Tuesday, December 2, 2014

US Botanic Garden Holiday Display - A Hidden Gem

The US Botanic Garden is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year but during the Christmas season it is particularly nice to see. The entire front section of the building; the East Gallery, the Garden Court and the West Gallery is decorated for the holidays.

Pink Poinsettia planter at the US Botanic Garden in DC

The East Gallery

Since 2004 the US Botanic Garden has created special theme displays for the holidays, to the delight of both children and adults. The 2014 theme is lighthouses from the U.S., 33 miniature replicas are displayed in meticulously designed landscape settings. And, if you like model trains then you will also enjoy this because within the displays numerous train models are running. Here is a small video of one of the trains.

Miniature lighthouse display at the US Botanic Garden in Washington DC
A miniature lighthouse on display at the US Botanic Garden

Holiday display at the US Botanic Garden featuring Lighthouses in the United States
US Botanic Holiday display featuring lighthouses in the United States

MIniature lighthouse on display at the US Botanic Garden

One interesting aspect of the holiday display is how they are fabricated. A closer look at each of the miniature lighthouses on display show they are all made from dried plant material. The most commonly used plant materials include pine cones scales, willows, screw pods, grapevine tendrils and acorn caps. They are amazingly beautiful, rich in detail and take hours to make from talented artists.

Holiday display at the US Botanic Garden
Landscape scene at the US Botanic Garden featuring miniature lighthouses in the United States

The Garden Court

The front mid-section of the building is decorated with beautiful pink poinsettias and miniature replicas of historical buildings around the National Mall such as the Smithsonian Castle, the US Supreme Court, the Capitol, the White House, the Jefferson memorial, and the Washington Monument among others. Again, these are all made from dried plant materials that will leave you amazed because they are so beautiful and rich in detail. The miniature historical buildings are on display every year during the holidays.

Big bear holding a pink poinsettia sculpture made from plants.
Sculpture as seen at the US Botanic Garden - Garden Court section

Miniature sculpture of the Supreme Court
Supreme Court miniature replica

Smithsonian Castle miniature replica seen at the US Botanic Garden
Smithsonian Castle miniature replica made with plant material

Capitol building miniature replica as seen at the US Botanic Garden
Capitol building miniature replica made from plant material

Washington Monument miniature replica at the US Botanic Garden
Washington Monument miniature replica at the US Botanic Garden

The West Gallery

This section holds interactive displays focused on the senses such as smell. A series of pots hold spices and herbs from all over the world for you to sniff. This area also holds a large Christmas tree nicely decorated and with a model train running at its base.

Christmas tree at the US Botanic Garden - West Gallery

The Conservatory - other areas

Of course, while you are there, take some time to see the rest of the Botanical Garden. There is a fabulous Jungle section with a canopy walk where you can admire the beauty of the tropical vegetation from above. Other sections show vegetation from Hawaii, the World Deserts, and one dedicated to just Orchids which is gorgeous. I am always inspired and in awe after seeing the wonderful plants they grow.

Orchid flower as seen at the US Botanic Garden

While there are many places to visit during the holidays in Washington DC, I must say the United States Botanical Garden is one of the my favorites. It is FREE, less crowded, and the holiday display is different each year. I recommend it, you will enjoy it.

After you visit, let me know what you think?

Wishing you all Happy Travels in your Neighborhood.

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