Smithsonian Gardens is the division of the Smithsonian Institution responsible for the management and maintenance of its museum grounds. It is one of the most popular museums in the United States with more than 30 million visitors annually. The organization’s mission is to enhance the Smithsonian visitor experience through horticultural, historic, and educational programs.
Smithsonian Gardens has created a variety of horticultural exhibits that showcase the diversity of plants in the world. These horticultural displays feature a variety of orchids. In addition to providing an insight into the diversity of orchids, the display also educates visitors about the use of these flowers.
Since 1972, the Smithsonian Gardens has been developing and maintaining outdoor and interior gardens and landscapes. Smithsonian Gardens is the institution’s “museum without walls” and provides many outreach programs for children and adults. For example, there is a “Let’s Talk Gardens” free lunchtime series to teach people about horticulture. Other activities include coloring garden gnome plant stakes, creating sunflower seed packets, and learning about trees.
Each year, the Smithsonian organizes a “Garden Fest” to inspire people to learn about horticulture and gardening. This two-day event is free and open to the public. Visitors can enjoy a picnic in a seating area in the gardens. Pets are permitted. But please keep in mind that most areas in the gardens are not roped off, and service animals are welcomed in all Smithsonian gardens.
Smithsonian Gardens is part of the American Alliance of Museums, which recognizes the gardens as an essential component of a museum’s educational program. To increase the awareness of the importance of the gardens and its conservation, Smithsonian Gardens has created web-based platforms to raise awareness about the gardens.
Smithsonian Gardens also manages the Archives of American Gardens, a research archive that documents and preserves gardens throughout the United States. More than 150,000 photographs are digitized and available on the Archives of American Gardens’ website. Users can learn more about the history of gardens, and the role of gardens in the U.S. by clicking on the links provided.
Aside from the Gardens’ collections, they also have a 64,000-square-foot greenhouse facility where they produce and grow plants for research and horticultural display. These plants provide significant environmental benefits, including habitat for urban wildlife.
Another garden that is a part of the Smithsonian is the Kathrine Dulin Folger Rose Garden. It is located on the east side of the Smithsonian Castle and is in bloom from May through November. It is home to bulbs, perennials, and annuals.
Besides its garden collection, the Smithsonian Gardens also have an Orchid Collection. The first five plants of the Smithsonian Orchid Collection were introduced in 1974, and the collection has since expanded to 256 genera and over 8,000 plants. Although the collection began as a horticultural project, it has evolved into a conservation project that protects these beautiful and rare orchids.
In addition to its living plant collection, the Smithsonian Gardens manages a collection of over thirty thousand historical, archival, and decorative objects related to gardens. This collection helps the institution develop new programs and improve its sustainability.