It’s nobody’s notion of a garden; it’s a re-creation of the natural environment here in the Chesapeake Bay watershed as the original inhabitants knew it. It surrounds the awesome building and together the exterior – building and landscaping – is actually more popular than the displays indoors.
I was given a tour of the landscape recently by Marsha Lea, the designer, along with two of her colleagues with EDAW – Jeanette Ankoma-Sey and Roger Courtenay (Roger designed the new National Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden).
It’s hard to imagine from these photos how downtown this site is, what with all the wildlife it’s attracted. Like birds galore, mallards, night herons, a family of 11 ducklings. The plants were grown locally for the project, some by our buddy Barry Glick. And the plants are all strictly species, no cultivars allowed.
From the museum’s website we learn that: “Four hundred years ago, the Chesapeake Bay
region abounded in forests, wetlands, meadows, and Algonquian peoples’
croplands. The [museum] restores these environments and is home to more
than 27,000 trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants representing 145
But keep reading to learn about the various habitats replicated here – hardwood forest, wetland, meadow, traditional cropland and Grandfather Rocks. It was all carefully researched and executed, and is a great addition to our National Mall.