Sunday, January 18, 2009

United States Botanic Garden

Eyes from here in Georgia and all over the world will be upon the US Capitol Building for the next few days as history will once again be made on these steps. The Saint and I were there on Dec 26, 2008 and the platforms were already going up for the big day. Can you see the Christmas tree at the bottom of the stairs?
It has been many years since we walked around to the back of the building. The Capitol building is one of many buildings rich with history in Washington.
Beautiful old trees on the grounds make for a spectacular stroll around to the back of the Capitol.
To the right of the Capitol Building sits another building rich with history. Welcome to the United States Botanic Gardens (USBG) in Washington, DC! I guess you could say this is one garden that belongs to each and everyone of us Garden Bloggers living in the United States.

My Visitors guide pamphlet tells me; During the 18th Century George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison shared the dream of having a national botanic garden and were instrumental in establishing one on the National Mall in 1820. The Botanic Garden has been in continuous operation and open to the public since 1850. The USBG is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America. It informs visitors about the importance and often irreplaceable value of plants to the well being of human kind and to earths fragile ecosystems.

The USBG currently maintains about 12,000 plants for exhibition, study, conservation and exchange with other institutions. Historic specimens include several that date from the original 1842 founding collection. The USBG also serves as a rescue center for plants confiscated at the U.S. borders in cooperation with CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Globally, about one out of every 8 known plants species is threatened or nearing extinction. In the United States, the figure rises to about 3 out of every 10 plant species!
There is a greater need today to renew our understanding the importance of plants to the well being of our citizen, our nation and the world. It is hard to imagine a more important mission.

Let's stop reading from the pamphlet for a bit and go inside the Conservatory. We will get back to the pamphlet when necessary.
Being the day after Christmas, I was not surprise to be greeted by Poinsettias but I had no idea there were so many different types! Ecke's Flaming Sphere and Winter Rose to name these above.
Marblestar, Silverstar Marble and something starting with the letters C and O and ending in Burgundy.
Red and White poinsettias are so beautiful together. My mother in law and another from her Garden Club, volunteered to set up over 20 Poinsettias at their church. I went along to help if needed. They had the most beautiful plants to place on the alter and at a bargain price from a local nursery. They were the biggest blooms I have ever seen on a Poinsettia!
I was impressed as to how well this Botanical garden was marked but still failed to catch the name of this beauty. I will let you know the names of the plants and flowers that I can remember or got a snapshot of the marker. Is this the same plant? Nope but still no name from me.

Name unknown.

Hoya Lanceolata ssp. Bella,
Milkweed family.

Shrimp plant.
Walking through makes one feel as if they are on a Tropical Island.

Pretty in Pink or is it Purple? Lets go in for a closer look.

Ah, Pink and Purple!
Can you see all the mushrooms amongst the palms and ferns?

Oh my goodness, What is this creature?
Not a creature at all but rather a Cleistocactus Winteri, Cactus family of course.
Do any of you know what this strange looking bloom could be?
It had us all baffled until we read the tag.
Cradle Orchid, Anguloa Clowesii
Orchid family-Orchidaceae
Columbia & Venezuela
Pamphlet; The USBG Orchid collection numbers about 5,000 specimens but hundreds of orchids are on display at any given time.
That is a lot of orchids! Lets look at some more shall we...
Ah, the scent in this room was totally awesome to the nose!
Orchids of so many different colors.
I could have spent more time in this room as it was heavenly to the eye and nose.
Foliage of different colored plants looked great together.
Being the animal lover I am, you know I am going to find an animal to let me snap a picture. If I had these all over my yard, I don't think I would complain about clipping them. They are so darn cute!
Tina, this one is for you. You know this bloom well don't you?
Maybe one day your banana tree will have a bunch of banana's such as this one.
Fresh Papaya's anyone?
How about an orange instead?
Surely you will have a bite of Pineapple.
No thank you to the peppers, they may be the really hot ones! Ouch to the tongue.
I could not pass this plant by without snapping a picture. This is for my two fur babies Sheba and Cheetah. Cat Whiskers! Yep, that is the name of this interesting beauty. You cat people will see the whisker immediately upon the plant naming.
We were intrigued by this spotted foliage. Polka dotted leaves. How cute indeed. I had never seen a Begonia Maculata before this day. Pamphlet;
A Wonderland of Monuments
The models are work of designer and landscape architect Paul G. Busse and his firm Applied Imagination of Alexandria, Kentucky. After studying architectural drawings and photographs of each building, Busse creates the basic structure with acrylic foam boards. Distinctive architectural details are added with dried plant materials. The time needed to construct each building depends on it complexity. It took over 600 hours to create the US Capitol structure. You see above.

