Holidays at the Smithsonian

December 4, 2013 at 12:59 pm Leave a comment

Most of us begin to think about holiday decorations as it gets closer to Thanksgiving. This is not the case for our Smithsonian Gardens Interiors staff! As soon as the holiday decorations are taken down in January, we’re already making plans for next year’s holiday decorations.

Poinsettias at the Smithsonian Gardens greenhouse facility.

Poinsettias at the Smithsonian Gardens greenhouse facility.

Poinsettia types and numbers have to be decided on by April so that the orders can be placed. Tree, wreath, and garland decorations have to be determined by May so that those supplies can be purchased. The poinsettia plugs arrive and are planted in July (taking a full 4-5 months for us to finish, the poinsettias are our longest growing annual crop in the greenhouse). Only a couple of the holiday trees on display are artificial, but the rest are real and are selected especially for us, coming from a tree farm in Pennsylvania. Sometimes our staff even travels to hand pick the trees.

Holidays decorations being prepared for the National Museum of American History.

Holiday decorations being prepared for the National Museum of American History.

Next there’s the holiday prep: all of the tags have to be removed from each of the new ornaments, wire hangers need to be attached, some decorations need to be assembled and wired together, bows need to be made, and wreaths and garland need to be decorated.

Some of this prep work starts as early as October. Then there’s the planning, which involves deciding which day to install the decorations, and coordinating with each of the museums to make sure that we will not interfere with what is going on in the museums on that particular day.

The Smithsonian Castle holiday tree.

The Smithsonian Institution Castle holiday tree.

Our first tree, the Castle Tree, was installed the week of Thanksgiving.  The rest of the decorations will be up this week.

Please take some time to walk around and visit each of our museums and appreciate all of the hard work and planning that goes into the holiday decorations.  All of this work would not be possible without the help of our volunteers and other Smithsonian Gardens staff who help with prepping the décor and decorating the trees.

-Alexandra Thompson & Shannon Hill

Happy Holidays from the Smithsonian Gardens Staff!

Smithsonian Gardens staff posing with the National Museum of American History tree.

Smithsonian Gardens staff posing with the National Museum of Natural History tree.

Festive decorations in the Ripley Garden.

Festive decorations in the Ripley Garden.

National Museum of American History holiday tree.

The holiday tree at the National Museum of American History features glass ornaments created by the Luke Adams Glass Studio of Boston, Massachusetts.

Poinsettia Tree

A tree made of pink poinsettia plants at the Smithsonian Castle.

Entry filed under: Horticulture. Tags: , , , , .

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