The National Botanic Garden - Its Commencement

Title

The National Botanic Garden - Its Commencement

Description

This article from the Baltimore Sun discusses the establishment of the National Botanic Garden in Washington. The main source of the collection for the garden were botanic specimens gathered during the United States Exploring Expedition, which explored the coasts of North and South America from 1838 to 1842. These plants had been stored near the Patent Office but needed a new home. Congress chose to build the new botanic garden on the Mall where a private group had maintained a garden thirty years before: the Columbian Institution's botanic garden stood on the same site from 1820 to 1830.

Source

The Sun (Baltimore).

Date

7/2/1850

Coverage

Text

Washington, July 1, 1850

Among the many improvements now in progress in our city, both of a public and private kind, with great pleasure I witnessed the commencement of a National Botanic Garden. The site selected for that purpose is the handsome square of ground lying between Pennsylvania and Maryland avenues (known as the old Botanic Garden) and separated on its east side from the grounds around the Capitol by a street. This square contains near 12 acres, and will, when graded, be laid out in various compartments adapted to the arrangement and classification of both foreign and indigenous plants and trees, to each of which it is intended to attach a durable table, on which will be painted, in legible characters, the scientific name, then the local one, native country, together with its uses as applicable to the arts, &c., &c.

The ranges of conservatories for the protection of tropical and other tender plants during winter will, when finished, be over 300 feet in length, and the walls of some of these plant structures are already three or four feet above the surface, and towards their completion. Congress has very liberally appropriated $5,000.

The nucleus of the present very large collection of plants (the preservation of which gave rise to the above appropriation) was laid by the roots and seeds brought home by our Exploring Expedition under Capt. Wilkes; since then, however, through the instrumentality of officers of our government, residing or visiting foreign countries in our national vessels, many interesting plants have been added, so that the collection as it now stands, numbers about 11,000 species. From the rapid addition, through the number of plants sent in, and the necessity of occupying the grounds on which the old Green-houses stood, in order that the Patent office could be extended, decided Congress in granting a larger square or space, where the collection could be seen to better advantage, and thereby aid in the beautifying of our city, and at the same time afford space enough to test new esculent fruits and roots, and these, when found worthy of preservation, to be propagated and disseminated [illegible] our wide extended country for the benefit of the many. 

Our citizens generally will be gratified to learn that this valuable acquisition in the metropolis is now in rapid progress, under the superintendence of the scientific, experienced and successful gardener, Mr. William D. Brackenridge.

Original Format

newspaper article

Description

This article from the Baltimore Sun discusses the establishment of the National Botanic Garden in Washington. The main source of the collection for the garden were botanic specimens gathered during the United States Exploring Expedition, which explored the coasts of North and South America from 1838 to 1842. These plants had been stored near the Patent Office but needed a new home. Congress chose to build the new botanic garden on the Mall where a private group had maintained a garden thirty years before: the Columbian Institution's botanic garden stood on the same site from 1820 to 1830.

Date

7/2/1850

Coverage

1830-1859

Source

The Sun (Baltimore).