On Friday afternoon of the 2017 Garden Bloggers Fling, we descended upon the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to visit the Smithsonian Gardens. The day was hot and sticky, typical weather for this time of year.
The Washington Monument was visible on our left as the bus turned right, dropping us off in front of the Smithsonian Institution Castle.
With three hours to explore, many of us began by entering the castle and passing through to the back to view the Enid A. Haupt garden. My photos failed to capture the geometry and scale of the garden. The black iron edging seemed to grab all my attention.
The Mary Livingston Ripley Garden was oft-mentioned as one to be sure to see. Indeed the lush plantings were a delight.
On the left below is a Franklin tree, named after Benjamin Franklin. It has not been observed in the wild since early 1800s. It exists today due to propagation of seeds collected between 1773-1776 by William Bartram from the tree’s native location, a mere couple of acres along the Altamaha River valley in Georgia (southeast United States). When in bloom it is said to have white camellia-like flowers.
These contrasting textures were appealing.
This planter was sedately sophisticated. In the background yellow echinacea added a lively accent.
Echinacea was incorporated into many of the Fling gardens. The Ripley’s sunny Echinacea ‘Leilani’ is one I had not seen before.
The round edges of the Hirshhorn Museum are visible in the background, reminding me I would have enjoyed spending three days on the Mall revisiting museums. It had been many years since I was last in D.C.
As it was I detoured from the gardens to reconnect with some old friends at the National Gallery of Art. For me this was gardening for the soul. Notice how inspired these artists were by garden themes. (Click on an image for a full-view slideshow.)
As I headed back to meet up with the Flingers I passed one of several buildings added to the mall since my previous visit, National Museum of the American Indian. The architecture was so interesting, it would have been great to see inside but time was running short.
The U.S. Botanic Garden was the final stop before catching the bus back to the hotel. I had time only for a quick peek into the conservatory and a dash through the outer gardens.
By this time the clouds had burst into a brief shower. The evening brought cooler, drier weather that lasted for the rest of the Fling.
This is a great way to experience the Fling without the heat and humidity (do miss the human interaction though). What a fascinating building housing the Indian Museum.
We lucked out with nice weather the rest of the weekend. The Fling is definitely lots more fun in person. Everyone was so friendly.
We’re planning a trip down at the end of this month and your post has me excited! Sounds like you sure kept yourself busy trying to fit in as much as possible.
Oh, good. Hope you will have a great time. You’ll find plenty to enjoy.
I enjoyed your pics from the Gallery of Art, which I didn’t make it to. I did briefly visit the American Indian Museum, and you’re right, it’s a very cool building. Another three days would have been just right to see the museums!
Thanks Pam. Wish now I’d at least stuck my head inside the Am. Indian Museum, but mixing in a little art with the gardens was a perfect combination for me.
Those paintings of vases are inspiration for us!
Aren’t they lovely Cathy? Of course my photos can’t convey just how genius the paintings are. Really enjoyed seeing them again. If I hadn’t had time to do a design when I got home on Monday after the Fling, I was planning to show one of those vases.
I lived just outside of DC as a child and the sight of the Washington Monument is always a thrill, for obvious patriotic reasons and because it reminds me of a very special time in my early life. Since I’m in DC several times a year, I’m a frequent visitor to the Ripley Garden and the NatBG, but it would have been great fun to explore them with blogging friends. Thanks for sharing your impressions and for highlighting your “friends” at NGA.
Great memories. You would have been a great guide around the DC gardens.
Your tour was delightful…We ate at the Native American Museum cafe but, only saw a little bit of the art.
Thanks Gail. Visiting a place like DC inevitably means there’s more to see than there is time to do so–great reason to return. Bet that cafe was welcoming on such a humid day.
I also admired the architecture of the Native American Museum – as well as that combo of Echinacea with the otherwise “weedy” (but lovely) Queen Anne’s lace. Glad you enjoyed the Fling!
Thanks Helen, yes so happy to make it to the Fling this year. Is Queen Anne’s lace the same as Ammi majus? I often see English flower arrangers referring to Ammi.
Thanks for taking us on the tour. I spent a lot of time in the U.S. Botanical Garden, but perhaps, should’ve spent more time in the Livingston garden. I love that planter. It was just so hot, and I was tired so I moved along. 😀
It was difficult to split our time among so many amazing gardens. I felt the magical pull of each one. We were lucky the other days were less hot and humid.
It’s fun seeing the different highlights from different Flingers. Same place, different views – love it. Collecting a list of places to visit!
Eliza, I too am enjoying seeing the gardens through the eyes of fellow attendees. Some of the gardens were very large and we had very limited time to explore, so collectively we cobble together a more complete picture.
First, we had Vasers, now Flingers.
Where shall we go from here? Glad I made it to this Fling. Have you considered going? Next one is in May in Austin, home of the first Fling 10 years ago.
I missed this! Vase Flingers, of course. The Fling sounds like fun as does Austin.
Lovely planter with the metal globe. I really like that style! Great post and wonderful photos. I’m sad I missed meeting you this year–I hope to make it to next year’s Fling. 🙂
Beth, wish you could have been there.
Looks like you made the most of your time and that you certainly were able to enjoy the beautiful gardens. 🙂
It was exciting at every turn!
I loved that Echinacea ‘Leilani’, which I’d never seen before either. Sadly, Echinacea are mostly expensive annuals here – I have poor luck getting them to come back, perhaps due to our alkaline-leaning soil. I’m glad you made such great use of your side trip into the art museum. Given how hot it was, I think you made a great choice!
The Ripley garden was one of my favorites, your vignettes give a good feel for it. I also like how you capture the architecture of the American Indian Museum. Hard to forget how hot and humid that day was!
Thanks Jason. Nice to meet you and Judy. Would really like to see inside that museum sometime. Now you know what my summer is like in NC–very similar weather.
I am just catching up here, Susie! so glad it was all such a success. Would you believe, the Enid Haupt garden is where my daughter walks on her way to work every day and eats lunch out there whenever possible? Not bad, right??? They are just gorgeous indeed. I’ve never been to the Botanic Garden and must get there!
For all of your dashing around you got a lot of beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you Lisa. Everything was so photogenic in those lovely gardens.
I am determined to return to DC and spend 3 or 4 days exploring. A hotel walking distance to the mall, in fall when it’s cooler and the tourist traffic is down.
Sounds like a great plan. So much to see and do there.
The Mary Livingston Ripley Garden was so much fun to explore. I really enjoyed looking at the photos you took at the National Gallery of Art. Such a lovely grouping of inspiring garden paintings. I already want to travel back to DC and tour all of the places I didn’t see. You took such beautiful photos, thanks for sharing!
Thanks Angie. I’d like to get back to DC soon too. Our Fling whetted my appetite to see more gardens and art.