Over the summer, my mom allowed me to create a small raised garden bed in the lot of my family’s health food store. It was my pet project and each time I harvested a new vegetable, it gave me so much joy. Gardening has always been an interest of mine, so when a friend asked whom would like to be escorted to the White House Gardens with her, I jumped on the opportunity. One of the perks to interning for the Executive Branch is being able to bypass the long lines that accompany White House East Wing tours and the garden tours that only occur  for a few weekends in the Fall and Spring.

After going through security, we were “set loose” on the south lawn of the White House with our handy guide book. We learned that the White House Grounds is the oldest continually maintained landscape in the United States and that since the 1870′s most Presidents have planted a commemorative tree while in office.

We strolled past the magnolia trees planted by President Andrew Jackson, gazed in awe at how close we were to the White House, and quietly watched as the important-looking men and woman crossed the pavement. Even though it was crowded, the sun was shining and it was such a beautiful fall day no one in our group minded being held up while families took turns taking pictures of one another.

Naturally, my favorite part of the tour was visiting the White House Kitchen Garden which the Obama family takes great pride in and shares much of the harvest with local food banks and guests. I was able to get a first hand look at the bee hive where Obama uses the honey for his homemade beer and see the beautifully lined lettuces.

It was a wonderful day and I am so grateful that I was able to have the experience.