Members of the 2015 Master Gardener training class and proctors supporting the class recently had the opportunity to hear a presentation by Smithsonian horticulturist James Gagliardi on herbaceous plant selection and usage. Those who were not able to attend the lecture can still benefit from his knowledge in a book to which he was a major contributor. Smithsonian Encyclopedia of Garden Plants for Every Location, a 2014 Dorling Kindersley publication, features information on over 3,000 plants.
From the time you step off the curb, you begin experiencing the Smithsonian Institution through its expansive gardens. The Victory Garden sits on the east side of the American History museum and is an unconventional way to teach history. Using a design from a 1943 pamphlet, the Smithsonian Gardens has re-created a World War II victory garden to educate the public, not just about history, but botany as well. The garden contains over 50 varieties of vegetables and flowers that change with the seasons. Currently in late summer, the garden features plants from the mallow family, which includes some surprising plants, like hibiscus, cotton, and okra!