Friday, August 11, 2017

The Smithsonian Gardens: Heirloom Garden and Victory Garden

The 2017 Capitol Region Fling proper only spent a few hours on the National Mall — attendees need to prioritize or rush to see the many Smithsonian Gardens and the National Botanic Garden. However since Andrew and I planned an extra day back at "the Mall" on Monday, I knew I didn't have to rush. These two gardens, the one surrounding the National Museum of American History (aka the "Heirloom Garden") and the Victory Garden, are ones I saw after the Fling had ended...

Wowsa! Not my style but this is amazing...

I could lose myself just staring for hours as the grass waved in the breeze.

Then I saw this Furcraea about the size of my old VW Bug. And I am not only slightly exaggerating!

It was amazing.

A planting up near the doors to the museum...

Agave!

Furcraea from a distance...

And more sweet plantings that had me swooning, even though they included Petunias!

On to the Victory Garden...

Well what's that I spy over yonder? In the V is for VEGETABLE garden?

Yep. Another Agave (A. americana)...

I was surprised the vines (this one a runner bean perhaps?) hadn't climbed further up the ladders. Hopefully they got with the program in July (our visit was in late June).

Cabbage 'Mammoth Red'

Cabbage 'Savoy Perfection'

Cardoons? Artichokes? I never can tell the difference. Probably Artichokes though since this is a veggie garden...

Sweet Hibiscus buds...

And blooms! That's it for now, but so much more from the National Mall yet to come...

Weather Diary, Aug 10: Hi 90, Low 62/ Precip 0 (day 54)

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

31 comments:

  1. Oh wow, those Furcraea (looks like there were 2?) and the containers are swell. We need larger gardens, unlimited resources, and, of course, a staff to take care of things while we sit in the shade and sip Bloody Marys for breakfast (mimosas on weekends) mojitos for lunch, (a little wine in between for good measure) and martinis for dinner.

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    1. Yes, there were two Furcraea. Your libations menu has me wondering if you've read this: http://www.foodandwine.com/syndication/queen-elizabeth-drinks-cocktails-every-day?utm_campaign=foodandwine&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&xid=soc_socialflow_facebook_fw

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  2. Love those initial images. I was watching a little swath of solid green Hakonechloa blow in my garden recently and decided to pull out some Jp. painted ferns and replace them with the Hakonecholoa. That Furcraea is unbelievable esp. in the distance photo.

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    1. It's remarkably difficult to find the solid green Hakonechloa here these days, everyone seems to have fallen for 'Aureola'.

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  3. I love that first couple of shots of the Stipa with coneflowers and Liatris. There's something to be said for restrained mass plantings like that. I believe you about the size of the Furcraea, given how very visible it still is from so far away. Cardoons are edible -- not the flower, but the leaf stalk. But I think I agree with you that those are artichokes, the leaves don't look big enough for cardoons. Thanks for sharing your photos from your extra day!

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    1. I can't imagine the appeal of eating Cardoon leaves, they just don't look tasty.

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    2. I believe you eat the stalk, just the center of the leaf, like celery, and cut off and throw away the leafy part.

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  4. "Even though they include Petunias." lol

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    1. What can I say? It's a long standing bias.

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  5. Loved the plant combinations - the grass and gold echinacea were wonderful!

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  6. I do believe after this Fling that the Smithsonian gardens are now a happy place for me.

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    1. I had no idea, prior to the Fling, just how good they were!

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  7. any idea what grass that is?

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    1. Nassella (formerly Stipa) tenuissima. Depending on where you live it can be on the invasive side of things.

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  8. I'm reminded that cabbages are just the prettiest things.

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  9. Thanks for sharing these gardens - I missed both of them. Stipa tenuissima can't be beat for adding movement in a garden but even so I'm beginning to regret planting it. In my climate at least, it's hard to control and it looks best in early spring when the it's not seeding up a storm - in summer it has to be combed frequently to prevent it from looking like a bleached blonde with big hair. If that Furcraea impressed you, you must check out the one at Sherman Gardens when you make your next SoCal trip - it's the biggest I've ever seen.

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    1. Yes that grass can be a thug for some. I thought that might be the case for me, planting it in gravel, but I've not had a problem. There were some massive Furcraea at Balboa Park, but I think this one really stood out because of the huge planters. I do hope to make it to Sherman Gardens!

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  10. Thanks so much for this. I've been reading about American History's new garden, but I haven't managed to find any good photos of it until now. The people at Smithsonian Gardens are masters; the SI gardens are probably the best in D.C.

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    1. After seeing them I would agree, the Smithsonian Gardens are wonderful!

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  11. If only that first picture's sign area lawn was replaced by the planting design in the following pics...wow. Just imagine if that was the case.

    A fine collection of containerized spikes, outside for summer and positioned well. But the children (!) - kidding of course.

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    1. Yes there was still a lot of lawn, some of it necessary for the gatherings that take place on the Mall and surrounding spaces, but certainly not all of it.

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  12. Well I didn't see any of this so I'm glad you shared it Loree. Stipa wasn't too bad for me either, I'd see an occasional seedling and they were easy to pull. Well, that combo with the (gasp!) petunias ,Ipomea and the cone flowers is really nice ! I don't blame you at all for the swooning behavior.

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    1. Good to know I have swooning company.

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  13. Oh, I missed both these gardens. The Stipa and Echinacea combo is wonderful. Wish we could overwinter those soft, flowy grasses. And while I'm not a huge fan of petunias, I never want to rule out any plant as a possibility – and that vignette with the petunias, sweet potato vine and dark elephant ears (Colocasia?) is excellent.

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    1. Yes, Colocasia. And yes, I suppose it's always good to remember to keep an open mind about all plants.

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  14. Wow, I'm really sorry we skipped the Heirloom Garden. We saw the Victory Garden and thought it was nice, but not fabulous.

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    1. My husband Andrew had sent me a photo of the garden at the front of the National Museum of American History so pulled by the Agave I made the trek. I am glad I did!

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