What does one who loves to garden do in the middle of this eternal Spring? Most people would not understand inner gardening, feeding ones soul with a dose of history and the opportunity to train to be a docent for The National Mall.
Knowledge is power, but it is also like food. Food to fuel the urge to re-learn, enhance existing memories and learn something new about our Nation’s National Mall. As a native Washingtonian, I would love to Thank the Bernstein Family and Boeing for making sure that this training takes place as we celebrate the recent attention given to our Nation’s Front Yard. To be included in such a diverse group of people from current docents at various historic sites and monuments, homemakers, retiree’s and people who are passionate about The Mall, is such an honor.
Looking at illustrations/sketches/examples of where things were – including waterways, railroads and re-placement of things like the circular part of the Botanic Gardens…it is interesting to really see how things have certainly evolved.
Reinforcing things I learned in school (much earlier in life) about my hometown is an awesome experience. From a horticultural standpoint – Thank you Mr. Washington for understanding that The Mall would need a gardener’s touch. In 1850 the Botanical Gardens were established and found it’s home on The National Mall. I drive past this wonderful place on my way to work most days and I am intrigued by the ever evolving landscape that embraces it (more on that later). Did you know that the first Memorial on The Mall was in the form of an urn honoring Mr. Andrew Jackson Downing. This urn is now in the Enid A.Haupt Garden on our National Mall. Mr. Downing believed in a naturalistic landscape – Thank you Mr. Downing for being a visionary before your time. Going Natural and using natives is so important in this century…..who would have thought this…back then???
Ms. Susan Spain gave us a horticultural perspective on how the current National Mall Plan will be implemented as well as a bit of the strategy to embrace bringing The National Mall to a usable state. I am personally excited to hear about the things that have been implemented already. As a volunteer, I look forward to being a part of it all and watching this positive transformation take place in my lifetime.
This past Saturday, the current group of would be volunteer’s enjoyed watching the snow squall roll in as we strolled along The Mall. As cold as it was, we were looking at the architecture of the buildings, identifying the type of stone used in construction and while that was interesting….I was looking at the blooming Cherry trees and daffodils, enjoying the structure of the trees in their winter nakedness and envisioning all of the visitors that will come to celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival this year.
This is so exciting and if you have some time to invest and love meeting people and being a part of it all, check out www.NationalMall.Org , donate and perhaps become a volunteer. What better excuse to get outside, re-educate yourself about what The Nation’s Front Yard has to offer, as well as the opportunity to share this knowledge with the people who enjoy this public space daily.by