This past week I had the very fortunate opportunity to tour the brand new, Congress-granted, Smithsonian Greenhouse complex. They were completed this last summer and greenhouse operations moved in July. The temperature and humidity of each house are computer regulated with ceiling bays responding as necessary. The plants however, are all cared for individually, by hand.
It is pansy season there - 4 houses filled with pansies. Then there are the Orchid houses, the Butterfly Garden house, the Interior plant/Tropicals houses, and the Propagation house. This will diversify more as spring rolls around. All the seeding for the victory and heritage garden are started at the greenhouse, and all the spring bedding plants are produced here too.
I am going to single out some pictures individually to make note of a few specifics I really enjoyed, and then there will be a whole slide-show at the end.
Being the organics buff that I am (:-) you can imagine my excitement to see the staff Horticulturists using beneficial predators to control pest populations. Here are some predatory beetles on orchids and predatory mite on some tropicals. The predatory mites are microscopic so it's going to looks like some leaves hanging on some other leaves, but really it's some fine nature in action.
The greenhouses manage all the Interior Plants used at Information Desks in Smithsonian buildings and then have a house of LARGE specimens that are available for rent for private Smithsonian events. I love the latter in particular because there is just something about large trees indoors that makes me feel right at home.
The last picture I am going to single out is a bit random, but exciting none-the-less. I was really excited to see this sign on the back of the bathroom stall door. Way to conserve some water Smithsonian!
Here is the rest of the slideshow. It includes pictures of the chocolate-smelling orchid and a sweet bonsai.
Many thanks to staff who showed me around and answered all my questions. I stayed for hours and would have stayed for longer but it was the end of the day:-)
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