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Jul 24, 2023 Washington, D.C. —
The White House Historical Association released a new episode of The White House 1600 Sessions podcast today featuring a conversation with Thomas Lloyd, author and member of the Association’s National Council, about his book “Garden Secrets of Bunny Mellon.” In the episode, Stewart McLaurin, president of the Association, travels to the beloved home of Rachel Lambert “Bunny” Mellon, philanthropist, stylemaker and renowned gardener, to meet with Lloyd, Mrs. Mellon’s grandson, to talk about her most famous design— refurbishing the White House Rose Garden.
“There had been iterations of a rose garden, but the Bunny Mellon Rose Garden was iconic and has lasted for many years,” said McLaurin. “You could spend hours in her gardens and keep discovering something new and exciting. And that’s why President John F. Kennedy selected her to design an American garden for the White House.”
During the episode, McLaurin and Lloyd walk through Mrs. Mellon’s gardens to see what helped inspire her design of the Rose Garden, and get a rare look at the memory book handcrafted by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy as a gift for her close friend Mrs. Mellon to commemorate the White House project.
Mrs. Mellon and her husband were friends with the Kennedys long before the presidency. They all traveled in affluent circles and had a shared affinity for French style and design. So, when President Kennedy took office, he asked Mrs. Mellon to reinvent the White House Garden into one that would rival the gardens of European palaces. Mrs. Mellon’s Rose Garden design came to life in 1962.
“She was a completely untrained horticulturalist as many would have called her at the time,” said Lloyd. “Yet she was able to put together this beautiful rendering of a space that did everything he asked, which ultimately served as a place for him to host and reflect as a platform on all the views of what was going on at the time of the White House.”
This episode is also available on the Association’s YouTube channel here.
The White House 1600 Sessions is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.
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The White House 1600 Sessions
White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin is the host of “The White House 1600 Sessions,” the Association’s official audio and video podcast devoted to exploring the history, cultural impact, untold stories, and personal accounts of America’s most iconic residence and highest office.
About the White House Historical Association
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the nonprofit, nonpartisan White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $115 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.
To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit WhiteHouseHistory.org.