United States Botanic Garden
Open year-round including federal holidays, the United States Botanic Garden houses over 12,000 unique species of plants. It’s components include the Conservatory, National Garden, and Bartholdi Park located on the southwest corner of the United States Capitol grounds with a production facility in Anacostia. Created in 1820, the collection still contains a few specimens from the Wilkes Expedition of 1842 including two Queen Sago palms. The Wilkes Expedition surveyed the Pacific Ocean and 280 islands with 60,000 plant and bird specimens collected for scientific study.
Renovated in 2001, the Conservatory greenhouse is the main facility of the Botanic Garden with 28,944 square feet of enclosed space, ten distinct habitats, and two courtyards. The ten garden rooms include the Garden Court, The Tropics, Garden Primeval, Hawaii, World Deserts, Medicinal Plants, Orchids, Mediterranean, Rare and Endangered Species, and Plant Adaptations. Visitors to the greenhouse first enter the Garden Court which has a rotating collection of seasonal plants and two adjacent fountains. During the winter season, the Garden Court features miniature replicas of DC’s monuments, memorials, and famous buildings. The Conservatory centers around the Tropics room which includes towering palms and a catwalk bringing visitors to the canopy level. The popular Orchids room is located in the southwest corner of the greenhouse and contains hundreds of varieties in full bloom. Among its collection, the Conservatory has notable species such as the titan arum which blooms on a n infrequent basis that can reach up to a decade. The large blooming inflorescence emits a strong odor to attract pollinators but lasts only a few days.
The National Garden is connected to the Conservatory’s west side and provides three acres of outdoor gardens. The walking paths divide the garden into sections that include the Rose Garden, Butterfly Garden, Regional Garden, First Ladies Water Garden, Lawn Terrace, and Amphitheater. Opened in 2006, the National Garden is the latest addition to the Botanic Garden.
Bartholdi Park parallels the Conservatory from the south side of Independence Avenue. The park features a Heritage Garden, Romantic Garden, Therapeutic Garden, Palette Garden, and seasonal displays that surround the Bartholdi Fountain. The park was established in 1932 and serves as a demonstration garden for amateur home gardeners.
The Conservatory greenhouse and National Garden are open 365 days a year from 10 am to 5 pm. The National Garden remains open an additional two hours until 7 pm from June through August. The Bartholdi Park is open from sunrise to sunset daily. Metro: The United States Botanic Garden is located between Federal Center SW and Capitol South metro stations which are both on the Orange, Silver, and Blue lines. It is a short walk from either station.