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Botanic Garden Shuts Down, But Who’ll Water The Plants?

The U.S. Botanic Garden, which is closed due to the government shutdown, says a small staff is looking after its plants. The garden's website still highlights part of its collection that's in bloom.

The U.S. Botanic Garden, which is closed due to the government shutdown, says a small staff is looking after its plants. The garden's website still highlights part of its collection that's in bloom.

The U.S. Botanic Garden, which is closed because of the government shutdown, says a small staff is looking after its plants. The garden's website still highlights part of its collection that's in bloom.

Among the casualties of the federal government shutdown is the U.S. Botanic Garden, which has been closed since Oct. 1.

As the government shutdown began, the final official act of many furloughed office workers was to grab their plants so they could care for them at home. That raised a question in Washington: Who would look after the Botanic Garden's plants?

So we asked that question of Ari Novy, who serves as the facility's public programs manager. He says the plants, which include many exotic and unusual specimens, are doing fine.

"All of our plant collections remain in healthy condition," he says. "We do have a small number of staff reporting to the Botanic Garden each day to make sure the plants are cared for."

Although staff members are working to keep the plants healthy, the facility that's just steps from the Capitol is closed to visitors. If you'd like a peek at what's blooming in the garden's conservatory, its website can give you an idea.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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