Secret Washington Garden Pursues Vital Government Mission

Nestled among Washington’s busy streets is a sprawling garden oasis that many Americans have never heard of.

From the vibrant flowers in the azalea collection, to a field of native ferns and the blooming trees in the dogwood section, the U.S. National Arboretum offers the serene natural beauty of a public garden. But government scientists in charge of the 452-acre (183-hectare) complex have a top-priority mission: shore up the U.S. economy by making sure that this critical type of agriculture continues to thrive.

“What we do is support the American nursery industry … which is really one of the largest forms of agriculture,” says Richard Olsen, director of the National Arboretum. “You have ornamental landscapes, horticulture, turf — all of that occurs in every county, in every state of the union. So, it forms a large portion of American agriculture and therefore, an important part of the economy.”

Flowers in bloom at the U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, June 1, 2023.  Read More   

Landscape Architecture 

Dora Mekouar