Tag Archives: U.S. Botanic Garden

U.S. Botanic Garden’s Holiday Exhibit Features Iconic Roadside Attractions

With school closed for the holidays, the kids at home and the in-laws in town, what is the perfect indoor activity for all of you to enjoy? Take a trip downtown to U.S. Botanic Garden. Their holiday exhibit, Season’s Greenings: Roadside Attractions, will open Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2017, and run through January 1, 2018. This year, the holiday show will feature roadside attractions. Model trains will wind around plant-based recreations of iconic American sights such as Texas’ Cadillac Ranch, Colorado’s hot-dog-shaped Coney Island Hot Dog Stand, South Dakota’s Corn Palace, and New Jersey’s Lucy the Elephant. All of these will be made from plants and other natural materials.

Plus there will be the signature Washington DC landmarks made from plant materials including the U.S. Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The U.S. Botanic Garden will be decorated for the season with wreaths, garlands, and more than 30 varieties of poinsettias — the perfect place for holiday family photos! The U.S. Botanic Garden is open to the public, free of charge, every day of the year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Tuesdays and Thursdays in December, the Conservatory will be open until 8 p.m. for live seasonal music concerts and after-dark holiday exhibit viewing.

The Conservatory is located at 100 Maryland Ave. SW, on the southwest side of the U.S. Capitol. Visitors are encouraged to use public transportation. More information is available at www.USBG.gov/SeasonsGreenings

School’s Out: Visit the Newly Renovated Children’s Garden at U.S. Botanic Garden

Now that school is out, take your kids to the newly renovated Children’s Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington DC. The Children’s Garden is in an open air space in the center of the glass greenhouses. Several new structures have been installed including a large metal platform discovery station with steps for children to walk up to a covered lookout station. As they ascend the platforms, they will see interactive panels filled with botanical materials.

The garden also has a new digging area for children to use child-sized tools and to learn about composting. There are raised beds for them to plant and water at their level. There is a series of fabric and metal leaf shapes at varying heights to provide shade and interest and dandelion metal sculptures with steel “seeds” that sway in the breeze. New child-size seats resemble oversize watering cans and toadstools. A new metal arbor has replaced the old vine tunnel, soon to be covered with kiwi vines.

The U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG) is open to the public free of charge every day of the year from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The Children’s Garden, which is actually outside, is open seasonally, usually May to October. The USBG has many events for children and adults every month, including seasonal displays. Check out their website for activities at http://www.usbg.gov.

Photos are courtesy of the USBG

Celebrate National Public Gardens Day on Friday, May 12

This Friday is National Public Gardens Day, an annual tradition of celebrating public gardens on the Friday preceding Mother’s Day weekend. Communities nationwide are invited to explore the diverse beauty of their local green spaces and to take advantage of the conservation, education and environmental preservation resources that public gardens provide.

The American Public Garden Association (APGA) manages a database of APGA-member gardens participating in National Public Gardens Day. The APGA is the leading professional organization for the field of public horticulture serving public gardens. People can view the database to see which public gardens are having celebrations in their area but be advised that this is a self-reporting tool, it is up to the members to inform APGA of their plans to provide discounts, promotions, demonstrations, and other great celebratory incentives to visitors. There also are non APGA member gardens that celebrate National Public Garden Day as well so it is best to call your local public garden or arboretum to see if they have planned any special activities.

In the Greater Washington DC area, the following APGA member gardens have special activities for Friday, as posted in the database:

Maryland

Adkins Arboretum

Historic London Town and Gardens

Virginia

James Madison’s Montpelier

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

Green Spring Gardens is an APGA member but you will find their activities on their own website at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring

Washington DC

U.S. Botanic Garden

Smithsonian Gardens

Tudor Place Historic House and Garden

U.S. Botanic Garden’s New Exhibit: You Can Grow It!

