Cultivating America's Gardens

Cultivating America's Gardens
May 4, 2017 – August 2018

Cultivating America’s Gardens, at the National Museum of American History, give visitors a snapshot of the history and culture of the American garden from its earliest beginnings to present day.

Learn more about the exhibit

People enjoying a the Smithsonian Victory garden

A Mini-Summer Night’s Dream

September 16, 2017 10am – noon
Victory Garden, East side of the National Museum of American History

Join Smithsonian Gardens and Shakespeare Theatre Company in the Victory Garden for a lively morning with the “Bard.” Before the performance, create a nature-inspired mask to wear during the garden-friendly mini-classic. Click to learn more.

Food in the Garden

Food In the Garden

August 10 and August 17: FOOD in the Garden 6:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m. * Second Floor
Join us outdoors in the museum's newest garden space on the second floor terrace this summer for two evenings of food, drinks, and dynamic conversation exploring the connection between gardens, crops, people, and more. Click here to purchase tickets to this event.

Community of Gardens Community of Gardens

Smithsonian Gardens is excited to announce the mobile app companion to the Community of Gardens digital archive, now available for Apple devices (Android coming soon). Community of Gardens is the Smithsonian’s digital home for sharing and preserving the stories of gardens and the gardeners who make them grow. Explore stories from around the country, and share your story today!

Download Community of Gardens
Mobile App

Let's Talk

Weekly Garden Talks

Thursdays 12:15-12:45 p.m.
May through September
East Walk of the Smithsonian’s Enid A. Haupt Garden

Turn your thumb green! Join Smithsonian Gardens’ horticulturists for a series of free lunchtime talks and demonstrations on gardening basics.

Click here to learn more

Ripley Garden

Love the Gardens? Donate now!

Giving to Smithsonian Gardens makes things grow. Exhibitions. Education. Collections. Beautiful, exhilarating spaces that provide delight and inspiration to millions of visitors. Your tax-deductible gift helps us develop green thumbs, green spaces and green ideas.

Learn more about donating to Smithsonian Gardens

SITES Exhibition

Patios, Pools, & the Invention of the American Backyard

In the 1950s, America was a nation emerging from the shadow of World War II, searching for ways to enjoy its newfound peace and prosperity. The baby boom, a growing middle class, the do-it-yourself movement, and a dramatic rise in home ownership remade much of the U.S. and, surprisingly, contributed to the development of the suburban backyard.

Patios, Pools, & the Invention of the American Backyard is a collaboration between Smithsonian Gardens’ Archives of American Gardens and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

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Our Gardens

Mary Livingston Ripley GardenAn integral part of the Smithsonian Institution (SI), the Smithsonian Gardens creates and manages the Smithsonian’s outdoor gardens, interiorscapes, and horticulture-related collections and exhibits. Established in 1972 to manage the museum grounds, Smithsonian Gardens extends the museums’ exhibits and learning environment in a public garden setting while shaping visitors’ overall experience of the Smithsonian.

Learn More About Our Gardens

Exhibit - Garden Inspirations

Garden Inspirations

Drawing inspiration from images in the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Gardens, these miniature landscapes are small-scale works of art designed to spur creativity.  What garden elements inspire you?  Think about colors, textures, scents, or features that you would like to add to your own garden.

Exhibit starts September 3, 2016 and runs through September 3, 2017 in the Ripley Center Concourse.

American Alliance of Museums
Smithsonian Gardens is an American Alliance of Museums Accredited Museum. Learn More about the accreditation process.


Book Cover

Smithsonian Gardens is pleased to announce the publication of its first gardening book Encyclopedia of Garden Plants for Every Location featuring more than 3,000 plant recommendations to handle a variety of garden conditions and achieve amazing effects.

Garden Internships

The Smithsonian Gardens provides an exceptionally well-rounded array of experiences in its intern program thanks to the wide diversity of services it offers to the Smithsonian.

Weekly garden tours

Are available from May through September

Weather permitting for all tours, no tours on federal holidays