Edith Carrow Roosevelt, who had established her "Colonial Garden" on the site of the present Rose Garden, oversaw a similar but less formal planting on the east side, the site of the present Jacqueline Kennedy Garden. The origins of the Garden's present form initially began in 1913 with First Lady Ellen Louise Axson Wilson, at the time taking to calling it the East Garden, which saw Mrs. Wilson's design featuring a modest central lily pond. However, this work on the Garden was not completed in full until after the First Lady had already died in 1914, ultimately resulting in an area with a size of some 36 by 19 meters (118x62 feet).
Unfortunately, in the nearly half a century which followed, the grounds to the White House had fallen rather considerably into disrepair by the time of the Kennedy administration first came to office. The ill kempt state of the gardens thusly drew the focus of then-First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who eventually came to work with Rachel Lambert Mellon and Perry Wheeler on the redesign and replanting of the entire Rose and East Gardens. By the time of President Kennedy's tragic assassination in 1963 the Rose Garden had been finished to completion, although similar such revitalization on the East Garden was still a work in progress. To further honor Jacqueline Kennedy's contributions to the White House and its grounds, her immediate successor, First Lady Lady Bird Johnson, came to rename the East Garden as the "Jacqueline Kennedy Garden" during a ceremony on 22 April 1965.
Rachel Lambert Mellon created a space with a more defined central lawn, bordered by flower beds planted in a French style, but largely using American botanical specimens. Though more formal than the previous East Garden, the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden pays tribute to Beatrix Farrand's work in its use of a more organic structure, planting masses of the same plants in drifts, and use of foliage plants like ornamental grasses and caladiums.
The present garden follows a layout established by Mellon. Each flower bed is planted with a series of Littleleaf lindens and Kennedy saucer magnolias bordered by low hedges of boxwood and American Holly. The outer edge of the flower bed facing the central lawn are edged with boxwood. Perennial flowering plants include delphinium, hollyhock, lavender, and roses. Many seasonal flowers are interspersed to add nearly year round color. Spring blooming bulbs planted in the rose garden include jonquil, daffodil, fritillaria, grape hyacinth, tulips, chionodoxa and squill. Summer blooming annuals change yearly. In the fall chrysanthemum and flowering kale bring color until early winter.
Like the Rose Garden, the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden is used for events. The president uses the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden for awards ceremonies. Both Lady Bird Johnson and Pat Nixon favored use of the garden for parties and teas. First Lady Hillary Clinton exhibited contemporary sculpture in the garden.
Media related to Jacqueline Kennedy Garden at Wikimedia Commons