Making Connections at the Smithsonian Institution’s Fourth Annual Garden Fest

April 26, 2010
News Release

The theme of this year’s fourth annual Garden Fest will be “Making Connections” featuring a variety of family-friendly activities for children and adults. The free festival will be held Saturday, May 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Enid A. Haupt Garden, a 4-acre public rooftop garden between the Smithsonian Castle and Independence Avenue.

This year’s Garden Fest will highlight the important contributions that gardens and plants make in people’s daily lives and the connections they foster in communities and the world at large. To highlight the festival’s theme of making connections, Smithsonian Gardens has invited nine local public gardens to participate as well as the National Museum of African Art and the Freer and Sackler galleries’ ImaginAsia program. Live music will be provided by the Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra, a band that plays music using plants that its members have grown. Demonstrations and hands-on activities for all will be featured throughout the garden.

Smithsonian horticulturists will be on hand throughout the day to share their knowledge of the gardens. Guests may fill out a plant passport to better understand where some marvelous plants originated, pot heirloom vegetables, learn about orchids, weave a basket like the master weavers of Senegal and see two beneficial insect releases that will take place during the day. Smithsonian Integrated Pest Management specialists will talk about good bugs and bad bugs and how they manage those creepy crawlers in the gardens. Rebecca Henry of Petal’s Edge Floral Design will demonstrate flower arranging; guests can then create their own bouquets based on the language of flowers with assistance from Smithsonian Gardens staff. The bouquets are a perfect prop for guests who visit the Victorian photo booth where they can have a keepsake photo taken to remember their visit to the Smithsonian gardens.

Visitors can celebrate the connections that Washington-area public gardens share as they participate in all the activities that are offered by Smithsonian Gardens; American Horticultural Society; American University; Brookside Gardens; Green Spring Gardens; Hillwood Estate Museum & Gardens; National Gallery of Art; National Zoological Park; U.S.Botanic Garden and U.S. National Arboretum.

Guests will learn about the voyage that chocolate makes from a tree to a delicious treat, the effects that green roofs have on the environment, how azaleas and crape myrtle trees have made their way into gardens all over the world and the great lengths that National Zoo horticulturists go to help the animals feel right at home. There are also plenty of crafts that visitors can create to take home, such as a tree-ring necklace, a watercolor bookmark, pollinator-insect crafts and a floral placemat. All activities are free.

Another feature of this year’s Garden Fest is the ever-popular bookshop where guests may purchase books and enjoy readings by authors Corkey Hay DeSimone (Cherry Blossom Friends), 5-year-old twins, Annie and Veda (We Grew It – Let’s Eat It! as told by Justine Kenin) and Ruth Kassinger (Paradise Under Glass: An Amateur Creates a Conservatory Garden). Catherine Zimmerman, author of Urban & Suburban Meadows: Bringing Meadowscaping to Big and Small Spaces, and David Ellis, author of American Horticultural Society New Encyclopedia of Gardening Techniques, will also sign their books, which will be available for purchase.

Garden Fest is presented by Smithsonian Gardens, which was established in 1972 to manage the grounds of the Smithsonian museums and to create interior and exterior horticultural exhibitions. In addition, its research and educational programs promote the ongoing development of collections of living plants, garden documentation and horticultural artifacts. For more information on the event, press photos and a detailed program guide, visit:

# # #