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.)

Orchid Family Day
Visitors of all ages are invited to explore the world of orchids up close and hands on at the Orchid Family Festival in the Evans Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History Saturday, Feb. 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Presented in conjunction with “Orchids: Interlocking Science and Beauty,” this free event will feature activities that will bring the exhibition to life. Visitors will be able to make their own miniature Wardian case (an early type of a terrarium), create field journals for orchid observations and fashion beautiful orchid corsages to wear. Orchid experts from Smithsonian Gardens and the U.S. Botanic Garden will be available to answer questions and talk about the orchids from their collections.

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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.