Melania Trump visits Japanese garden in first solo event as first lady

Trump visited site with Japan's Akie Abe
Melania Trump visits Japanese garden in first solo event as first lady
Posted at 7:58 AM, Feb 11, 2017

DELRAY BEACH, Florida (CNN) -- First Lady Melania Trump is committed to continuing the White House garden tradition, showcasing her interest in a Saturday morning visit to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Garden with Akie Abe, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"The First Lady has a deep personal commitment to her role as caretaker and nurturer, beginning with her family. She believes there is a connection between a child's mind and places of calm and beauty to be used as a tool for us all. 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.

Melania Trump and Akie Abe are touring the Delray Beach museum and its six Japanese-inspired gardens, while President Donald Trump and the Japanese prime minister are slated to play golf at Trump's club in Jupiter.

In addition to aides and secret service, the two are guided by Morikami's Bonnie White LeMay and Tamara Joy, describing the sights to them, according to pool reports.

"Both our countries histories and cultures are steeped in the nurture and nature of gardening," Melania Trump said in a statement. "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. I hope that together Mrs. Abe and I can continue to inspire our youth to enjoy the beauty around them and to restore their minds in the peacefulness of their surroundings."

Trump will present Abe with the gift of a a porcelain rose, the "Rose in Bloom," from Ukrainian-born American artist Vladimir Kanevsky.

The visit marks Trump's first solo public appearance as first lady. She'll host Abe for a private lunch later in the day at Mar-a-Lago.