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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid