What's Happening at Smithsonian Gardens

Exhibits and Events

Farnham Garden

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. This traveling exhibit traces the rise of outdoor living through vivid photographs, landscape architecture plans, and popular culture imagery from magazines, advertisements, and how-to books.

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

Orchids: Interlocking Science and Beauty

Orchids: Interlocking Science and Beauty

Smithsonian Gardens and the United States Botanic Garden will open the 20th annual orchid exhibition, “Orchids: Interlocking Science and Beauty,” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015 (closes April 26, 2015.)

This year's exhibition will explore the rich crossroads where orchid botany, horticulture, and technology connect. Featuring orchids from the Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection and the United States Botanic Garden Orchid Collection, the exhibit looks at how new ideas, technologies, and inventions change the way we study, protect, and enjoy orchids. Each new innovation is like a puzzle piece: it fills in gaps in our knowledge and creates a larger and more complex picture of orchids.

Learn more about the exhibition

The Lost Bird Project

The Lost Bird Project

Smithsonian Gardens and Smithsonian Institution Libraries are pleased to present The Lost Bird Project, an outdoor exhibit by artist Todd McGrain. Five large-scale bronze sculptures of extinct North American birds are on display in the Enid A. Haupt Garden and the Urban Bird Habitat through March 15, 2015.

Learn more about The Lost Bird Project

Mary Livingston Ripley Garden

Smithsonian Gardens Events

  • Weekly Garden Tours are available from May through September (weather permitting). No tours on federal holidays.