About Smithsonian Gardens

Our Mission: To enrich the Smithsonian experience through exceptional gardens, horticultural exhibits, collections, and education.

An integral part of the Smithsonian Institution, 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.

group shot Grounds Cleanup brochure table Moving greenhouses Planting Clearing Snow preparing the orchid show

Grounds Management Operations

Grounds Management Operations is responsible for maintaining over 180 acres of grounds around the Smithsonian museums and other Smithsonian support centers in the Washington, D.C. area. Exhibition gardens surrounding the museums are designed to reflect the collections that are found inside. Exhibition gardens at the Smithsonian include the Enid A. Haupt Garden, the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden, and the Butterfly Habitat Garden.

Greenhouse Nursery Operations

The Smithsonian Gardens greenhouse facility is the permanent home of Smithsonian Gardens’ Greenhouse Nursery Operations.  It serves as the base of production and maintenance of plant material for the gardens and horticultural exhibits throughout the Smithsonian Institution. It houses the Smithsonian Orchid Collection, tropical plant specimens, and interior display plants, and also includes a greenhouse devoted to nectar plants used for the Butterfly Pavilion at the National Museum of Natural History.  READ MORE >

Horticulture Collections Management and Education

The Horticulture Collection Management and Education branch manages the artifact and garden documentation collections and develops educational programming for Smithsonian Gardens. The Horticultural Artifact Collection includes antique and contemporary garden furniture and ornaments, seed boxes and seed packets, advertising cards, posey holders, floral frames, and other items related to the florist trade. The garden documentation collection is managed under the auspices of the Archives of American Gardens. This branch also oversees the internship and fellowship programs sponsored by the Smithsonian Gardens.

Integrated Pest Management

Pest Management at the Smithsonian is based on a strategy called Integrated Pest Management or IPM. This strategy provides the greatest opportunities for the successful detection and management of pests regardless of the object of concern. At the Smithsonian, IPM programs have been developed and are being implemented for the museums and facilities, food service areas, greenhouse plants, and landscape and interior plants. Each of these areas has different needs in terms of monitoring, potential pest problems, and risks. These programs are scientifically based and evolve as new and improved control options and information becomes available.

Our Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan Cover

Smithsonian Gardens Strategic Plan FY 2010-2015

Brought together by our dedication to the Smithsonian Institution, we share the common purpose to enrich the Smithsonian experience through exceptional gardens, horticultural exhibits, collections, and education.

View the Full Plan (pdf)

Green Team

The Smithsonian Gardens Green Team was created to keep sustainability at the forefront of Smithsonian Gardens operations and business practices by providing inspiration, research, and accountability in areas of impact on the natural environment.

Learn more about Smithsonian Gardens' sustainability endeavors here.