On our last day in Washington DC, we spent the morning walking through the Enid A. Haupt Garden which is located directly behind the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall...AND surprisingly on top of two Smithsonian museums: The National Museum of African Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Asian Art. 

Once we exited the Smithsonian Metro stop, we walked around to the front of the Freer Gallery of Art building...
and over to the entrance to the garden. Enid Annenburg Haupt's fortune was made in publishing (TV Guide and Seventeen Magazine), but her passion was gardens, and she became the foremost horticultural philanthropist with her monetary gifts to build, restore and maintain gardens in America and around the world.
And how she aided in the creation of this new garden with a gift of over $3,000,000! In the late 1980s, the area behind the Smithsonian Castle, known as the "Quadrangle", was redeveloped with the building of the two museums, the National Museum of African Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Asian Art (strangely built mostly underground). With her generous gift, Mrs. Haupt insured the gardens would remain a beautiful, quiet haven in the middle of the craziness of the nation's capitol.

The beautiful parterre...the centerpiece of the garden. 
The Moongate Garden was inspired by architectural and symbolic elements found in the Temple of Heaven, a masterpiece of Chinese architecture and landscape design, built in Beijing during the Ming Dynasty. The circular structures represent Heaven while the square foundations and axes symbolize earth. The forms of circle and square are evident throughout the Moongate Garden. At the center an island of granite is surrounded by a black granite pool.

A version of the circle and square motif is also repeated in the nine-foot tall pink granite moongates and the granite seating areas that define the corners of the garden.
Near the entrance of the Museum of African Art is the Fountain Garden. Modeled after the Court of the Lions at Alhambra, the 13th-century Moorish palace and fortress in Granada, Spain, it is geometrically symmetrical and as with most Islamic gardens, includes a central fountain. A veil of cascading water streams down the back stone wall.

A view of the Fountain Garden from inside the Museum of African Art...

Of course, it is a garden so there were beautiful flowers abloom everywhere...

The easiest way to get to the garden is the Metro. Exiting the Smithsonian Metro stop will put you just steps from the National Mall and the garden entrance. 

The Smithsonian Gardens are located around museums throughout the National Mall. They are open year-round, seven days a week. The Enid A. Haupt Garden is the only gated garden and opens daily from dawn to dusk.

For more information, click here.

All photos in this blog post were taken by my husband and me during our visit in September, 2013.

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