Thursday, October 17, 2013

America's Garden

It's Carole's favorite place to visit in Washington DC.

This is the view of the United States Botanic Garden from Bartholdi Square across the street to the south. Normally, the square is a meeting place with food vendors but on the day we visited DC, the warm summer rain had prohibited the vendors from showing up.

The garden consists of two parts, an interior and and exterior area. Within these areas are different sections which show off the varied climate of the United States.

Sculpture abounds around the outside. We were greeted by a giant earwig.

While I understand the earwig's part in maintaining a good garden habitat, I squish them every chance I get. Sorry Mother Nature. There are just some insects; June Bugs, Mayflies, mosquitoes and earwigs come to mind; that I really wonder why we can't just exterminate them all as they don't seem to serve a useful purpose.

The garden outside has a rose garden and it's the first place you encounter if you enter via Independence Avenue. There are more than just roses in this garden.

I don't remember the name of this striking Asiatic lily.

There is a regional garden which was marked by an explanation of bees.

The plaque at the lower right in the photo, didn't explain, as well as it could have, the hugely important role of bees in pollinating the nation's food supply. Colony collapse disorder is a major problem, leading to a lack of bees. Butterflies, moths and bats simply can't step up and fill in. It's probably not the place of the national garden to point out how habitat destruction and the use of pesticides could make it exceedingly difficult, in years ahead, to supply food without pollinators.

There is a stream that runs through this outdoor garden.

The murmur of the water made this an exceptionally peaceful place. As the garden is free admission, if I worked in the hecticness of nearby office buildings, I could see this as being a place of refuge from that breakneck pace.

There is also a small pond.

Benches are strategically placed to allow one to better enjoy what is crafted here within walking distance of Congress. In the background is a small amphitheater where presentations about gardens are given.

From here, we walked to the main building past this interesting fountain.

You go up the steps and to the left, walking under an arbor. In this area, we found a butterfly.

This area has been developed as a butterfly garden. Due to the rain, there were no butterflies around. There was a very ornate sundial. I really like the addition of the hours in Roman numerals. I wonder if someone adjusts the dial for daylight savings time or if they just leave it.

Scattered about this section were these benches. I would love to have one on my deck.

What do you think? $200 for this?

We went inside the building. It contains two courtyards and 10 separate rooms under glass. When you walk into the front area, you see this intricate compass on the floor.

You are surrounded by trees, two stories tall.

You can go right, left or straight and be assured of seeing everything within 45 minutes.

There's a room for orchids and medicinal plants. There's a room illustrating desert ecology.

The children's garden, one of the two courtyard areas, contained a lovely hummingbird sculpture.

This is where the "typical" garden plants were found.

In the room showing off Hawaii's unique ecology, misters were everywhere.

It was a humid day in DC to begin with but it's not enough to help these plants thrive.

The main building, the large structure seen in the very first photo, is the jungle room.

There were palms and all sorts of flowering plants native to a jungle environment. There is a second floor walkway. We didn't go up there as it seemed to be where most people were going and was quite crowded.

This is a lovely place, not too big and not too small. A great deal of care has been given to creating gardens exemplifying unique climates. This is a place where spending a day with a camera is not out of the question. I'll bet it's incredibly beautiful at Christmas.

Beverage:  Lady Grey Tea


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