Sunday, December 10, 2023

Not the DC you expect to see...

 I was lucky enough to attend a conference in Washington DC last week. As always, it is a great experience.  I was able to tour the Capitol. 

I'm sure these are the pictures you expect to see. 

Lots of cement and stone.  
But the truth is what I enjoyed most, wandering through the Smithsonian Gardens.
This is Janet.  She has been a gardener in DC for 27 years.  Her garden is the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden and it was by far my favorite. She is a lovely lady and she was more than willing to take the time to answer my questions. 
We had a wonderful visit about winter gardening in her zone 8.  All of the Smithsonian Gardens rely on the wonderful and hardy viola to provide winter colors.
Since violas are my favorite flowers, I loved to see them as the cornerstone in all of the gardens.

Her garden was tiny, but by far the most wildlife friendly. She had it filled with many interesting plants, little chalkboard messages, and something special wherever you looked.
 She still had water in the bird baths. I wasn't able to capture a bird using them, but I promise every time I wandered by one there was a bird in it. 

She created a wonderful bug hotel.  It was the only one I  saw and there were plenty of gardens to wander through. 

A friend of hers created this beautiful bird house.  It is so original.  She had two metal  birdhouses in the garden and said both were used despite the summer heat.

She created this adorable gnome display below and was working on a second one when I left.  If you look up the Smithsonian Gardens on Instagram she should be posting how to create them soon.
She made the gnomes hats herself and credited 4-H with teaching her to sew.
I found some interesting plants and planting combinations that I look forward to trying. This chrysanthemum 'Cathy's Rust' is beautiful. 
If you get a chance, I recommend going to the Smithsonian Gardens on Instagram.   You can see Janet in action.   She is a wonderful lady and I enjoyed my visit with her immensely.

 I also visited the Enid A. Haupt Garden, the Native Landscape at the National Museum of the American Indian, and the People's Garden. 

The Moon Garden entrance and part of the Sign of the Dragonfly garden. 

Wind Sculpture VII' (2116) by Yinka Shonibare -- National Museum of African Art. This was absolutely beautiful.  He really captured the spirit of the wind.
I even saw people planting in the People's Garden.  Originally launched in 2009 by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, The People’s Garden was named in honor of Abraham Lincoln who created the USDA and called it the “People’s Department” (from the People's Garden website). This initiative was used to fund the gardens at our school. 
There you go, that was my tour of DC.  I am certain I will go again and honestly I will probably plan to visit every garden possible.   While none of the museums opened until 10:00, the gardens were available quite early. 

Have you visited the gardens at our nation's Capital?  If so which were you favorite.   If I visit your area what public garden would you recommend?


  1. I've been to Washington a number of times, but never to the gardens. I will add them to my list for my next visit, yet unscheduled.

  2. I have never seen the gardens thank you for the link and taking us on a tour

  3. Janet's garden is beautiful. The stripy viola is striking.

  4. I worked in DC from1973-1985 and visited gardens often. Not all of the ones you visited were there then but living in MD until 2020 when we moved to NH I had a chance to visit lots of gardens there. Did you get to the Botanical Garden near the Capitol?

    1. I'm afraid I did not have time, but Botanical Garden is on the list.

  5. That was wonderful, Thank you for the tour!


Sit on my porch and let's chat. Due to the amount of spam I am closing my comments to Anonymous users. Sorry.