NGC Butterfly Garden at US Botanic Garden
National Garden Clubs' Butterfly Garden is located at the U.S.
Botanic Garden in Washington, DC. The butterfly garden is one
of several elements within the three-acre National Garden whose
mission is "to educate visitors about the great diversity of
American plants and their importance to the environment; to help
connect people to nature; and to demonstrate the relationships
between plants, water and humans.
After President Reagan signed Proclamation 5574 in 1986
declaring the rose as the National Floral Emblem, Congress
authorized the construction of the National Garden in December
1991. The original plan was for the garden to provide
visitors to Capital Hill with a place to experience "the diversity
of plants, including the rose, our national flower. (P.L.
A more complex plan developed for the National Garden than was
initially envisioned. In 1988, Congress authorized the
Architect of the Capitol be responsible for the project. A
non-profit, tax-exempt organization, National Fund for the U.S.
Botanic Garden (NFUSBG), was established to raise funds for the
design, construction, operation and maintenance of the National
Garden. The garden would feature an Environmental Learning
Center; a Water Garden honoring America's First Ladies; a Rose
Garden exhibiting varieties of the national flower, the rose; and a
Showcase Garden for flora and fauna native to the Mid-Atlantic
In 1996 National Garden Clubs' proposal for the addition of a
Butterfly Garden to the National Garden was welcomed. The
area chosen was along Maryland Avenue near the Lawn Terrace.
Besides plants that attract butterflies, the plans included a
bronze sundial and four benches featuring butterflies and
roses. Informational materials would also be provided to
educate the public on butterfly gardening.
After the acceptance of the Butterfly Garden plans, NGC began
fundraising began in 1997. Funds came from donations by NGC garden
clubs and individuals, a grant from the Shell Oil Company, and
sales of several original, commissioned items to the general
It was hoped that the National Garden would be completed at the
end of four years. Original plans were to reopen the U. S.
Botanic Garden Conservatory, which was undergoing renovation,
simultaneously with the National Garden. However, the
government's plans changed; and the Conservatory was completed
first, reopening in December 2001.
The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, caused delays as
the grounds of the U. S. Botanic Garden were designated as a part
of the U. S. Capitol grounds, bringing added restrictions.
The added security became a significant factor in the substantial
increase in the cost of constructing the National Garden as
originally designed. A decision was made to construct the
garden in phases.
Contracts were signed in March, 2004. Construction of Phase 1
started in April, 2004, which included the Butterfly Garden, the
pavers, Rose Garden, Lawn Terrace, Hornbeam Court, pergolas,
contouring and ornamental fencing.
The official dedication ceremony for the Butterfly Garden was
September 29, 2006. Features in the garden include a bronze
sundial by Clydetta Flumer of Georgia, which features butterflies
and roses, and four butterfly benches.
NGC continues to fund the educational Butterfly booklet for
children visiting the garden. In addition to the butterfly
facts and pictures, there are also activities, crossword puzzles
and a guide for tracking butterflies as they walk through the
History of the NGC Butterfly Garden
For more information, contact:
Ellen Alden, Liaison to the National Butterfly Garden