Whatever will the first lady do now that her pretty White House garden has been destroyed due to the lack of gardening staff furloughed during the shutdown?
What she clearly hasn’t done is get out there and tend to the overgrown garden herself.
And don’t look for any patriots to come mow the grass or help her weed and pick vegetables: Sequestration closed the people’s house to the people.
The Obama Foodorama blog reported on the “dramatic impact” the partial government shutdown has had on Michelle Obama’s Kitchen Garden.
“Weeds are springing up everywhere, and the vegetables that have already fallen off the vines are now mouldering on the ground,” the article said.
“The vegetables filling the 1,500 square-foot plot are now rotting away on the vines and in the boxed beds, thanks to the mandate for “minimal maintenance” placed on the skeletal crew of National Park Service gardeners who remain on duty at 1600 Penn.”
And those gardeners who do remain on staff aren’t even allowed to pick ripe fruit and vegetables; they are only allowed to water and remove trash.
But “weeds and fallen leaves don’t qualify as ‘trash,’ so the gardeners are not allowed to destroy garden invaders, nor are they allowed to rake,” according to the blog.
The report continued:
Since starting her garden in 2009, each October* Mrs. Obama has invited school children to join her for an autumn harvest party. But those plans are on hold for the remainder of the shutdown, cancelled like the rest of the First Lady’s public events. That includes those for Let’s Move!: Executive Director Sam Kass is on furlough.
Until the Congressional showdown ends, there will be no happy little helpers joining Mrs. Obama to pluck the artichoke, okra, sweet potatoes, lettuces, squash, tomatoes, peppers, kale, carrots, rhutabaga, garlic, cabbage, exotic herbs, Swiss chard, collard and mustard greens, spinach, garlic, turnips, jalapeno and chili peppers that are now growing amok.
Also now cancelled are the weekly Kitchen Garden weeding sessions held each Tuesday morning, led by Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses. He’s also on furlough, as are many of the volunteers who help weed, selected from among the ranks of White House staff and other government agencies.
Loving life these days in the untended garden are the squirrels that are “now kids in a candy store, gorging themselves,” the blog said.
But, well, isn’t that what squirrels do in the fall?