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The Smithsonian Greenhouses and How They Grow
Afternoon Tour

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Code: 1NHB02

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A section of the orchid collection in a Smithsonian greenhouse (Smithsonian Gardens)

Please Note: This tour has a rescheduled date (originally March 21, 2018).

This tour is also available on:

The plant materials for the beautiful gardens and horticultural exhibits throughout the Smithsonian have their roots in 10 acres of greenhouses in Suitland, Maryland. Though the work of Smithsonian Gardens’ Greenhouse Nursery Operations is highly visible to visitors on the Mall, they rarely have the opportunity to view the facility itself.

Go behind the scenes at Smithsonian Gardens’ greenhouses to see where the magic begins.  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 spring blooms that will add color to the Smithsonian’s seasonal displays.

Tour begins and ends at the S. Dillon Ripley
Center, 1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian