150. Southern Exposure Overview

The Southern Exposure garden takes advantage of a microclimate created by the surrounding Conservatory. 


Sunlight reflecting off the glass, and heat from the Conservatory, keep the soil warm. That allows us to grow plants native to the southeastern and southwestern United States, areas that have warmer winters than Washington, D.C. 


We cultivate these plants in soil similar to what’s found in their native habitats. On the pond side, the soil is peaty and sandy, like that of the Southeast. The other side of the path has grittier, more alkaline soil with good drainage. That’s what plants from the Southwest need. 


The garden supports insects, birds, and amphibians that benefit from the courtyard’s protected environment. Throughout spring and summer, American bullfrogs can be heard calling to each other, and seen sunning themselves on the floating leaves of the waterlilies. Many birds nest in the shrubby growth and feed on the nectar, seeds, and fruit of the garden plants.


Southern Exposure is a seasonal courtyard garden accessed from inside the Conservatory and is open only during warmer months.