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.”