National Botanical Garden
The United States Botanic Garden (USBG) is a botanic garden run by the
Congress of the United States (not the Smithsonian). It is located in
Washington, D.C., on the U.S. Capitol Grounds campus near Garfield Circle.
The building itself, which includes a large Lord & Burnham greenhouse,
is divided into separate rooms, each one simulating a different habitat.
In 1838, Charles Wilkes set out on an explorative mission commissioned by
Congress to circumnavigate the globe. During this trip, Wilkes collected
live and dried specimens of plants. The expedition returned in 1842 with a
massive collection of plants previously unknown in the United States.
The live specimens and seeds came to be housed in the Old Patent Office greenhouse,
and were cared for there until 1850. At that time, a botanic garden was built
to house the collection, and existed in front of the Capitol; this location
is now home to a reflecting pool. In 1933, the building was moved to its
present location, just to the southwest of the Capitol.
The Garden Conservatory consists of 10 "rooms" and two courtyards: the Garden
Court, Rare and Endangered Plants, Plant Exploration, the Orchid House,
Medicinal Plants, the Desert, the Oasis, the Garden Primeval, Plant Adaptation
and the Jungle, and the Children's Garden and Meditation Garden (Southern Exposure)
Courtyards. Each of these rooms highlights the uniqueness of plants in some way,
or teaches about the goals of the USBG. The largest room is the Jungle, which
also has a 2nd story catwalk, so that the jungle canopy may be observed from
both below and above.
None of the garden is air-conditioned, save the Oasis and the Administrative
offices. Each room is closely monitored by 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.
For more information see links below
Botanical Gardens Home Page
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