Thursday, October 21, 2010

United States Botanic Garden

By the time we were on our way Wednesday afternoon there was not much time left to do any touring in Washington DC. We always feel a bit over-whelmed when considering what area to explore in that city, and we do try to avoid what we have toured in the past. So that brought us to the United States Botanic Garden. The garden  had its origins back in 1842 when the United States Exploring Expedition to the South Seas brought to Washington a collection of living plants from around the world. The garden was then opened to the public in 1850, and moved to its present location in 1933.  Despite the cool weather now setting in, the gardens outside still had some beautiful flowers blooming. Below are smooth blue asters, and Yakin River Goldenrod.
Shortly after we had arrived at the garden it started to rain. Most of the plant collections were located inside so that did not prove to be a problem at all. After we returned home I chanced to read the park's brochure
and came upon this statement: "from jungle to desert to primeval paradise, the indoor gardens and galleries of our Conservatory offer the perfect foil to a winter day.."  There certainly was plenty to see inside. It is the largest indoor garden which we have ever seen. Below is the garden court.
The garden's collection of orchids is awesome to see. The USBG has 5,000 orchid specimens and
hundreds of them are on display at any given time.
The west gallery is a permanent display which demonstrates how plants provide livelihood, theapy, art and tools in our everyday lives. There are metal sculptures here of plants, in which there are videos explaining some of those details. It is quite a unique way of delivering information.
In this gallery I learned a lot about the many spices which plants provide, and they are even available in bottles so they could be smelled. One thing I learned is that curry powder is not one spice, but a mixture of seven spices. There is some much more I could share with you about the United States Botanic Garden, including many pictures, but I will just conclude that it is a must see on your next visit to Washington DC.

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