img_4450Check out the U.S. Botanic Garden’s new exhibit — You Can Grow It! From February 18 through October 15, you can see tips and answers to some of the questions people ask most frequently about caring for plants in their own homes and gardens, including how to choose the best plant for their space and care abilities. The exhibit will provide answers to common issues about lighting, watering, fertilizing, and pests, as well as how to rescue a plant that experiences problems. If you are unsure of what kind of plant you can grow, you can find tips based on which direction your window(s) face in a four-panel “house” diorama.img_4446

The Conservatory gallery will feature separate sections with tips on topics such as foolproof plants (for those with a less-than-bright-green thumb); today’s popular succulents; tropical house plants; seasonal plants like amaryllis, Christmas cactus, poinsettia, and more; expert care tips on orchids, carnivorous plants, and others; how to propagate plants from seeds and cuttings; and even hydroponics. Outdoors, You Can Grow It! will showcase plants for growing outside including items for kitchen use like herbs and vegetables, container gardening, and more. 

img_4414Throughout the exhibit run, the U.S. Botanic Garden will offer programs, workshops, lectures, tours, and cooking demonstrations to showcase and provide training on gardening at home.

The U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC is open every day of the year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., free. To learn more about the exhibit, visit www.USBG.gov/YouCanGrowIt. Photos courtesy of the U.S. Botanic Garden.

U.S. Botanic Garden’s Seasonal Exhibit Opens Thanksgiving Day

usbg-holiday-show-lincoln-memorial-and-washington-monumentThis year’s annual U.S. Botanic Garden holiday exhibit, Season’s Greenings: National Parks and Historic Places, will open Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2016 and run through January 2, 2017. Immerse yourself in the sights, scents, and sounds of the season with wreaths, garland, trees, and thousands of blooms from exotic orchids to a showcase of heirloom and newly developed poinsettia varieties.

Throughout the Conservatory, the U.S. Botanic Garden will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act. In this year’s model train show, the trains will chug around, below, through, and above re-creations of iconic national parks and sites in the National Register of Historic Places. See the Grand Canyon, the Gateway Arch, Old Faithful Inn and Geyser, Mount Vernon, Mount Rushmore, a 7-foot-tall Statue of Liberty, and many more representing 48 different national parks and historic sites, all made from plants and other natural materials.

The West Gallery will house one of the largest indoor trees in Washington, DC, covered with ornaments celebrating national parks, and the Garden Court will welcome back model landmarks from the nation’s capital including favorites like the U.S. Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and more – all also made from plant materials. More than 30 varieties of poinsettias will showcase old and new colors, forms, and sizes of this seasonal favorite.

The U.S. Botanic Garden is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America. It is open to the public, free of charge, every day of the year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Most Tuesdays and Thursdays in December, the Conservatory will be open until 8 p.m. for live seasonal music concerts and after-dark holiday exhibit viewing. 100 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington DC 20001; (202) 225-8333. http://www.usbg.gov

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.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day: Emerald Creeper

emerald creeper (4)Emerald Creeper is not something that grows in my Northern Virginia garden but I was lucky to see it flower last week so I just had to share these photos with fellow gardeners on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Known for its turquoise colored flowers, which is an extremely rare color in the plant world, Emerald Creeper produces dozens of long pendent trusses, also called pseudoracemes, with claw-shaped flowers.  In fact, the only way I was able to see such an exquisite flower was by visiting the U.S. Botanic Garden’s Conservatory in Washington DC. Few botanical gardens have the Emerald Creeper, which is rapidly becoming an endangered species. Native to the Philippines, this tropical vine lives in rainforests that are being decimated.emerald creeper (2)

A member of the bean family, Emerald Creeper produces pea pods about 2 inches long but these are even rarer to see. The vine is pollinated by bats that hang upside down on the inflorescences to drink the nectar. Because there are no bats in glass houses, staff would have to mimic the way the bats enter the flower in order to hand pollinate.

emerald creeper (8)

 

The botanical name intrigued me.  Strongylodon macrobotrys comes from the Greek word “strongylos” which means “round,” and “odontus” which means “tooth” and refers to the rounded teeth of the calyx. In the specific epithet, the Greek word “macros” means “large” and “botrys” means “grape-like clusters.” I can see all of that but “grape” escapes me!