we can get either the White House or my body in the frame.

The presidential putting green. It is literally just randomly there, across a sidewalk from the West Wing. It isn’t centred in front of anything, it isn’t surrounded by anything except the lawn, it’s just there without even a pin in the hole.

The West Wing and Oval Office. There was a light on inside sort of visible, but no real signs of life at 1 pm on a Sunday.

Malia and Sasha’s awesome swingset. Yes, the thing really is bloody huge and I’m jealous. Rock wall, rope wall, monkey bars, slide, cover over the upper platform, and I want to swing on that bouncy ball swing. And you know they installed that thing in concrete for the best stability. I haven’t cared about a swingset in twenty years and I’m still jealous.

Moving along down the path, a gorgeous view of the White House.

Therefore, more picture taking. Since this time, one can fit both me and the White House into the frame.

Radishes and spinach in Michelle’s kitchen garden.

A decent view of the whole thing. It’s a decent size and if the soil were better would probably have some good yields as I’m sure there isn’t a deer problem in a place guarded by snipers.

To support the garden, there’s also a small beehive - probably little honey yield, but I suspect they’re there for pollenation and to raise awareness of bees and colony collapse.

The presidential basketball hoop in storage behind the tennis court. If you were in any doubt as to whom this basketball hoop belonged.

Pretty white flowers by the tennis court.

The tennis court itself - note in yellow where Barack had them put in the basketball half-court markings.

More pretty flowers by the tennis court. The path to the tennis court continues on to the Children’s Garden.

The Children’s Garden is a secluded area with a koi pond and the path is marked with bronze casts of the hands (and sometimes feet) of the children and grandchildren of White House inhabitants. There are a whole slew of Bush kids, for obvious reasons, and a Carter grandson, but no Chelsea Clinton and neither of the Obama girls. In other words, no one really worth taking a picture of.

But there are goldfish!

The grounds and building are somehow both really big and also really small. The grounds have been nicely divided up into manageable clusters, little private nooks that must make it somewhat more comfortable to live in such a public place. I did not take pictures of any of the security guards with machine guns, but they were certainly there. It’s impossible to forget just what the stakes are for living here. But despite the fact that I look like I’m freezing (yes, it’s April but the temps were in the high 50s), it was a beautiful day, and it was fascinating to actually get inside the fence for once.