Bartholdi Park

photo by Valerie Brown

Just across Independence Avenue from the U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory is a favorite "secret" garden of many Washingtonians. Part of the U. S Botanic Garden campus since 1932 when it was created, Bartholdi Park is a two-acre garden that showcases innovative plant combinations in a variety of styles and design themes.

It serves as a demonstration garden where visitors can learn to apply the latest horticultural techniques to their home landscapes. The plantings are constantly updated to showcase new varieties, design trends and garden maintenance methods.

In warm weather, enjoy the centerpiece of the Park, the Fountain of Light and Water, commonly called the Bartholdi Fountain in homage to its creator Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. This cast-iron fountain weighs more than 15 tons and stands 30 feet tall. The lights surrounding its basin are illuminated at night.

Bartholdi Park is a refuge from the stresses of the city. Secluded benches offer quiet shade in the summer and sheltered sunlight in the winter. Every type of plant is represented in the Park - deciduous trees, evergreens, shrubs, perennials, annuals, vines, ground covers, roses and bulbs. In every season, the colors and textures of the plants and flowers are exhilarating.

Bartholdi Park is being redesigned as a Sustainable Sites Initiative(tm) pilot project. It will include a demonstration garden for homeowners. The focus will be on different garden styles and plant options that all can be achieved using SITES guidelines. Each demonstration will be a synergistic solution for dynamic and holistic systems that can be interpreted for the home gardener, helping improve garden design and maintenance practices nationwide.

Bartholdi Park is a refuge from the stresses of the city. Secluded benches offer quiet shade in the summer and sheltered sunlight in the winter.

2016 Renovation Project

Originally created in 1932, when the U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG) was moved to its current location, Bartholdi Park has served as a two-acre home demonstration garden for 84 years, but had not undergone a comprehensive renovation since its construction.

The USBG and the Architect of the Capitol renovated the park in 2016 to include accessible pathways, improved access to the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, increased safety via new lighting, improved stormwater collection, updated irrigation, new plantings, and restoration of the historic small fountain at the northwest corner.

Bartholdi Park continues to have demonstration and educational gardens, now featuring additional seating, American native plants, patio gardens, rain gardens, an edible garden, and accessible gardening areas. Many of the larger woody plants were saved in place and much of the removed plant material was reused elsewhere at the USBG and on the grounds of the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court of the United States, and D.C. public schools.