American Public Gardens Association
2019 Conference
Washington D.C. June 17-21, 2019

Planting the Nation's Gardens: Behind-the-Scenes Production Greenhouses Tour
Event Type: 
Date / Time: 
Friday, June 21, 2019 - 11:40am to 5:00pm
Smithsonian Greenhouses, United States Botanic Garden Production Facility
Guest Cost: 
Pre-Registration Required: 

Fuel up on a catered lunch at the Smithsonian Greenhouses in Suitland, Maryland, before delving into the production greenhouses that are behind the beauty of the nation’s capital. The 53,000-square-foot Smithsonian Gardens Greenhouse Facility serves as the base of production and maintenance for plant and living collection material for the gardens and horticultural exhibits throughout the Smithsonian Institution, including the Smithsonian Orchid Collection, tropical plant specimens, and a greenhouse dedicated to nectar plants used for the Butterfly Pavilion at the National Museum of Natural History.

The tour will highlight recent upgrades, including high intensity LED grow lights that simulate bright summer days during the depths of winter and a 10,000-gallon rainwater harvesting system that provides chemical-free water for the Smithsonian’s Orchid Collection. This diverse collection of 6,000 specimens received accreditation from the Association’s Plant Collections Network in 2014, making it the first member of the Orchidaceae tropical species curatorial group. Then visit the United States Botanic Garden (USBG) Production Facility, to learn about the history of the greenhouse, the greenhouse ranges and facilities, and interact with staff and volunteers. Featuring almost two acres of greenhouses, the USBG Production Facility is the largest support facility for a public garden in the United States. Thirty-four greenhouse bays house thousands of specimens representing collections that include economic and medicinal plants, orchids, carnivorous plants, and desert plants. Highlights also include growing facilities for seasonal crops and future horticultural displays and exhibits. Explore unique and unusual plants and witness gardeners and horticulturists in action. 

Please Note: This is a working greenhouse facility. Comfortable walking shoes and sun protection are highly recommended.

IMPORTANT: This tour will eventually end up at Brookside Gardens. It will not be returning to the conference hotel.

Departure: Tours depart outside the Blue Room Prefunction on the East side of the conference hotel. Please arrive no earlier than 15 minutes prior to departure time.

Additionally, the Association will not be able to accommodate participants driving their own vehicles to/from offsite locations. All attendees must board the bus at the hotel and return with the group at the scheduled times.