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Let's Talk Gardens March 2021

Let’s Talk Gardens Video Library

Previously recorded webinars from Let’s Talk Gardens. See what’s upcoming.


A Brief Context of Contemporary High Art Horticulture

Eric Evans takes us on a tour of different gardens throughout history to explain how horticulture came to be how it is, what it aims at, and what it can be for. 

SG Greenhouse Nursery Operations

An Engineer’s Approach to Houseplant Care

Darryl Cheng’s approach breaks down the barriers to true, long-lasting enjoyment of houseplants – when you understand how plants work, you can gain a deeper appreciation for their character and more acceptance of how they’ll grow.

Insect hotel in the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden

Ask Us Your Garden Questions!

Join us for an hour of lively discussion on garden topics chosen by you. 

National Air and Space Museum garden

Back to Basics

Horticulturist Sarah Dickert will take us through an overview of the most common gardening terms, techniques, tools, and more.

Victory Garden at the National Museum of American History

Beer in the Garden

Join us as we explore the history and horticulture of the hop plant, Humulus lupulus, and its role in defining American craft beer.

SG Greenhouse Nursery Operations

Bringing in Your Tropical Plants for the Winter

Learn how to keep your tropical treasures for more than a summer. 

Rudbeckia (Black eyed Susan) at the National Air and Space Museum

Brooklyn Bridge Park Lessons (so far) in Constructed Ecology

This talk will detail many of the strategies employed to design an ecological park, as well as the management techniques used to cultivate biodiverse parkland. If we can do it, so can you. 

Let's Talk Gardens, Marc

Carbon in the Capital Region

Learn more how the pandemic offered a rare opportunity for Rosenfield to observe how the environment reacts to drops in human activity.

Orchids in window

Caring for Orchids at Home

Learn about the common challenges and best practices for watering, choice of nutrients, repotting methods, light requirements, air circulation, and the optimal supplies required for home orchid cultivation

Flowers of Malus

Celebrating Two Centuries of Beatrix Farrand

Join Jonathan Kavalier, Director of Dumbarton Oaks’ gardens and grounds, as he shares insights into Farrand and the design of the gardens and explores the challenges and opportunities inherent in stewarding an iconic historic garden into its next century

Habitat Exhibition, Homes in the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden

Choosing Plants with Design In Mind 

Janet Draper, Horticulturist in the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden, highlights her favorite plants for creating a garden with year-round interest.

Annual & Periodical Cicadas

Cicadas are coming to a garden near you!

Love them or hate them, this year the east coast is going to encounter a phenomenon that only happens once every 17 years. Join Holly Walker, Plant Health Specialist to learn more about cicadas.

Assorted pollinator plants at the National Museum of Natural History Museum

Creating Beautiful Landscapes for Pollinator and Wildlife Habitats: Smithsonian Gardens to Your Front Yard

Wildlife habitat is of particular focus at the National Museum of Natural History, where you will find the Pollinator Garden and Urban Bird Habitat.  James will teach about native plants you can use in your own garden to support a healthy ecosystem for wildlife. 

Homes in the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden

Designing Gardens – Foliage First

Learn about basic design principles and learn how to put foliage first!


Designing with Hydrangeas and Their Relatives

Join Andrew Bunting as he explores the breadth of hydrangeas and their relatives and how they can be successfully used in the garden

Purple conflower with monarch butterfly

Discovering the Wonder of Soil Through Science and Art

Together, we will explore how each soil is unique, and I will describe how soil scientists study how soils form, function, and change over time.

Mary Livingston Ripley Garden

Draper’s Dozen: Top Perennial Performers in Smithsonian Gardens

Janet Draper, Smithsonian Gardens Horticulturist, will share her top dozen (or so) perennials she relies on to create a garden with year-round interest,

Archives of American Gardens, CA080011

Early Garden Photography: Glass Lantern Slides

Learn about hand-tinted glass lantern slides and how they were used a century ago to document gardens.

R. 'Lady of Shalott' in the Kathrine Dulin Folger Rose Garden

Earth Friendly Rose Gardens

With thoughtful plant selection, garden design and cultural practices, your rose garden can be beautiful and earth friendly.

Bumblebee on purple liatris

Garden Allies: An Introduction to Life in the Landscape

Frédérique Lavoipierre introduces program participants to the many phenomenal organisms that create a thriving, balanced community in a garden.

Small purple-pink orchid flowers on stem on black background

Garden Inspired Gifts for Mother’s Day

Learn how to fabricate a wreath made of succulents and a seeded greeting card.

Pink flower form of Magnolia tree

Garden Photography Tips

Learn how to beautifully capture your backyard oasis or neighborhood park no matter what kind of camera you own.

Rackley Garden in Washington, DC

Garden Room Ideas and Inspirations

In this one hour illustrated talk, garden designer and writer Gordon Hayward shares his ideas about garden rooms.


Gardening for Hummingbirds

Horticulturist Sarah Dickert will discuss some of the key plants and garden features to attract these fun little birds.

First Lady Michelle Obama and American Indian children plant traditional crops in the White House Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn of the White House, June 3, 2011.

Gardening with Children

Introducing children to gardening is a great way to increase their awareness of where food comes from and the importance of the environment in everyday life.

Gandhi Garden

Gardens as Sources of Resilience  

Watch this webinar to learn more about exploring personal relationships with plants and celebrating garden communities during challenging times.  

Tree Collection and sprinklers

Getting the Most out of Your Late-season Display

Plant suggestions, design tips, and techniques for how to make your late season garden excel. 

Purple conflower with monarch butterfly

Getting the Most Out of Your Small Space/Urban Garden

Using examples from D.C.-area gardens, Kathy Jentz, editor and publisher of Washington Gardener magazine, will illustrate basic design principles for maximizing garden space.

Garden Inspirations Exhibit in 2016 at the S. Dillon Ripley Center

Gifts from the Garden

Learn how to upcycle things to create beautiful (and shareable) garden tchotchkes.

Saucer magnolias in the Enid A. Haupt Garden

Great Magnolias for the Mid-Atlantic

Join Andrew Bunting for an overview of great magnolias for the Mid-Atlantic region.

Tomatoes on a bamboo support

Growing Native Edibles

Dr. Navarrete-Tindall will discuss how to identify, grow and harvest native fruits, perennial greens, and tubers.

Jones Valley Urban Farm, community garden area with raised beds.

Helping Communities Gain Access to Green Spaces

Find out how local public agencies making gardens and green spaces more accessible and equitable to local communities.

Holiday decorations at the S. Dillon Ripley Center

Holiday Centerpieces

Learn how to create a harvest themed centerpiece floral arrangement for all your holiday gatherings

Holiday Wreath Completed

Holiday Wreaths and Evergreen Decorations

Learn design tips and tricks, recommended supplies, and a step-by-step tutorial for decorating a fresh-cut, evergreen wreath,.

Houseplants near window

Houseplant Diversity and the Benefits of Taxonomy Knowledge

Join Virginia Thaxton to learn why plant taxonomy is a very important science and how fun and useful it can be getting to know them on a first name basis! 

Immigrant Gardens and Their Impact on The American Terrain

Wambui Ippolito takes us through various immigrant garden landscapes and histories with the hopes of having a new understanding and approach to immigrant land management.

Bug B&B in the Pollinator Garden outside of the National Museum of American History

Learning in Nature: The Importance of Field Botany

Learn how plants adapt to harsh conditions and naturally cope with stress in the wild and leave with a better appreciation for their role in the landscape .

Children Activities

Let’s Talk Spiders: From Fear to Fascination

Join spider scientist Dr. Sebastian Echeverri as he introduces you to the incredible superpowers, dramatic lives–and even unexpected beauty–of the many amazing spiders in our gardens and across the world.

Pollinator Garden 6

Made in the Shade: Creating Dynamic Shade Gardens

Learn to love the shade you’ve got. Sylvia Schmeichel, Smithsonian Gardens Horticulturist, will share tips and tricks for creating layered and dynamic plant combinations that result in an inviting space. 

Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard

Make an Exuberant Container

Learn how to use color, texture and height to your seasonal container.

Bug B&B in the Pollinator Garden outside of the National Museum of American History

Making Homes for Native Bees – A Chat with Dr. Holly Walker

Who are our native bees and how do they interact and compare with the non-native honeybee.

Bug B&B in the Pollinator Garden outside of the National Museum of American History

Monarch Waystations for Any Size Garden

Find out how to create a Monarch Waystation in your garden!

Winterberry shrub with red berries

Native Plant Alternatives to Replace Invasives in Your Garden

Alex Dencker will discuss some problematic plants, highlight the damage they’ve done and continue to do to our natural areas, and offer native plant alternatives to replace the invasives you may be surprised to learn you have in your garden.

Native Landscape at the National Museum of the American Indian

Native Spring Ephemerals

Join Amy Mawby for an ecological exploration of the season with a focus on its harbingers, our native spring ephemerals.

Several small, dark purple orchid flowers with fuzzy, white lip blooming on horizontal stem on black background

Our Mysterious Orchids: Hidden Connections Below-and Above-Ground

In this lecture, ecologist Melissa McCormick will talk about how current research is working to identify critical points in orchid life cycles to help safeguard orchid populations

Birdbath with leaves in the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden

Plant Inspired Photography: Developing Your Creative Eye

Get ready to flex your creative muscles whether you are stuck indoors or braving the elements.  Open to shutterbugs of all levels and ages.  

