Tag Archives: public gardens

Day Trip: Visit a Public Garden This Summer

Summer is the time for traveling, exploring, and spending time with family. Thinking of where to go? Consider public gardens and arboreta. Many of these are historic places as well, great for teaching your kids. On my website, pegplant.com, I list gardening books written specifically for the Washington DC metro area. Several of these books, copied and pasted below, are resources listing botanical, public, or historic gardens in east coast states. Check out these books from your local library and plan a day trip with the family. Enjoy your summer!

  • Maryland’s Public Gardens and Parks by Barbara Glickman, Schiffer Publishers, 2015
  • Capital Splendor: Parks and Gardens of Washington DC by Valerie Brown, Barbara Glickman Countryman Press, 2012
  • A Guide to Smithsonian Gardens by Carole Otteson, Smithsonian Books, 2011
  • Historic Virginia Gardens: Preservation Work of the Garden Club of Virginia by Margaret Page Bemiss, University of Virginia Press, 2009
  • Virginia’s Historic Homes and Gardens by Pat Blackley and Chuck Blackley, Voyageur Press, 2009
  • Garden Walks in the Southeast: Beautiful Gardens from Washington to the Gulf Coast by Marina Harrison, Lucy Rosenfeld, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2006
  • Garden Walks in the Mid-Atlantic States: Beautiful Gardens from New York to Washington DC by Marina Harrison, Lucy Rosenfeld, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2005
  • The American Horticultural Society Guide to American Public Gardens and Arboreta:  Gardens Across America, Volume 1, East of the Mississippi by Thomas S. Spencer and John J. Russell, Taylor Trade Publishing, 2005
  • A City of Gardens: Glorious Public Gardens In and Around the Nation’s Capital by Barbara Seeber, Capital Books, 2004
  • Barnes & Noble Complete Illustrated Guidebook to Washington, D.C.’s Public Parks and Gardens, published by Silver Lining Books, 2003
  • Complete Illustrated Guide to Washington DC’s Public Parks and Gardens by Richard Berenson, Silver Lining, 2003

Public Gardens and Demonstration Gardens in the Washington DC Metro Area

I have updated my list of public gardens and demonstration gardens in the Washington DC metro area, see tab with same name on my website, pegplant.com. Many of these places are perfect to take the kids and visiting friends and family to this summer.

Public gardens are living examples of which plant performs well in the area. Many public gardens have a reference library, gift shop, web site, and gardening hotline. Usually, public gardens host seminars, workshops, classes, events, and plant sales. They may publish their own books on plants for the area or distribute free handouts. Some have staff horticulturists who can identify plants or answer questions.

Demonstration gardens are a great way to learn what works in our area and how to manage our local issues, such as deer. The gardens are open to the public, every day, from dawn to dusk, free. Each county that has a Master Gardener program usually has at least one demonstration garden, managed by the volunteer Master Gardeners.

If you have suggestions for additions, feel free to send them to me by commenting on this post.

New U.S. Botanic Garden Exhibit in Washington DC: Flourish Inside and Out

 

Flourish- Inside and Out exhibit logo - U.S. Botanic GardenThe U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG) in Washington DC presents a new exhibit Flourish: Inside and Out from May 21 (this Saturday) through October 2, 2016. The indoor and outdoor exhibit, developed with consultation from Chicago Botanic Garden, showcases the proven human-health benefits of interacting with nature. Research has demonstrated that when people garden or otherwise spend time with nature, they experience increased productivity, better physical and mental health, healing, and improved test scores.

“Plants enrich our lives,” says Ari Novy, executive director of the U.S. Botanic Garden. “In addition to providing the food we eat, clothes we wear and air we breathe, they also have profound and subtle impacts on our heath. The act of gardening has positive physical and emotional impacts on our well-being. Research shows amazing benefits of simply talking a walk in planted areas, such as parks, gardens and natural landscapes. Even a window view of plants has been shown to decrease convalesce time in hospital patients. Through Flourish: Inside and Out, we invite visitors to immerse themselves in the healing world of plants while demonstrating how everyone can bring the power of plants into their lives.”

The East Gallery of the Conservatory will feature indoor vignettes showing how plants can bring the outdoors inside in various settings such as offices, homes, schools, and waiting rooms. Each section will feature ongoing programs such as Green Bronx Machine that is growing greens and other vegetables in classrooms and examples of tools and techniques for indoor plant care.

Outdoors, Flourish: Inside and Out will engage many senses – the front Terrace will feature plants to stimulate the senses of smell, touch, sound, and sight. For visual appeal even at a distance, colors will transition around the Conservatory in a rainbow of warm to cool colors.

The east Terrace beds will profile organizations that use horticulture and gardening in a therapeutic manner with diverse audiences including veterans, current- and formerly incarcerated youth and adults, and people with physical and intellectual disabilities.  These programs promote healthy lifestyles, supply horticultural therapy, provide horticultural job training, and offer gardening-based recreation. Programs profiled will include St. Coletta of Greater Washington, Melwood Horticulture Program, Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest, the Rikers Island GreenHouse program by the Horticultural Society of New York, and Denver Botanic GardensChatfield Farms.

Additionally, the exhibit will showcase accessible gardening with beds of varying heights and designs to enable people of all abilities to garden. Features will include beds and planters for standing, sitting, and wheelchair use and a tool shed featuring adaptive and ergonomic tools.

Throughout Flourish: Inside and Out, the USBG will offer programs, workshops, lectures, tours, and cooking demonstrations to showcase and provide training on gardening at home and ways plants and nature can enrich daily life. The USBG is also working with the National Park Service (NPS) to share how their Find Your Park program can help visitors connect with nature in national parks, as well as collaborating on veteran-related horticulture programs with the NPS American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial adjacent to the USBG. Visit www.USBG.gov/Flourish to learn more about the exhibit and associated programs.

Text and image courtesy of the USBG.

Books About Gardens and Gardening in Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC

I just updated my website’s Books page about gardens and gardening in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC, from the year 2000 to the present.  There are 35 books. Below is the updated text in the Books page.

The public library is a great resource–not only are the books free but if the branch does not have a particular title, they can get it for you from another branch or through interlibrary loan. Most libraries have gardening magazines; you can borrow past issues. The reference section has non-circulating gardening books that are great resources. Local bookstores have plant and gardening books and many have web sites for searching or ordering books. Don’t forget Amazon.com and check your phone book for the used bookstores. Many of the public gardens have non-lending libraries; some are open when the gardens are open, others are by appointment only.  Public gardens also have books for sale in their gift shops. Brookside Gardens and Green Spring Gardens have reading libraries. For extensive research, try the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Library, Abraham Lincoln Building, 10301 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD  20705; (301) 504-5755; http://www.nal.usda.gov.

Below are local books with the most recently published listed first through the year 2000:

All the Presidents’ Gardens: Madison’s Cabbages to Kennedy’s Roses: How the White House Grounds Have Grown with America by Marta McDowell, Timber Press, 2016

Mid-Atlantic Gardeners Handbook: Your Complete Guide: Select, Plan, Plant, Maintain, Problem Solve by Katie Elzer-Peters, Cool Springs Press, 2016

Gardens of Georgetown: Exploring Urban Treasures, text by Edith Nalle Schafer and photos by Jenny Gorman, Georgetown Garden Club, 2015

Maryland’s Public Gardens and Parks by Barbara Glickman, Schiffer Publishers, 2015

Mid-Atlantic Month-by-Month Gardening: What to Do Each Month to Have a Beautiful Garden All Year by George Weigel, Cool Springs Press, 2015

Chesapeake Gardening and Landscaping: The Essential Green Guide by Barbara W. Ellis; photographs by Neil Soderstrom, University of North Carolina Press in association with the Adkins Arboretum, 2015

Maymont: An American Estate (Richmond, VA) by Dale Cyrus Wheary, Scala Arts Publishers in association with the Maymont Foundation, 2015

Mid-Atlantic: Getting Started Garden Guide: Grow the Best Flowers, Shrubs, Trees, Vines and Groundcovers by Andre Viette, Mark Viette, and Jacqueline Heriteau, Cool Springs Press, 2015

The General in the Garden: George Washington’s Landscape at Mt. Vernon by Susan P. Schoelwer, editor, Mt. Vernon Ladies’ Association, 2015

Native Plants for Northern Virginia by the Virginia Native Plant Society, available via the Society, http://www.vnps.org, 2015

Great Perennial Plants, Vines, and Bulbs Guide for the Mid-Atlantic Garden by Donna Williamson, self-published, electronic and available via Amazon, 2014

The Mid-Atlantic Garden: An Insider’s Guide to a Successful Lower Maintenance Garden by Donna Williamson, self-published, electronic and available via Amazon, 2014

Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello by Peter J. Hatch, Yale University Press, 2014

Take Our Advice: A Handbook for Gardening in Northern Virginia by Margaret Fisher, Student Peace Awards of Fairfax, 2014

The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast by Ira Wallace, Timber Press, 2013

Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Gardening: Plant, Grow, and Harvest the Best Edibles: DE, MD, PA, VA, DC, and WV by Katie Elzer-Peters, Cool Springs Press, 2013

Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way: 18th Century Methods for Today’s Organic Gardeners by Wesley Greene, Rodale Press, 2012

American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America by Michelle Obama, Crown Publishing Group, 2012

Capital Splendor: Parks and Gardens of Washington DC by Valerie Brown, Barbara Glickman Countryman Press, 2012

A Guide to Smithsonian Gardens by Carole Otteson, Smithsonian Books, 2011

Historic Virginia Gardens: Preservation Work of the Garden Club of Virginia by Margaret Page Bemiss, University of Virginia Press, 2009

Virginia’s Historic Homes and Gardens by Pat Blackley and Chuck Blackley, Voyageur Press, 2009

The Virginia’s Garden Companion: An Insider Guide to Low Maintenance Gardening in Virginia by Donna Williamson, Morris Book Publishing, 2008

Garden Walks in the Southeast: Beautiful Gardens from Washington to the Gulf Coast by Marina Harrison, Lucy Rosenfeld, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2006

Garden Walks in the Mid-Atlantic States: Beautiful Gardens from New York to Washington DC by Marina Harrison, Lucy Rosenfeld, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2005

The American Horticultural Society Guide to American Public Gardens and Arboreta:  Gardens Across America, Volume 1, East of the Mississippi by Thomas S. Spencer and John J. Russell, Taylor Trade Publishing, 2005

A City of Gardens: Glorious Public Gardens In and Around the Nation’s Capital by Barbara Seeber, Capital Books, 2004

Month by Month Gardening in the Mid-Atlantic by André and Mark Viette and Jacqueline Hériteau, Cool Springs Press, 2004

Selecting, Growing and Combining Outstanding Perennials: Mid-Atlantic and New England Edition by Teri Dunn, André Viette, Mark Viette, Jacqueline Hériteau, Cool Springs Press, 2003

Mid-Atlantic Gardener’s Guide by André and Mark Viette and Jacqueline Hériteau, Cool Springs Press, 2003

Barnes & Noble Complete Illustrated Guidebook to Washington, D.C.’s Public Parks and Gardens, published by Silver Lining Books, 2003

Complete Illustrated Guide to Washington DC’s Public Parks and Gardens by Richard Berenson, Silver Lining, 2003

The Virginia Fruit and Vegetable Book by Felder Rushing and Walter Reeves, Cool Springs Press, 2002

Virginia Gardeners Guide by Jacqueline Heriteau, Cool Springs Press, 2001

The New York/Mid-Atlantic Gardener’s Book of Lists by Bonnie Lee Appleton, Cooper Square Press, 2001

 

Discovering the Chocolate Bean at the U.S. Botanic Garden

cacao (5)I was downtown last week for a meeting and took time to wander around the U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG). I took many photos of which I will share later but wanted to mention one of the many important reasons why people should support their public gardens and conservatories. I was in the building, resting on a bench opposite the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao) — yes, the chocolate tree. The cacao tree is a small tropical tree with large, ovoid, orange/yellow fruit, similar to papayas.

cacaoI was admiring the tree as any chocolate lover would when Dr. Susan Pell, Science and Public Program Manager at USBG, began a short talk about the tree to visitors in the area. Using her pruners, she sliced open one of the fruit, called a pod, stating that “each pod has about 20 to 60 seeds.” However, the opened pod revealed a white pulpy mass – no seed in sight. She then put a segment of the pulp in her mouth to chew and remove the pulp so she could show us the enclosed seed in her hand. I asked if one could eat the seed but she said it would be too bitter. cacao (3)The seed, also called a bean, is high in fat, also known as cocoa butter. To decrease the bitterness, the seeds are fermented, causing the seed color to change from purple to brown (hence bean). In factories, the beans are toasted and ground until they become liquid (from the high fat content). From then, the liquid is used to make various forms of chocolate in a more solid state. In all my years of eating chocolate, this was the first time I saw the inside of a cacao pod and a bean so it was a fascinating, serendipitous experience that could have only happened at a public conservatory. In fact, the only way I could have seen the pods is by staff working at the conservatory because the small flowers, which bloom directly on the trunk, are pollinated by a type of fly that does not exist within the glass. Staff have to hand pollinate the cacao tree to ensure fruit. Not only was I fascinated but all the other people around Dr. Pell were equally interested and we learned more about the origins of chocolate that day. Support your local public gardens and conservatories! cacao (6)