A section of the orchid collection in a Smithsonian greenhouse (Smithsonian Gardens)
Please Note: This tour has a rescheduled date (originally March 19, 2020).
The Smithsonian Gardens greenhouse facility is situated on ten acres in Suitland, Maryland, and serves as the permanent home of Smithsonian Gardens’ Greenhouse Nursery Operations. The greenhouses provide plant material for the gardens and horticultural exhibits throughout the Smithsonian.
To kick off your exploration, enjoy a discussion with Smithsonian horticulturist Vickie Dibella en route to the greenhouses. During your behind-the-scenes tour, discover what it takes to keep the many gardens and interior plant displays looking their best all year round. The 10-acre facility includes growing areas, exterior storage, and greenhouses devoted to tropical plants, interior display plants, and nectar plants used for the Butterfly Pavilion at the Natural History Museum. Learn how staff care for the acres of annual bedding plants destined for the Smithsonian’s gardens, as well as the huge tropical specimens that hibernate for the winter at the greenhouses.
Get a close-up look at the thousands of plants that make up the Smithsonian Orchid Collection, and delight your senses with their various fragrances, colors, sizes, and shapes. Find out about the environmental control systems needed to nurture the many plants in the Smithsonian Gardens system, and get a preview of the blooms and plants that will add their color to the Smithsonian’s spring displays.
NOTE: This tour departs and returns by bus to the front of the S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW.