Fall is beautiful here in the Washington DC area, so to celebrate the season, we decided to go on two fall garden tours.  Last weekend a couple of friends invited us to join them on a White House Fall Garden Tour.  The White House grounds are only opened to the public twice a year for tours, and the timed tickets are free.

The line can be quite long – here we are waiting patiently to be allowed onto the grounds.  You can just see a glimpse of the White House behind us in this picture:

Once we got through the security check, metal detectors, etc, we were given a booklet that explains the various gardens, trees, and areas of interest.

The tour was self-guided, and we were able to walk close to the back of the White House, around the large South lawn, and down by Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden.

A view of the back of the White House from the South Lawn:

Pictures along the way describe items of interest as you walk along:

The Rose Garden:

The Eisenhower Executive Office Building located next to the West Wing.  This building houses a majority of offices for White House staff:

A view of the Washington Monument from the South Lawn:

When they heard we were on the grounds, President Obama and Bo came out to play some touch football with us:

Just kidding – this is actually a closeup of one of the pictures displayed throughout the grounds.

Here is the beehive.  The bees produce about 175 pounds of honey a year, some of which is used in the White House honey ale.

And the most popular part of the tour – Michelle’s Kitchen Garden.  Obviously, a large staff keeps the plants weed-free.  And we were told that the sharpshooters on top of the roof were NOT used to control the squirrel population.

One bed in the garden is named for Thomas Jefferson.  The seeds in this area are descended from those used by Jefferson at his Monticello home.  This is an artichoke from the Jefferson bed:

Many of the vegetables have identification markers hand-painted on slate:

This saying is displayed in the corner of the Jefferson area of the garden:

“…the failure of one thing
repaired by the success of
another, and instead of
one harvest, a continued one
thoughout the year.”
~Thomas Jefferson

We really enjoyed this opportunity to spend a beautiful Fall day strolling around the White House grounds and gardens.

Yesterday, on yet another perfect Fall day, we took a tour of some beautiful Old Town Alexandria gardens.  Check back soon to see pictures from that tour.