It was less than a year ago that Michelle Obama referred to it as “her baby.”
She wasn’t talking about her youngest daughter, Sasha, or the Obama’s pet dog Bo, but something undoubtedly dear to her during her time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: the White House vegetable garden.
Her comments were made during her eighth and final spring planting, but “hopefully,” she added, “this will not be the last” one ever.
First lady Melania Trump confirmed that although the garden’s founder may have moved away, her beloved garden lives on. A spokeswoman for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“As a mother and as the First Lady of this country, Mrs. Trump is committed to the preservation and continuation of the White House Gardens, specifically the First Lady’s Kitchen Garden and the Rose Garden,” Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, senior adviser to the first lady, said in a statement to CNN.
The White House vegetable garden was supposedly the first of its kind since Eleanor Roosevelt’s in 1943, The Washington Post’s Dan Zak reported in April.
The garden in the past has offered a varied menu that included “Churchill” brussels sprouts and “Kentucky colonel” spearmint, as well as garlic and fennel and shallots and endive. The garden was, at last count, 1,700 square feet in size, but for the past eight years it has occupied a much larger space symbolically, as Michelle Obama used her platform to fight childhood obesity and improve America’s eating habits.
Throughout that fight, health advocates said, the garden was a physical reminder of Obama’s message.
“The vegetables wind up in dinners for the first family,” Zak noted. “Almost 500 pounds of them have been shipped to homeless shelters. In 2010, they ripened into Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, for which the first lady danced with Elmo and Jimmy Fallon in order to get kids off the couch and to the crisper. She has also nudged corporations to trim salt, sugar and fat from food products.”
The garden - located on the corner of the South Lawn - more than doubled in area during the Obama presidency. The garden also includes an apiary and a pollinator garden for bees and other insects. A spokesman for Hillary Clinton told The Post that she intended to keep the garden if she were elected president, but Trump had not signaled whether the garden would survive until last week.
CNN reported that Trump toured the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida with Akie Abe, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The visit gave the first lady - striking a Michelle Obama-esque tone - a chance to tout the health benefits and physical beauty that can be derived from a well-kept garden.
“Both our countries’ histories and cultures are steeped in the nurture and nature of gardening,” Trump said in a statement, according to CNN. “Having knowledge of different cultures and customs is a wonderful way to learn and to explore. Gardening teaches us the fundamentals in care and the evolution of living things, all while inspiring us to nurture our minds and to relax and strengthen our bodies.”