The History of the Regional Garden

George Washington dreamed of a nation's garden that would inspire, educate, and enliven visitors to the nation's capitol as they strolled its pathways. Today, Washington's vision is a reality. The Regional Garden is located on the National Mall on a three-acre site adjacent to the United States Botanic Garden. Not only does it support the USBG's efforts to emphasize our vital relationship to plants and the environment, but it also highlights our role in the conservation of both.

Take time to stroll through the grounds where you'll find the:

  • Butterfly Garden

  • Rose Garden

  • First Ladies Water Garden

  • Lawn Terrace Garden

  • Amphitheater

The Regional Garden was designed as a living laboratory to educate visitors about the benefits of using native plants and sustainable gardening techniques. Here you'll find ways to garden in harmony with the surrounding natural ecosystem, no matter where you live.

It's amazing to think that the Regional Garden grew out of enthusiasm for a single flower. After President Reagan designated the rose as the national flower in 1986, supporters began to dream about showcasing it in a rose garden in the nation's capital. The USBG was chosen as the future site. As support for the garden grew, so did its scope, until it finally came to include everything you see today. Congress authorized the Architect of the Capitol to undertake the project and, in 1991, created the National Fund, currently known as the Friends of the U.S. Botanic Garden, for the USBG to raise resources and contract for its design.

The Regional Garden was designed and built with $11.5 million dollars in private funds. It is truly a gift from the American people to future generations. At the heart of the grass-roots effort were garden clubs who mobilized more than 250,000 members from nearly every state. In 1997, a commemorative silver dollar featuring the rose and the USBG Conservatory was issued by the United States Mint with a portion of the proceeds going to the Regional Garden fund.

The garden was dedicated by First Lady Laura Bush and opened on October 1, 2006. Today, it is home to an array of wildlife and thousands of unique plant species that together create an interconnected web of life. As you walk through the grounds be sure to look out for mailboxes containing brochures with additional information to take home with you.

To learn more about the Regional Garden, visit the USBG website.