Our trip to Washington DC was relatively short, allowing ample time to visit Mount Vernon the first day and one other day to run around the Mall like mad trying to see the sights. I had heard before that all of the museums were free in DC, but that seemed like an urban legend – too good to be true. Turns out they are all free!

One of our stops was to the Botanical Gardens. My sister urged me to check it out and she made a great recommendation – I loved it! Entering the building you already get to see cool plants, most with name tags. They had a couple interesting displays like this one using baskets to hold trailing plants.

Another cool display were plant hammocks. This could be a playful idea to use in the backyard.

I enjoyed the simple design of the entry garden leading up to the front doors. They had a nice, cooling purple and gray theme going on. It made the 100 degree temperature feel not quite so hot. I looked for plant tags, but they were not as consistent in this area. I noticed purple asters, artichokes, sage, agave to name a few.

Painting a fixture in the garden, like this trellis, a strong complimentary color seems like a good way to exaggerate the color scheme. Everything looks more purple, blue and gray with that in the mix.

The inside of the garden has different rooms. They have a really extensive collection of tropical plants I have never seen before. I got to see an actual pineapple plant, papaya, cardamom, allspice, bananas, cinnamon, trees with spikes on the bark, and more crazy outer space flowers. Not sure if you could really grow these inside at home though because they had misters that turned on frequently to give it a moist atmosphere inside.

They also had a cactus room, which was cool. Coming from the Pacific Northwest, none of that stuff grows there. I have kind of a fascination with dry, arid climates. This beautiful Parry’s Agave had cool, chocolate colored tips.

In the children’s garden area they had some fun garden creations, like this mossy covered frog. They also have water features that kids could pump and play with. Okay, I played with them too…

And then they had a whole room devoted just to orchids. I know there are people in the world completely obsessed with orchids. They are awesome flowers, and definitely look like something from outer space, but I love so many other flowers too. For the orchid-obsessed, this is the room for them.

We really had a blast in DC. I enjoyed seeing the White House vegetable garden from afar and the botanical gardens were a great way to meet new plant friends. I got a good “plant fix” to tie me over for a few more weeks in the concrete jungle in NYC. And I left feeling inspired with new ideas to try back home.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson