Happy Earth Day!  I’m a day late, I know, but “life happened” and hey, isn’t every day Earth Day, anyway?

A great way to celebrate all things green and lovely plants is to visit the United States Botanic Gardens, which I did on Friday with fellow RD and food/plant/earth enthusiast, Anne.P1010973

P1010983To be honest, our main purpose was initially to catch up and have a little dietitian-shop talk, but we were surprised by how awesome the exhibits there are.

They had lots of edible plants – herbs of course, but also some crazy things like cocoa, pineapple, and papaya, and great signs:IMAG1815 Papaya

IMAG1814 Little pineapple!  It was only about as big as two fists – and yes, they grow on the ground, not down from a tree!

IMAG1809 Did you know that cilantro the herb grows from coriander, the seed?  Amazingly different flavors!

IMAG1808 Chocolate grows on trees!  Or at least its main ingredient, cacao does.

IMAG1811It never occurred to me that ginger has a plant, because the spice is a root…but of course, duh!  

There was also an awesome exhibit that had spices contained in a metal flower for you to sniff!  Fun for us, and also low enough that kids could smell too:

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Another exhibit featured info about the medical/topical uses of herbs, and gave examples in a glass bell above.  Lots of people are cashing in on mother nature!

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I got inspired by this, because lavender is one of the herbs I have growing in the front yard!  It’s also edible, and has been historically used to sooth, relax, and induce sleep.  It could even change your mood! It’s edible, too, but don’t use the concentrated essential oil that’s bottled (it might cause gastro discomfort!) – just pluck some and add to your tea.  I tried this with a white/green tea blend, and even without sugar it was delicious…I think I feel a bit more chilled out.  Power of suggestion, or effects of the herb?


Beyond that, we just had a good time exploring and checking out beautiful flowers.  I will “leaf” you with those, and an inscribed quote:

P1010982IMAG1807 IMAG1812 IMAG1813 IMAG1816 IMAG1821 IMAG1818 IMAG1819 Awesome texture!  Not sure if touching is really encouraged, though…

IMAG1823See the ants?  They’re actually helping this plant to bloom by breaking down the tough outer shell!