At the U.S. Botanic Garden, we are 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.
Food for Thought
May 25 through October 14, 2013
Food for Thought highlights U.S. Botanic Garden plant collections in this annual outdoor Terrace exhibit, featuring plants with culinary, ornamental, medicinal and cultural value. Find inspiration to cook something new, plant food for pollinators or even grow your own food.
Explore the Conservatory Terrace to see some amazing food plants, both familiar and exotic, from around the globe. Get lost in thought and wander through David Rogers' Big Bugs(tm) wooden sculptures adorning the Garden grounds.
Conservatory East Gallery
Through October 14
Spring ephemerals of the forest understory are among the most interesting of our wildflowers. The photography of Jackie Bailey Labovitz celebrates the short-lived flowers of perennial native plants that bloom beneath the forest canopy. During a brief window of opportunity, they arise from the ground after it thaws and bloom, taking advantage of the sunlight beaming through the leafless trees. As soon as the trees leaf out, the above-ground parts of the ephemerals begin to wither, and by summer, most have vanished. They make up an important part our forests' understory that only few see and appreciate. Learn more about the wildflowers featured in this exhibit.
Join Labovitz on the second Sunday of each month of the exhibit for a tour of the exhibit and to hear the story behind UNDERSTORY. "Lady's slippers," writes Jack Sanders, author of The Secrets of Wildflowers, "are among those special wildflowers wholse locations are whispered only to trusted people." Without a whisper, Labovitz began her rentless search for the rare exotic woodland orchids. She will share tales of what happened along the way, hiking day in and day out, with one lens and one camera, in natural light just beneath the forest canopy. Pre-registration required.
Conservatory South Lobby
Through October 31
With more than 1,500 species, begonias are one of the largest plant families in the world. This display demonstrates the variety of begonias from habitats all around the globe. From the curious to the common, from spectacular leaves to show-stopping flowers, come and see the vast diversity encompassed by this colorful plant family!
- Conservatory: The permanent exhibits in our Conservatory will take you around the world all year long. It houses collections of plants from subtropical, tropical and arid regions and showcases orchids, medicinal, economic, endangered and Jurassic plants. From late May to mid-October, the Conservatory Terrace features thematic exhibitions.
- National Garden: Our newest outdoor garden, the National Garden features the Regional Garden of Mid-Atlantic native plants, the Rose Garden - all grown organically - devoted to the U.S. national flower, the Butterfly Garden and the First Ladies Water Garden."
- Bartholdi Park: Bartholdi Park, a favorite "secret" garden of Washingtonians, is across Independence Avenue from the Conservatory. Here visitors will find a tapestry of theme gardens surrounding the historic Bartholdi Fountain. The gardens suggest interesting plants and innovative designs at a scale suitable for the home landscape.
- Savage Gardens provided a special look into the captivating, and bizarre, world of carnivorous plants and their astounding adaptations to inhospitable habitats. Hungry for more? Don't miss the time lapse video of a sundew trapping a fruit fly.
- Slow Life is a window into the world of plants. It accelerates the time-scale of plants into our own frame of reference, speeding up their everyday lives to a pace that resonates with our own. This online guide to the lives of plants is based on the traveling exhibit developed by the U.S. Botanic Garden, Chicago Botanic Garden and Indiana University.
- The advent of book publishing ushered in an exuberant age of plant exploration and discovery. Plants in Print: The Age of Botanical Discovery, a collaboration between the U.S. Botanic Garden and the Chicago Botanic Garden, shares the rich history of botany and plant exploration with a nationwide audience.
- Titan Arum: Amorphophallus titanum is known as the Titan arum, or corpse flower, because at full bloom, the inflorescence is said to smell like a large rotting corpse. You'll find photos and information about the Titan arum that bloomed at the U.S. Botanic Garden in 2003.