See if you can recongize your monuments.
Nestled in amongst Poinsettia's.
It was fun seeing this exhibit.
Such thought went into the perfect placement for this well known monument.
Such detail and remember, everything you see is some type of natural material grown from our wonderful earth. Notice the dome.
Each structure was wired to light up for better viewing.
We were amazed at the details and thoroughly enjoyed seeing this display of such wonderful works of art.
Holly Tea Olive.
I was captivated by this bush being full of red berries but not one leaf! What was the name of this plant. Oh, I just cannot remember.

A favorite in my Georgia Garden as you regular readers know is of course Vinca (Periwinkle) I was so happy to see Madagascar Periwinkle during my wonderful visit to the UNITED STATES BOTANIC GARDEN. I just love being In the Garden...


  1. Wow, simply beautiful! Thanks for the tour:0) Hubby is off duck hunting so of course I had to send him off with a hug:0) Now, I'll try to get a few quick winks in before we start our day. Ciao!

  2. Hi Skeeter - thanks for the tour :) It looks like you had a great visit!

  3. Hi Skeeter, thanks so much for taking us along on the tour. I have been to DC a few times but never to the botanical garden. Imagining a room full of orchids in bloom on a winter's day will keep a smile on my face for hours! I love the replica buildings too.

  4. Hi Skeeter, Thank you for this tour~~it's been a good reminder to check out the botanical gardens of any city I visit. Cheekwood (our botanical garden) used to have a greenhouse of orchids..they were lovely on a cold day and occasionally we could find a fragrant flower. I miss the greenhouses....I often wonder why they shut them down. Have a good week; I hope the weather is warming up! gail

  5. Good morning all!

    I have never seen the capitol. It is great you have seen it! So magnificent! I must visit here one day. Yup, I can recognize a banana bloom anywhere. Not too pretty, but unusual for sure. I think the red berried plant is winterberry. Frances has a big display of it at Faire Garden. It is so spectacular. You know, I don't even think I knew of a national botanic garden so I so appreciate the tour and info!

  6. Good Morning Everyone,
    Skeeter, that was a most pleasurable informative tour of our capital. I've been to DC before but I never knew that they had this magnificent building with all these exquisite plants. Thank you for sharing this experience.
    Have a wonderful day all.

  7. What a beautiful tour! I'm with Frances, the orchid room would be my favorite, I might not of left!

  8. Thank you for the tour, I could almost smell the sweetness. And it most welcome, as it is 5 below zero here, and we have heavy snow predicted. Washington DC is on my list of places to visit. I will be sure to visit the Botanical gardens there. Thanks!

  9. Good morning everyone! Rainy Day in Georgia today! I had to get out in it to feed the kitties next door. Looking on the positive side, rain warmed up the air to 41 degrees as our low during the night...

    Anonymous, Yawnnnn you were up early. I think hubby would have had a bowl of cold cereal and out the door on his own in this house. tee hee. Hope you got back to that warm bed before the goose bumps popped or were they Duck bumps? Tee hee

    VP, Yes, we did have a great visit but not long enough for me. Sigh, I could have stayed so much longer but we had other places to visit. There is always our next trip to DC for more beauty viewing!

    Frances, Think you will ever have that many orchids? I think you would have to purchase the other lot next door. Didn't you already do that once before? lol. More room for more wonderful smelling beauties. I was so amazed as to how many different types they had on display and in full bloom! Such a worth while visit if ever in the area…

    Gail, come on down to GA if you can take the rain. We are warmer today at 41 for the low! Can you believe that I call TN home and have been to the Nashville area a million times but never to Cheekwood? I must get there and check it out. By never visiting, I reckon I would not miss the Greenhouses. :) I get a kick out of seeing the greenhouses behind Opry Mills...

    Tina, YOU have never seen the Capitol? I think it should be a mandatory visit for anyone that has put 20 years of service in for their country to see! As a matter of fact, I think a trip on the taxpayers should be standard procedure for one retiring from any branch of service! You must get there some time. So much to see and do and all free. Well, you and I have paid dearly for it in our years of course.... Yep, Winterberry indeed!

    Lola, I bet a lot of people are not aware of this wonderful treasure. Most head to the monuments and Smithsonian’s. The Saint grew up in Northern Virginia and worked in DC at times so he knows all the neat things to see and do in DC. I think he appreciates seeing them more now as he was so much younger and carefree back then. Damp day here today but temp is up so I am okay with the rain. Enjoy your day and I hope it is a dry one with higher temps for you...

    Dawn, I had to be dragged out of that room! Everyone was standing in the next room looking through the doors at me wondering when I was going to join them. I was mesmerized by my surroundings. Saint stayed back with me to grab the arm. He knew I was set for the day in that room! It was so divine...

  10. Kathleen, Burrrr to your 5 below! Our temp is better today as 41 for our low last night. I love my indoor outdoor thermometer. I am so happy that the scent of the beauties creep through your monitor this morning! Yes, you should get to DC at some point in your life. I dont care for the Politics side of it but it is a beautiful place and so much to see and do. The Smithsonian’s are a treasure as well as the Botanic gardens. So much history as well. Stay Warm!

  11. I love DC! Have you ever gotten to go when the trees are in full bloom. GORGEOUS! Smartypants likes to go and sit in the Library of Congress all day (he is sort of a geek) and while he does that I always wander around the botanical garden. Such a great place to visit!!

  12. this was very lovely walk - thank you!
    orchids are beautiful!

  13. Thanks for the tour of a truly beautiful and historic botanical garden Skeeter! I didn't even realize that DC had one, isn't that shameful seeing how close I am to the capital. Next time we visit DC I will have to make a stop at the gardens. :)

  14. Tina, Thank you for coming over and commenting - yes, this is myself in my garden on the header's picture :)
    orchids are often the only cheer-ups in the winter, when garden is covered with snow :)
    I am especially interested in fragrant ones - that's what I am looking for.
    I prepare some more posts on orchid care - there is so many misunderstandings.

  15. Wow, what a great tour Skeeter. My hubby was in the honor guard at Arlington in the mid 60's so whenever we have traveled near DC we always made a stop but I also never knew of the Botanical Gardens
    but sure wish I had. I always enjoyed the monuments but my favorites were the Smithsonian Zoo and the Wax Museum but I don't think that is there anymore. Thanks so much for the great tour.

  16. Jilly, One year I was there on my birthday and they were in full bloom! What a wonderful birthday gift that was from Mother Nature! Geeks of today are tomorrows Bill Gates, You Go Smartypants and dont forget me when you get rich! lol

    Ewa, Skeeter chatting today but Tina will probably chat with you when she checks in :-) The orchids are beautiful in the USBG and I only wish you could smell them through your computer! Wonderful scent. I love your Blog pic of the bright red chili peppers. I have my kitchen decorated with them being everywhere you turn. Have a good day...

    Raquel, Dont feel too bad about not visiting while living so close. I was just telling Gail how I call myself a Tennessean and only lived out 40 minutes from Nashville’s Botanical Garden and never been there! So you are not alone. The USBG is to the right of the Capitol Building as you stand on the mall facing the Capitol. So easy to spot with the big glass conservatory. I would suggest going during a low season though. :-) We like to go to downtown DC on Christmas Eve because everything is open but no crowds. Weather did not cooperate with us this time but the day after Christmas was not crowed either. We parked right in front of the Capitol Building for free!

