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Except for the Hawaiian house, the galleries, and south lobby, none of the conservatory has air conditioning. Each room is closely monitored by a computer-operated sensors to maintain the environment best suited to the plants in that room. Humidity, sunlight and temperature are regulated by means of a misting system, retractable shades and levered windows. All plants are watered daily by hand. Construction was completed on the 3-acre (12,000 m2) National Garden on the Botanic Garden’s west border, in October 2006 and the garden includes a regional garden of plants native to the Atlantic Coastal Plain and Piedmont, a rose garden, a butterfly garden, and the First Ladies Water Garden, a water garden in memory of the First Ladies of the United States.The National Garden construction was funded by the National Fund for the U.S. Botanic Garden which now exists as a ‘friends group’.
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Opening in May of 2018, the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) in collaboration with the United States Botanic Garden will present a juried exhibition of artworks of native plants, staged in the U.S. Botanic Garden’s gallery space. The exhibition will include approximately 45 original contemporary botanical artworks, juried from a field of over 200 entries. Slated to remain on view at the U.S. Botanic Garden through October 2018, the exhibition will then travel through the end of 2019.
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In 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.
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Exhibits The U.S. Botanic Garden is committed to creating and offering extraordinary exhibits that delight, educate and inspire the public to become more active stewards of the plants that support life on earth. Read more » Opportunities at the U.S. Botanic Garden (Jobs and Internships) View current job and internship opportunities at the U.S. Botanic Garden Read more » Landscape For Life™ Landscape For Life shows you how to work with nature in your garden, no matter where you live, whether you garden on a city or suburban lot, a 20-acre farm or the common area of your condominium. Read more » National Fund for the U.S. Botanic Garden The National Fund supports the educational outreach activities at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Read more »
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United 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.gov
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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.
In 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.”
In 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.
Bartholdi 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.
8 U.S. Botanic Garden It’s balmy year-round inside the U.S. Botanic Garden on the National Mall. Considered a living museum of plants, the lavish garden rooms are housed inside a glass Conservatory. Exhibits range from plants native to Hawaii and tropical territories, deserts, medicinal plants, orchids and a Children’s Garden. The museum is free and open every day of the year from dawn until dusk.
It’s balmy year-round inside the U.S. Botanic Garden on the National Mall. Considered a living museum of plants, the lavish garden rooms are housed inside a glass Conservatory. Exhibits range from plants native to Hawaii and tropical territories, deserts, medicinal plants, orchids and a Children’s Garden. The museum is free and open every day of the year from dawn until dusk.
The garden “was formally placed under the jurisdiction of the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress in 1856 and has been administered through the Office of the Architect of the Capitol since 1934. The Architect of the Capitol has served as Acting Director of the United States Botanic Garden and is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the Garden and for any construction, changes, or improvements made.”
It was felt that the botanic garden must be removed because when Congress established the location of the Grant Memorial in the garden-area, technically, it forced the garden out. “Such was the intention of Congress.”
A 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.
One of the greatest accomplishments of the institution was the creation of a botanic garden in 1821. “By the end of 1823 the swampy tract of land granted by Congress had been drained and leveled, an elliptical pond with an island at its center constructed, and four graveled walks laid out. Trees and shrubs were planted, and the garden was maintained as well as scanty funds would permit until the institute expired in 1837, one year before the termination of its charter.”
An exhaustive search was made of several areas available for garden purposes and Mount Hamilton, a privately owned site, was chosen. The tract fronted the Anacostia River and carried a variety of soils in such condition that “very little preparation for the uses of a botanic garden would be needed and very little grading other than that required for roads.”
The Commission of Fine Art made recommendation that the Mount Hamilton tract be acquired for a national botanic garden and arboretum; by purchasing 400 acres (1.6 km2) of land, at least 800 acres (3.2 km2) of Government-owned lands will be made available. Also, a park entrance to the city from the north will be provided. Additionally, the public features of the “present” Botanic Garden be transferred from the west side of the Capitol to the north side to lands already owned by the Government.