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.
May 21 - October 2, 2016
Conservatory East Gallery and Terrace
From a walk in the woods to strolling through a park, and from gardening at home to visiting a public garden, therapeutic horticulture, nature therapy, and accessible gardening connect people to nature and themselves. Come learn how nature can improve human health and wellbeing. Demonstrated through accessible gardens, adaptive tools, engaging programs, and vignettes showcasing the intersection of humans and nature, a visit to the Garden will highlight how people flourish through interactions with plants. This exhibit, developed in consultation with the Horticultural Therapy Department of the Chicago Botanic Garden, will excite and motivate visitors to find their place in nature!
February 18 - October 2, 2016
Conservatory West Gallery
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, this art exhibit showcases some of the plant species and communities found throughout the more than 400 national park sites. From giant redwoods and aspen forests to endangered Virginia spiraea and water lilies, the national parks contain a diverse representation of the North American flora. Reproductions of illustrations, paintings, and photographs take you on a tour of the beauty and importance of the American flora.
November 24 - January 2, 2017
Immerse yourself in the sights, smells, and sounds of the season in our annual holiday show Season’s Greenings. See thousands of blooms from exotic orchids to a showcase of heirloom and newly developed poinsettia varieties. Throughout the Conservatory, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, including displaying one of the largest indoor trees decked out with ornaments from national parks. In this year’s model train show, the trains will chug around, below, through, and above plant-based recreations of iconic national parks and historic places. See the Grand Canyon, Old Faithful Inn, the Gateway Arch, Mount Vernon, the Statue of Liberty, and many more. Our collection of D.C. landmarks, all made from natural materials, will return to fill the Garden Court. Join us as we celebrate the holidays and America’s natural and cultural treasures.
- 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.
- 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. In addition to the July 2013 blooming titan arum, the U.S. Botanic Garden has displayed these amazing blooming plants in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
- 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.
- Orchids: Interlocking Science and Beauty at the National Museum of Natural History was the 2015 joint Smithsonian Gardens and U.S. Botanic Garden annual orchid exhibit. The 2015 exhibit explored how new ideas, technologies, and inventions are changing the way we study, protect, and enjoy orchids.
- Plants in Culture (West Gallery, 2001-2015) emphasized the countless ways in which plants enrich human life. Sensory displays feature plants in therapy, ornamentation, music, ceremony, language and many other expressions of culture.
- Exposed: The Secret Life of Roots (February 21 - October 13, 2015). Plant roots are vital components of the earth’s ecosystem. They are necessary for plant growth, including the production of food and nutrients for humans and many other organisms. However, as root systems are out of sight, their beauty and importance often go unnoticed. This exhibit used the work of agricultural ecologist Dr. Jerry Glover, sculptor Steve Tobin, and photographer Jim Richardson to showcase the importance of roots through visually stunning root representations.
- Illustrating Hidden Treasures: Botanical Art by Wendy Hollender (West Gallery, September 1 - October 25, 2015) explored the belowground structures of plants through the botanical art of Wendy Hollender. On display in the West Gallery were several pieces by this celebrated artist who owns her own farm in the Catskills where she lives, farms, and draws.
- Season's Greenings. Our annual holiday show opens on Thanksgiving Day and runs through the weekend after New Year's Day every year. It features our collection of DC landmarks (such as the U.S. Capitol, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial) made from plant materials, a model train show where the trains chug through a wonderland of buildings made from plant materials, one of the largest indoor decorated trees in the area, and a large display of poinsettia varities.
- Orchids in Focus was the 2016 joint USBG-Smithsonian Gardens annual orchid exhibit. Orchids in Focus showcased how these exotic beauties have inspired artists and photographers for centuries and allowed visitors to immerse themselves in a floral paradise of orchids from the forest canopy down to the ground, and focus their own camera on these unique and beautiful plants. Learn more