News / USA

US Botanic Garden Wows Holiday Visitors

US Botanic Garden Wows Holiday Visitorsi
X
December 10, 2013 6:51 PM
Each year, the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, DC, captures the spirit of the holidays with winter displays, called Seasons Greenings, which delight visitors of all ages. VOA reporter Julie Taboh visited the seasonal exhibit and has this report.
It’s winter in Washington and its cold outside. But inside the U.S. Botanic Garden, in the heart of the nation’s capital, the temperature’s warm and the holiday spirit is high.

Each year, the huge greenhouse is decorated with seasonal displays that have charmed visitors for almost a decade.

Executive director Holly Shimizu said the winter exhibit, “Seasons Greenings,” is one of the garden's most popular attractions “because it helps get people in the holiday spirit.”

Natural wonders

Highlights of the exhibit include artistic representations of landmark monuments and buildings in Washington that look like replicas of the real thing.

Nestled among colorful Poinsettias and other seasonal greenery, there are model-like structures such as the White House; Washington Monument, complete with blinking red lights; Lincoln Memorial with a miniature President Lincoln inside; and an interpretation of the U.S. Capitol, which is just a few steps away from the gardens.

The US Botanic Garden's replicas of the US Supreme Court (front) and the US Capitol. Both representations are made from natural materials such as pine cones, willow and grapevines. (J. Taboh/VOA)The US Botanic Garden's replicas of the US Supreme Court (front) and the US Capitol. Both representations are made from natural materials such as pine cones, willow and grapevines. (J. Taboh/VOA)
“”It’s all about the details and the mysteries and surprise when you come to this show,” said Shimizu.

But what really makes the structures special, she says, is that they’re all made from natural plant materials.

“You can notice that things like leaves are used and acorns from the oak trees and some of the wood from the willow tree,” she said. “These are gathered in the woods by the artists that make these incredible structures.”  

The structures are very detailed and painstakingly created; the representation of the U.S. Capitol took more than 600 hours to complete.

“We also have one of the Smithsonian buildings and we have the Supreme Court," said Shimizu. "We have the Library of Congress; many of the buildings that a visitor to Washington, D.C. would see when they came to Washington, lining the National Mall."

Nod to the past

Other holiday favorites include the model trains which run on more than 244 meters of track, passing structures replicated from past World’s Fairs, which happens to be this year’s theme. They include the Eiffel Tower from the 1889 Paris Fair and the Space Needle from Seattle's 1962 fair. 

“My favorite part was seeing the expressions on the children’s faces,” said Rachel Smalley, who visited from the state of Massachusetts, “and how mesmerized they are at watching that beautiful exhibit and of course all the natural materials that were used in building the monuments.” 

But Smalley has her own favorites too.

“I particularly like the indoor Christmas tree which is the largest in a public building in Washington…and of course the Poinsettias are just beautiful with all the colors.”  

Shimizu is pleased by visitors' positive reactions to the exhibit year after year, and also by its usefulness as a tool to remind people plants are critical to all aspects of our lives; for our food, medicine, clothing, home, and the environment.

“We’re always in the business of educating people about plants, and so we generally do tie in the role that plants play in our lives,” she said. “And that’s the message we want to reinforce whenever you come here.”

The U.S. Botanic Garden, located on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, was established by Congress in 1820 and is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid