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

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs