Parterre at Enid A. Haupt Garden at Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

August 13, 2009

Courtesy of Smithsonian Institute Horticulture Division

Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Horticulture Services Division

The Enid A. Haupt Garden is a pubic garden in the Smithsonian Institution complex in Washington, D.C.  Covering over four acres, it is situated between the Castle and Independence Avenue and has provided a welcomed respite for Smithsonian visitors and residents of Washinton since it opened in 1987 as part of the redesigned Castle quadrangle.

The Parterre actually predates the creation of the Enid A. Haupt Garden.  In celebration of America’s bicentennial, a parterre inspired by a design from the 1876 Centennial Exposition’s Horticultural Hall in Philadelphia, was created behind the Smithsonian Castle in the south yard.  When the Enid A. Haupt Garden was created, the parterre was saved and incorporated into the new formal garden.

What is a Parterre?

A parterre is an embroidered, flat flower bed, where the dirt, grass, edging shrubs and flowers together form elaborate, compartmentalized patterns.  The term (parterre de broderie) was used by gardeners to the French Court in the 17th Century; however, the idea may have been introduced by Catherine de Medici and her Italian gardeners a century earlier  The word parterre may, in fact, come from the Italian, partire – to divided as opposed to from the French par terre – on the ground.  From Penelope Hobhouse’s “Gardening Through the Ages” (Simon & Schuster, 1992).


Pin It on Pinterest