Steeped in history, rich with tradition, the United States Botanic Garden (USBG) is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America. It informs visitors about the importance, and often irreplaceable value, of plants to the well-being of humankind and to earth’s fragile ecosystems. The Garden highlights the diversity of plants worldwide, as well as their aesthetic, cultural, economic, therapeutic, and ecological significance.
From jungle to desert to primeval paradise, the indoor gardens and galleries of their Conservatory offer the perfect foil to a winter day or harried schedule. The resplendent diversity of form, color, fruit, and fragrance reminds us that plants make our lives possible and enjoyable.
For the 21st century, the USBG has committed itself to sustainability, educating the public about ways to live by supporting the interconnected web of life that is the environment, and in particular, by nurturing the plants that support the life on our planet and caring for orchids.
Starting in February through April 11, they took visitors on a journey through the U.S. Botanic Garden to explore the ways orchids have permeated the lives of people around the world. Discovering orchids in arts, literature, exploration, jewelry, trade, and business, they helped people to travel the world within their Conservatory and discover how influential and magnificent orchids have been in our lives! As in previous years, the exhibit was a collaborative effort involving the collections of the U.S. Botanic Garden and the Smithsonian Institution Horticultural Services Division.
The Washington City Paper.com said that “Orchids: A Cultural Odyssey” traced how the flower has entered various aspects of the culture, including how its pollen traces can be found in art, in pottery movements (pottery movements!), and in a banknote from Sri Lanka that shows an orchid on one side and a dragon on the other.