on December 30, 2006
As we walked in the doors of the US Botanic Gardens, James was a bit surprised to see a metal detector and X-ray machine awaiting us. Given the proximity of the Gardens to the Capitol Building, these made sense, so we lined up in typical airport fashion and put my bag and our coats through the X-ray before walking through the detectors. I was fine, but when James walked through, the machine beeped. His face twisted into the utmost look of horror as thoughts raced through his mind about how he was going to get arrested because he was a foreigner that was making the metal detector beep, which obviously makes him a terrorist. However, after pulling his cell phone out of his pocket and trying again, the machine had no objections and he was allowed into the Gardens. Boy, did he breathe a sign of relief.I don’t really recall a lot of the permanent flower displays at the Gardens, because James was obviously not very interested, which led us to rush through most of it. However, we slowed down a bit for the special exhibit on orchids. I thoroughly enjoyed walking through such a plethora of color and seeing the orchids blooming in such vivid blues, purples, and pinks. The orchids weren’t all in pots on tables, as I have so often seen them (as gifts from my father that my mom promptly sets about killing)—some dangled from above us while others grew in amongst other plants. It was nice to see orchids that weren’t on their deathbed, like so many that have passed through our house!There were plenty of other displays in the Gardens, including a room for rare and endangered plants and another where you could walk on an elevated walkway above the jungle of plants below. These are part of the conservatory, which is where we spent all of our time; the other main part of the Gardens is Bartholdi Park, located across Independence Ave from the Gardens. This garden was created to “provide inspiration and ideas for home gardeners who visit it” and was named after Frederic Bartholdi, who designed the garden’s centerpiece fountain. Unfortunately, we did not get to see these displays or the separate garden because we had to see the rest of D.C. by nightfall. Plus, James really wasn’t interested in plants at all and he was the one that had never visited D.C. before.The next building west of the Gardens on the National Mall was the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. Since it was raining more heavily, we were more than happy to duck in there.
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