Come Visit Us

Smithsonian Gardens invites you to come and explore our outdoor gardens, designed to complement the museums they border and enhance your overall museum experience of learning, appreciation, and enjoyment. Please visit our blog.

Haupt Garden Haupt Garden Closeup Haupt Garden Urn Ripley Garden Ripley Garden 2 Victory Garden Haupt Garden Fountain
Community of Gardens logo

Community of Gardens

Community of Gardens is a digital, participatory archive hosted by Smithsonian Gardens and created by public input. By contributing images, videos, and stories to this website, your participation will help others to better understand the meaning and value of gardens to American life – today and in the future. 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 Community of 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.

Learn more about this exhibit

Orchid Image

Moment - 2017 Orchid Exhibit opens January 14 to May 14, 2017

The 2017 Orchid Exhibit, a collaborative effort between Smithsonian Gardens, U.S. Botanic Garden, and Smithsonian Exhibits, will be held in the Hirshhorn Museum for the very first time. Exhibit designers from the Hirshhorn will create artistic structures for showcasing the orchids that will enable visitors to move through the display and experience their own personal moment.  

Click here to learn more about our Orchid Collection

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

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

Come Learn!

Hands with BugsOur mission at Smithsonian Gardens is to enrich the Smithsonian experience by extending the museum experience into an outdoor living classroom. We hope that the gardens tours and events in our gardens as well as our activity packages will help youth to exercise both their mind and body in the gardens around the Smithsonian and ultimately in their own community.

Explore Our Educational Materials

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 October

Weather permitting for all tours, no tours on federal holidays