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Op-Ed: Smithsonian's Mary Livingston Ripley Garden ─ A peaceful haven Special

By Leigh Goessl     Apr 17, 2013 in Lifestyle
Washington - The Mary Livingston Ripley Garden is located in downtown Washington, sandwiched between two Smithsonian Museums. It's worth stopping in for a visit when walking on Independence Avenue either while touring or on a lunch hour.
Walking around downtown Washington, there is plenty to see and do. One of the best things about visiting the National Mall is you never know what you might see.
You might come across an event or a protest. New exhibits at the museums often are opened, which also provides a variety of different things to see when downtown.
Then there are the places that are a constant and you just perhaps never knew about.
For me, that place is the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden. Sandwiched between the Arts and Industries Building and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, I never knew such a peaceful haven existed. Typically, when I'm downtown I walk on the other side and cross through the middle, so have probably only passed the garden a few times.
And I've been missing out.
Run by the Smithsonian, the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden is open daily. According to the Smithsonian website, the garden was the inspiration of Mrs. S. Dillon Ripley, "lifelong plant scholar-collector, active gardener, and wife of the Smithsonian Institution's eighth Secretary".
On Monday, many of the plants were in bloom, but it appeared in a few weeks or longer, there would be much more color.
Due to construction going on at the neighboring Arts and Industries Building, the whole garden was not visible. I'd estimate I'd only viewed approximately half of the garden, as it’s a half-acre in size, according to The Cultural Landscape Foundation.
The garden was originally supposed to be a parking lot, but in 1978, Mrs. Ripley was able to win support for building the garden. The garden itself was designed by Washington, DC, architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen.
While parking is at a premium in Washington, this garden was a nice decision. A quiet little place to spend a lunch hour or, if on vacation and doing a lot of walking, it's a great spot to simply sit and take a breather.
Spring has definitely arrived in the Washington region, as the cherry blossoms just passed their peak, dazzling with fantastic color this year. The National Park Service's Tulip Library also has many more blooms now than it did last week. Although, if weather patterns in recent years are any indicator, summer might just be here in a few weeks. Fun to enjoy the spring while it lasts.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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