    Jean, What a wonderful thing for your hubby to be on the honor Guard! Our neighbor in TX was honor guard at Arlington during the 80’s. We have toured the stables where the caisson and horses stay. My neighbor was a country boy from Arkansas and that is how he was picked as he could care for the horses. We have not been to the zoo in probably 20 years! We tried to get there last spring to see the baby panda but my tonsillectomy put a halt to that trip. We will get back there at some point though. We both remember moaning about walking up hill in every direction we turned. We were 20 years younger then so I’m sure the stroll through the zoo will be so much fun with our next visit! lol. Saint says the Wax museum was a night club during his teenage years in early 80’s. It was the Wax Museum but converted to club. How sad to turn a building full of works of art into a Night Club. Go Figure. I cant help but wonder where did all that artwork go?

  17. Hey Skeeter and thanks for the visit to Paradise. Just what I needed in this deep freeze we have in Chicago.

  18. I just noticed you had another Kathleen commenting! I used to live in Maryland and Virginia but never visited the Botanic Gardens either. What a big mistake. It's beautiful even in winter so imagine what it's like in the other seasons. I love all your unknown flowers. Don't you hate it when you wished you had written the names down. I do that sometimes. Come home and regret not taking notes! It will be an exciting couple of days in DC that's for sure. I can't wait!!

  19. Carolyn, I am glad you found this stroll with me soothing today! I know the snow must get old quick up there. We would like to have at least one good snow for snowman building and the beauty of a white blanket covering sleeping gardens. No such luck for us here in the Deep South. We will have to rely on Bloggers to share their snow pictures with us. :-) Stay warm!

    Kathleen, Yep, one in Maine near Tina's sister. I have only been to the Botanic Garden during the Christmas holidays so never seen the outside grounds in bloom. Would like to get there some time during bloom season. I was snapping pictures and saying to myself that I would remember all the plants names but my memory forgot that my memory is not what it use to be! lol, I started to snap pics of some of the plant stakes for reference. Taking notes would have been a good idea but dragging around the coat and scarf and snapping pictures with one hand were challenge enough. lol Coats are always a pain to drag around while playing tourist…

  20. You were a wonderful tour guide! So informative and beautiful... the models were intriguing. /Deb

  21. Skeeter, I have also wondered many times where all the stuff in the WM went as most of them were really so life like and they not only had people but very large scenes. I remember one of the civil war and the soliders bodies lying all over the place with blood squriting out of them. It was so real looking. It is a shame they did away with such master pieces and so much of it had to do with our history. In my mind it is not just a shame but a crime!!

  22. Skeeter --
    Wonderful tour! I was just looking up information on the gardens around Washington, DC , so I thank you for sharing your photos and the information.


  23. Skeeter, thanks for this great tour! I have never been to DC, but it's a place I've always wanted to visit.

    Like you, I'm often so captivated by a plant that I forget to get the name of it, or if I do, I forget it by the time I get home. Everything is beautiful, but I especially like the Hoya Lanceolata. If it's in the milkweed family, I wonder if it also attracts butterflies? Much more exotic-looking than our common milkweeds here.

  24. Thanks for the great tour and the wonderful photos of the USBG. I thoroughly enjoyed myself!

  25. Deb, I like playing tour guide and think I could probably do it for a living in person. but then it would become work and I doubt it would be fun for me. Think I will stick to tour guide via blogging. :-)

    Jean, I know what you mean! Such a shame to loose such wonderful history lessons. Our newspaper was reporting about not letting school kids off for Veterans Day during the school year. Their reasoning was that if they had the day off, all they would do is goof off. By keeping school open, the curriculum that day is Veteran related and the kids are learning something. After hearing that argument, I had to agree with our school system. Some Parents dont seem to teach such things to their children these days...

    Cameron, How ironic you were looking up the DC area gardens! Now you know where to visit a really nice one filled with history! We aim to please here at In the Garden. ;-)

    TC, Glad you enjoyed your tour with me! It was fun showing you the ropes. I may have another tour in store soon. :-)

  26. Thanks for the tour, it is one of my favorite places in DC. I went there when I was a teenager on a school field trip not expecting to have a good time, but fond memories have stuck with me through the years.

  27. Absolutely fabulous! I'd love to visit there, one day...I think the second-last photo, of the shrub with all the red berries, might be Canada holly or winterberry, Ilex verticillata, perhaps?

  28. Well now I have to plan a trip to Washington DC. I had no idea they had a botanical garden there! And what a lovely one it is. Thanks for the tour!

  29. Oh! Such beauty on these pages. I think the orange flowers are in the clerodendrum family. I have a similar one that is a vine called bleeding heart clerodendrum in red and pink.
    I went to this botanic garden in the summer time one year and truly fell in love with all of it.
    Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  30. Les, I thought you might have been there living in VA. :-) It seems to be a well kept secret as many commenter’s today were not aware of the USBG existence. It is a wonderful treasure for our country. Hopefully more school children take away good memories on their visits to the Garden as well...

    Jodi, Thanks! You should put this on your list of places to visit some day! You would really enjoy it there as all garden and nature lovers. You are correct with Winterberry. Tina our Master Gardener here at In the Garden identified it for me in an earlier comment. She was right as are you because I now remember seeing the tag for Winterberry. Thanks for the input; my memory is not what it use to be…

    Msrobin, Yes a botanical garden right in the middle of all that asphalt, concrete, marble and water! I believe it gets a bit lost to all the famous monuments and museums. A great addition to your list indeed!

    My Mothers garden, We like to share at “In the Garden” Thanks for the ID on the clerodendrum. How lucky for you to have some of them. They are beauties for sure. I have been to the USBG several times but always during the winter months while visiting the Saint’s family for Christmas. I have not been lucky enough to see it during the summer bloom season but maybe one day. During our spring visits, we are always walking around the Tidal Basin in awe of the cherry blossoms. I am so glad you have seen this beautiful place before. I hope I brought back some good memories for you today...

  31. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour around the Botanic Garden! The reindeer did greet me well with a warm Christmas smile. Red and White Poinsettias! What a perfect Christmas deco!
    I loved the Cactopus! LOL! It looked strange and beautiful!
    And Pineapple! Ah! How I wanna grow one myself!
    And the tour around all the famous monuments! Whoa! That'd have taken months to visit them all but did so in minutes.
    That was mind blowing. Now, can I have some tea please? With a little extra sugar... And a drop of lemon grass oil... Yes, that's perfect, thank you.

  32. Chandramouli, Thank you so much for your kind words! Makes downloading all those pictures worth the effort :-) I do believe that red poinsettia is the signature plant at Christmas at least here in the USA. Seeing the monuments in person is wonderful as were the miniatures made by natural materials. Just fascinates me how some people are so talented with such things. Give growing a pineapple a try! I bet a freshly picked pineapple would taste wonderful. Okay, I am off to boil water for that tea now... :-)

  33. Thanks for the great tour, Skeeter - think we all like to see those tropical plants in winter! It's been quite a few years since we were at the US Botanic Garden and we were there in July so the big event was a daylily show - also fun.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  34. Annie, Your welcome! I am glad you have seen this wonderful treasure with your own eyes! So many seem to not be aware of the USBG. I am glad to have written this posting so now a few more know of this beautiful place. Ah, I bet the daylily show was nice. I added daylily to my garden this past summer and hope to add more this year!

  35. I love that cactus! So many of them, like this one, look so warm and friendly despite their spines.

  36. Lostlandscapes, Yep, I learned a lesson about those soft looking cactus while living in Texas! Never again will I touch one...