SG Greenhouse Nursery Operations

Planting Fall Vegetables

Learn more about vegetable planting schedules, cultivar selection, maintenance tips, and suggestions on how to make your vegetable garden productive and beautiful. 

Mary Livingston Ripley Garden

Plants, Passion and Perseverance: A Focus on Positive Solutions and Experience Gained

Join Horticulturist Janet Draper as she looks back on her 20-plus years of learning and sharing in the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden.

2016 Holiday decorations at the Smithsonian Institution Castle Building

Poinsettias and Holiday Trees

Watch as Smithsonian Gardens’ extensive poinsettia crop makes its magical transition from small, green slips grown in our greenhouse facility to cheery, colorful holiday plants on display in the interiors of our museums.

trees and low shrubs in the museum landscape

Pruning with a Purpose: A Gardener’s Guide to Thinking Like an Arborist

Learn how to add another dimension to your tree and shrub pruning skillset.

Tree Collection and sprinklers

Revolutionize Your Tree Pruning: Learn to Prune Better and Speak for the Trees

Smithsonian Gardens arborist, Jake Hendee will delve into what, why, and how of structural pruning at a beginner’s level. A gardener’s easy few cuts early in a tree’s life can set it up for a lifetime of success.

Bumblebee on purple liatris

Saving Seeds: Saving Memories, Diversity or Funds?

Cindy Brown, Smithsonian Gardens’ Education and Collections Manager, will discuss the tedious, sometimes stinky, always mysterious, often frustrating art of seed saving.

Purple conflower with monarch butterfly

Seeds and How to Find Them

Learn how to fold your own seed packet and the basics of seed collecting to get you out in the garden and saving seed for the future!


Selecting and Planting Fall Bulbs

Learn tips and tricks about planting fall bulbs such as daffodils, tulips and hyacinths.


Simple Summer Herbs

Discover how to grow 10 herbs to flavor your summer.

Bird in Pollinator Garden

Small Space: Big Impact

Are you inspired by the big showcase gardens, but don’t think you have space at home to make a showy impact? Learn more about how to create a small garden with big impact.

Soil Health - existing conditions

Soil Management Plan for the Future

The planting soils surrounding the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C uniquely reflect the planting soil trends at the time of each museum’s completion (or most recent renovation) over 175 years.

20 21 SG Annual Report Cover

The Groundbreaking Garden Club Activists of Virginia

Hear the stories of garden club members who used the power of garden clubs to take on the highway department, environmental destruction, and even segregation.

Urban Bird Habitat Garden at the National Museum of Natural History

The Secret to Tree & Shrub Health

Examine the epidemic of tree and shrub health problems caused by our most basic garden maintenance practices.


Top 20 Native Shrubs for Sun and Shade

Learn more about native shrubs to substitute for your non-native plants.

Habitat of Flight outside of the National Air and Space Museum

Top Twenty Perennials for Healthy Habitats

Suggestions on perennials that make excellent additions to gardens AND help support the habitat ecosystem.

Urban Bird Habitat Garden at the National Museum of Natural History

Trees and Birds – Rooted Together

Georgia Audubon’s Habitat Conservation Program Manager, Gabe Andrle, will discuss the symbiotic relationship between birds and trees and how planting native trees can help attract a diverse range of birds to your yard.

Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard

Understanding Plant Stress Signals: Abiotic Factors 

Learn about the basic visual signals that plants show when they are under stress

Various orchids in pots on greenhouse bench, with yellow flowers in focus

Virtual Tour of the Smithsonian Gardens’ Orchid Collection

This virtual tour, led by Justin Kondrat, Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection Lead Horticulturist, will give you a rare look into how large-scale collections are managed and persevered for generations of inspiration.

Migrating monarch butterfly stops for nectar at Smithsonian Gardens

Washington National Cathedral Gardens: Divine Inspiration & Earthly Challenges

This lecture will discuss both the divine and the challenging aspects of the terraced medieval garden at the Washington National Cathedral Gardens.

Volunteer weeding in the Ripley Garden

Winning the War Against Weeds

Learn about organic methods of soil preparation like lasagna layering, how to be strategic with watering, and where to get information on preemergent and post emergent applications.

Red Virginia creeper leaf on juniper bough

Winter Garden Maintenance for Wildlife Friendly Habitats

Learn our pro tips for supporting pollinators and other wildlife through the winter months.

Cast iron three-tiered fountain and benches covered in snow

Winter Interest in the Garden

Learn how to design and recognize the beauty in a winter garden.