Smithsonian Gardens strives to be a sustainable organization. In all of our operating procedures, we are driven by the desire to maintain resources and create a positive impact on the environment.

Sustainable efforts at Smithsonian Gardens include:

  • All plant debris from the gardens and Greenhouse Facility are sent to a composting facility rather than a landfill.
  • Drip irrigation lines installed in hanging baskets throughout the gardens and in the Greenhouse Facility save staff time and use water more effectively.
  • The Smithsonian’s in-ground irrigation system is connected to a weather station that monitors environmental conditions (humidity, air temperature, precipitation, etc.). This enables the system to adjust the amount of irrigation necessary for a given area thereby protecting plant health and conserving water.
  • Smithsonian Gardens’ Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program uses environmentally sensible methods to prevent pests from damaging plants in the gardens. These methods include monitoring insect populations, the use of non-toxic insecticide when appropriate, and the release of beneficial insects help to control many garden insect pests.
  • Only organic fertilizers are applied to the lawns around the museums. Compost tea applications are used to enrich the planting beds at the National Museum of the American Indian and in the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden.
  • Green contracting and purchasing include hiring a certified green caterer for special events and printing educational and promotional materials on 100% recycled paper.
  • Guest speakers are invited to training sessions to educate staff about composting, IPM and planting native plants.

Smithsonian Gardens Green Team

To support strides towards sustainability, the Smithsonian Gardens Green Team was developed to draft policies that ensure that sustainability efforts are thoughtful and consistent. The team identifies opportunities for “going green” and educates Smithsonian Gardens staff and the public about sustainability in its many forms.