Last week, Apartment Therapy traveled to Washington, D.C. for a visit to the most American home there is: The White House. And, while the interiors (and the new china) were absolutely, undeniably gorgeous, I felt that what was happening outside was just as smart, special and important to how many of us envision modern life at home. I'm talking about First Lady Michelle Obama's vegetable and pollinator gardens and the beehive that are located on the South Lawn. Here's my photo tour, including a list of pollinator-friendly plants and the complete spring planting plan...
The vegetable garden (also known as the kitchen garden) was started by Mrs. Obama and was the first of its kind on White House grounds since the victory garden grown during the Roosevelt administration.
Filled with healthy plants and in real, regular use for both food production and teaching, the raised bed garden provides sustenance for the White House and inspiration for all Americans to get growing and add healthy foods to their routine.
Last year, a beehive (a plan championed and maintained by the White House pastry chef Susan Morrison) was installed and, if the amount of bees I saw on the day that I visited is any indication, it's a booming success.
This spring, a brand new section to the east of the existing garden was added to call attention to the very serious plight of bees and other insects and birds beneficial to our food chain, called pollinators. The Pollinator Garden is filled with plants that are appealing to and provide a habitat for bees, wasps, beetles, birds, butterflies and moths.
To help others start their own pollinator gardens, the White House partnered with Burpee to provide a million (!) seed packets for pollinator-friendly plants free of charge to gardeners this summer. The first round of seed packets were given out at the White House Easter Egg Hunt and the balance will be distributed at National Parks.
If you are interested in adding pollinator-friendly plants to your garden, here is a list of what is included in the White House/Burpee seed collection:
- Yellow Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
- Blue Perrennial Lupine (Lupinus perennis)
- Mixed Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)
- Mixed Zinnea (Zinnia elegans)
- Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
- Scarlet Flax (Linum grandiflorum rubrum)
- Yellow Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
- White Annual Baby’s Breath (Gypsophila elegans)
- Orange California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
- Blue Lacy Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia)
- Red Annual Gaillardia (Gaillardia pulchella)
- Red & Yellow Prairie Cone Flower (Ratibida columnifera)
- Blue Flax (Linum perenne)
- Orange Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
- Rose Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnate)
- Yellow Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
- Yellow and Red Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria)
- Mixed Blue Larkspur (Delphinium consolida)
- White Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
- Red Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
- Blue New England Astor (Aster novae-angliae)
And, finally, here is the early spring planting plan for the White House kitchen garden if you are interested in adding some presidential plants to your own garden this year: