Garden Photo of the Day

Ring in the Holidays at a Botanic Garden

Holiday displays at the U.S. Botanic Garden

I adore botanic gardens and conservatories, and my very favorite time to visit is in the winter. There is nothing like stepping out of a cold, snowy day into a tropical paradise under glass. And while I’m not a big holiday person a lot of the time, I also love the plant-centric holiday displays many botanic gardens and conservatories put together this time of the year. Today I’m sharing some shots from the holiday display at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C.

Late November in Washington, D.C., isn’t too cold, but the gardens outside are looking wintery and brown. Time to hurry inside and get a big dose of green, warm plants.

Inside, the tall tropical plantings surround—of course—masses of poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima). This winter-flowering shrub from Mexico has become synonymous with the holiday season thanks to aggressive marketing campaigns and some horticultural breakthroughs in the 1960s and ’70s. Want to learn more about these classic holiday plants? Check out this article, and if you are worried because you’ve heard they are toxic, there is good news for you here.

My favorite part of the display was the replicas of D.C. landmarks made entirely out of natural plant materials.

I particularly loved this model of the Library of Congress. It is a beautiful building, and this detailed model is absolutely incredible!

A close-up of the Library of Congress model showing that all the details are crafted from natural plant materials—twigs, pinecones, acorn caps.

Does your local botanic garden put on a great holiday display? Or do you have a favorite plant-centric way to ring in the holiday season? Send us some pictures! We’d love to share them with the other GPODers!


Have a garden you’d like to share?


Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.

View Comments


  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 11/30/2018

    Yowza on those incredible replicas of the DC landmarks...what a treat it had to be to see them in person.. Do you know if this was the first year they were presented? They are so amazing...seems like they should be stored away and used again and again. Love the vibrant vertical exclamation points that the red twig dogwood stems add to the display of poinsettias...all are very festive.

  2. garden1953 11/30/2018

    The Denver Botanic Gardens has a very nice conservatory but I would much rather be outdoors. There is so much to see in winter when most of the garden is taking it's winter nap. I notice things that usually go unnoticed when I'm there the rest of the year.

  3. arboretum 11/30/2018

    omg! they need to put a plaque with the artists' names on that model! i'm so appreciative that you enabled the viewer to 'grok' its reality; i, for one, never would have guessed it w/o the closeups.
    i hope you take the opportunity to visit bunny williams' gardens in NW CT. on one of her Garden Conservancy Open Days; she has the most astounding 'pool house'; a monumental wooden Parthenon made of trees and bark!!

  4. btucker9675 11/30/2018

    Those natural models are unbelievable - the skills needed to accomplish them are prodigious! Thanks for sharing the photos!

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest