The newly renovated White House Rose Garden is scheduled to be unveiled on Thursday, just days before the Republican National Convention, a source with knowledge of the planning told CNN.
The iconic White House garden has been under construction since late last month, when first lady Melania Trump announced she was spearheading an overhaul to include updates to the technological elements of the space, as well as the redesign of the plantings and the placement of new limestone walkways.
CNN previously reported that the Rose Garden is on the list of spots the first lady is considering to use as the backdrop for her RNC speech. President Donald Trump is also likely to give his address from the White House, which he indicated this week is his preferred location. The convention begins August 24. A spokesperson for the White House had no comment on the Rose Garden reveal date.
Since construction began, the Rose Garden has been out of sight from White House staff and press, with the area around the garden covered in a tented walkway, complete with lights and air conditioning, along the West Wing of the White House and the Colonnade.
The Rose Garden had not been given a comprehensive refresh since it was first unveiled in 1962 under President John F. Kennedy, who commissioned the design and implementation.
Kennedy tapped philanthropist and amateur horticulturalist Rachel “Bunny” Mellon to oversee the project, after Kennedy was inspired to create an outdoor space at the White House worthy of the ceremonial and symbolic events concurrent with American politics.
Mellon wanted the trees and flowers to literally “frame” the green of the lawn, which she made large enough to accommodate hundreds of guests.
Prior to the renovation, and in the era of Covid-19, Trump had frequently used the Rose Garden for announcements and news conferences. Part of the updated design includes modern features for audio and visual capabilities, as well as lighting and access for television cameras; wires and outlets for electric needs will be hidden beneath the new limestone border, according to notes in the 200-page report on the design compiled by the Committee for the Preservation of the White House Subcommittee for Gardens and Grounds. The renovation of the White House Rose Garden is funded entirely by private donations solicited by the Trust for the National Mall, a nonprofit organization which serves to assist the National Park Service with the upkeep and restoration of several Washington, DC, landmarks.