My husband Julius and I spent October’s last weekend in Washington, DC. On Saturday we went to Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity (you can read my comments and see my photos on Imprint). On Sunday, Julius ran in the Marine Corps Marathon, which started and ended at the Iwo Jima monument in Arlington, VA. This was his sixth marathon, and the culmination of months of training and preparation. He got up at dawn to make the starting gun, and I had a few hours of free time before seeing him cross the finish line. I decided to pay a return visit to the United States Botanic Garden on the Capitol Mall.
The United States Botanic Garden opens at 10 am every day of the year, and on Halloween morning it was serene and quiet, even as the 8-minute-mile runners were racing by outside, accompanied by marching bands, drum corps, and cheering crowds. The weather was perfect, and I was able to enjoy an hour or so in the Conservatory before hopping on the Metro to Arlington. Like all museums on the Mall, the USBG is free, beautifully maintained, and offers a wide array of public programs and events.
I spent most of my time in the Rare and Endangered Species room, and got to know a few of this country’s threatened and endangered plants. In the adjacent rooms, the orchid display was breathtaking, with 200 plants in bloom out of a collection of about 5,000 specimens.
Visit the Garden from November 25 through January 2, and see the Season’s Greenings exhibit—it’s always as fun and impressive as any Fifth Avenue department store holiday display— which will celebrate the plant world and how humans use plants in holiday traditions. There will be extended hours and live evening musical performances ranging from choral groups to jazz, klezmer, and harp music.
And if you can’t make it, be sure to take the Garden’s online Virtual Tour.