Come Visit Us

Smithsonian Gardens invites you to come and explore our outdoor gardens, designed to complement the museums they border and enhance your overall museum experience of learning, appreciation, and enjoyment. Please visit our blog.

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Community of Gardens

Community of Gardens is a digital, participatory archive hosted by Smithsonian Gardens and created by public input. By contributing images, videos, and stories to this website, your participation will help others to better understand the meaning and value of gardens to American life – today and in the future. Community of Gardens is the Smithsonian’s digital home for sharing and preserving the stories of gardens and the gardeners who make them grow.

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SITES Exhibition

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.

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

Garden Fest logo

Garden Fest
Friday, May 6th, 2016 from
10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Enid A. Haupt Garden

Garden Fest highlights each of the Smithsonian’s gardens and connects people to plants through engaging hands-on activities and educational demonstrations. The event an annual a tradition for Smithsonian Gardens since 2006, is an all-day, family friendly event.

Click here to learn more about the upcoming event

Example from Design for Small Spaces exhibition

Design for Small Spaces

Exceptional plants and unique elements add impact to small spaces. From fairy gardens to green walls, vignettes in this exhibit feature pieces from the Smithsonian Gardens’ Garden Furnishing Collection and plants grown at the Smithsonian Gardens Greenhouses. Tour our gregarden-festen scenes for ideas you can use to create your own little oasis.

Exhibit runs through August 31, 2016 in the Ripley Center Concourse

Our Gardens

Mary Livingston Ripley GardenAn integral part of the Smithsonian Institution (SI), the Smithsonian Gardens creates and manages the Smithsonian’s outdoor gardens, interiorscapes, and horticulture-related collections and exhibits. Established in 1972 to manage the museum grounds, Smithsonian Gardens extends the museums’ exhibits and learning environment in a public garden setting while shaping visitors’ overall experience of the Smithsonian.

Learn More About Our Gardens

Come Learn!

Hands with BugsOur mission at Smithsonian Gardens is to enrich the Smithsonian experience by extending the museum experience into an outdoor living classroom. We hope that the gardens tours and events in our gardens as well as our activity packages will help youth to exercise both their mind and body in the gardens around the Smithsonian and ultimately in their own community.

Explore Our Educational Materials

American Alliance of Museums
Smithsonian Gardens is an American Alliance of Museums Accredited Museum. Learn More about the accreditation process.


Book Cover

Smithsonian Gardens is pleased to announce the publication of its first gardening book Encyclopedia of Garden Plants for Every Location featuring more than 3,000 plant recommendations to handle a variety of garden conditions and achieve amazing effects.

Garden Internships

The Smithsonian Gardens provides an exceptionally well-rounded array of experiences in its intern program thanks to the wide diversity of services it offers to the Smithsonian.

Job Opportunity

Irrigation Specialist (Engineering Technician) - Smithsonian Gardens is seeking an individual to assist with managing the operation, maintenance and renovation of our computerized irrigation system which surrounds the Smithsonian's museums and support facilities in the Washington, DC Metro area. Duties will include providing support and troubleshooting to all critical and non-critical irrigation equipment and systems. The incumbent will program schedules, perform maintenance and repairs, and address technical problems to ensure the propter operation of irrigation equipment and systems. (This position is officially advertised as an Engineering Technician Series (0802).

Official vacancy announcement is posted at and .

Please follow application instructions outlined on the announcements. Announcement will be open for a limited time only and posted as an Engineering Techician (Irrigation).

Please do not send resumes in response to the advertisement. For additional information, contact Jeffrey Schneider, Grounds Manager, Smithsonian Gardens at (202) 633-5028.