Washington Botanical Gardens

The Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences in Washington, D.C., first suggested the creation of the Botanic Garden in 1816. The idea of establishing a botanic garden in Washington, D.C., was also supported by the Washington Botanical Society, organized in 1817, many of whose members were also members of the Columbian Institute, however this society disbanded in 1826.washington botanical gardens 1The Arboretum is a hidden gem on the shores of Lake Washington. Jointly managed by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and the City of Seattle, its 230 acres are a dynamic assortment of plants, some found nowhere else in the Northwest. We invite you to take a walk through the Arboretum and discover this living collection of plants from around the world. The Graham Visitors Center contains an information desk and displays, and a gift shop managed by the Arboretum Foundation. The Japanese Garden, located at the south end of the Arboretum has an entrance fee and is managed by the City of Seattle.washington botanical gardens 2Explore your ArboretumThe Arboretum is a hidden gem on the shores of Lake Washington. Jointly managed by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and the City of Seattle, its 230 acres are a dynamic assortment of plants, some found nowhere else in the Northwest. We invite you to take a walk through the Arboretum and discover this living collection of plants from around the world. The Graham Visitors Center contains an information desk and displays, and a gift shop managed by the Arboretum Foundation. The Japanese Garden, located at the south end of the Arboretum has an entrance fee and is managed by the City of Seattle. Read the latest newswashington botanical gardens 3The tract had north, south, east and west slopes and a level area on Hickey Road that would work well for greenhouses and herbaceous gardens, while the other sloped areas would be ideal for shrub and small flowering-tree arboretum uses. The entire area contained about 400 acres (1.6 km2) and would “afford an entrance to Washington of unequaled beauty.”washington botanical gardens 4Several historic trees stood on the site including the Crittenden Oak which marks the spot where John J. Crittenden made an address in an effort to avert the Civil War. Also, the Beck-Washington Elm was a scion of an elm earlier planted by Washington himself. A plane tree which Thaddeus Stevens brought from the Vale of Cashmere, a sycamore planted by Senator Daniel Voorhees and a Chinese oak from the grave of Confucius, two cedars of Lebanon, and several others that have historic associations.washington botanical gardens 5In 1820, President James Monroe set aside 5 acres (20,000 m2) for a “national greenhouse.” Dr. Edward Cutbush, founder and first president of the Columbian Institute, was one of the earliest advocates for a plant repository and saw the necessity for a botanical garden “where various seeds and plants could be cultivated, and, as they multiplied, distributed to other parts of the Union.”washington botanical gardens 6In 1838, Lt. Charles Wilkes set out on the United States Exploring Expedition commissioned by Congress to circumnavigate the globe and explore the Pacific Ocean. Between the years 1838–1842, the expedition, consisting of six government ships, traveled 87,000 miles and collected a large assortment of horticultural and botanical specimens. These formed the nucleus of the present garden. The expedition also confirmed that Antarctica was a continent.washington botanical gardens 7In 1933, the main building was moved to its present location on the National Mall, just to the southwest of the Capitol, bordered by Maryland Avenue on the north, First Street on the east, Independence Avenue on the south, and Third Street on the west. The facility includes a conservatory and 2 acres (8,100 m2) of outside grounds. Directly across Independence Avenue is Bartholdi Park, an outdoor display area, and an administration building. Located on 3 acres (12,000 m2) west of the conservatory and opened to the public on October 1, 2006, the National Garden provides living laboratories for environmental, horticultural, and botanical education. The major features of the National Garden are the Rose Garden, the Butterfly Garden, the Lawn Terrace, the First Ladies’ Water Garden, the Regional Garden, and an outdoor amphitheater.washington botanical gardens 8United States Botanic Garden (USBG), established by the U.S. Congress is 1820, is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America. Through the Conservatory, National Garden, and Bartholdi Park, the Garden informs visitors about the importance and fundamental value and diversity of plants, as well as their aesthetic, cultural, economic, therapeutic and ecological significance. With over a million visitors annually, the USBG strives to demonstrate and promote sustainable practices. The U.S. Botanic Garden is a living plant museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The Garden offers a variety of exhibits, tours, and programs for visitors of all ages. Each year, the USBG’s popular holiday show Season’s Greenings features one of the area’s largest indoor trees, a showcase of poinsettias, models of DC monuments made entirely from plant materials, and a fantasy train display. Visit www.USBG.gov or check at the visitor information desk upon arrival. Wheelchairs, interpretive services, and other accessibility services are available on request. The U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory is open to the public, free of charge, every day of the year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bartholdi Park is open dawn to dusk. www.USBG.govwashington botanical gardens 9Bartholdi Park lies just south of the Conservatory, across Independence Avenue. It is named for the Bartholdi Fountain in the garden’s center designed by Frédéric Bartholdi. One of the goals of this garden is to provide inspiration and ideas for home gardeners who visit it. It displays a variety of small structured and non-structured gardens, and infuses color, shape, and planting themes. One section of the garden is certified as a National Wildlife Federation Backyard Wildlife Habitat. The Park also houses the administrative building for the United States Botanic Garden.washington botanical gardens 10The tract, which was swamp land, was located next to the Smithsonian Museum and a mere eighty feet from the steps of the Capitol. The land was situated between First and Third streets and Pennsylvania and Maryland avenues on the west side of the Capitol building. It was originally owned by David Burnes, the Scots farmer who owned much of the site of the city of Washington. He had been warned in 1796 that if he chose to plant crops “on the avenue and the Mall”, it was at his own risk as something might be done “almost any time” to make a thoroughfare.washington botanical gardens 11The action was entirely logical. That space was designed by President George Washington and Maj. Pierre Charles L’Enfant as an open approach to the Capitol, which is shown on the original plan to the city. “It was proposed at that time that this area should be subject to ornamentation with memorials, foundations, and the like, but not shut off by walls and fences. Locating the Botanic Garden in this area was one of those serious mistakes made in the early part of the century whereby the great plan for the Nation’s Capital suffered damage that has continued to this day.”washington botanical gardens 12A plant production facility in Anacostia, Washington, D.C., includes greenhouse bays and a support facility for the garden. The U.S. Botanic Garden Production Facility, covers 85,000 square feet (7,900 m2) under glass, and is the largest support facility for a botanic garden in the United States. It houses collections currently not on display, including plants recuperating. Seasonal plants are also grown at the facility for use in the Supreme Court, Library of Congress and for replenishing the Capitol grounds. An estimated 100,000 mums, pansies, cabbage, kale and other annuals and perennials per year are grown in the facility. Additionally, foliage plants for the Senate offices and palm trees for Capitol Hill events as well as special seasonal displays such as Easter lilies and poinsettias are all grown on site. “According to staff botanists, there are about 50,000 plants on hand at the production facility at any one time.washington botanical gardens 13Bartholdi Park is open from dawn to dusk, daily, including all weekends and holidays. It is located across Independence Avenue from the Conservatory, with access from any of the three bordering streets – Independence Avenue, Washington Avenue or First Street.

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