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

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    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.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.