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3501 New York Ave NE
Washington, DC, 20002
United States


Washington Youth Garden

Look who's back!

April Martin

Some of the plants we grow in our youth garden, like me, have migrated to the DC area.  And sometimes they need a little extra coddling from this erratic, and sometimes chilly, weather (also like me!).  They are great for teaching about where food comes from, regional climate differences and seasonality.  We’ve finally moved our friends out of the snug greenhouses into the rapidly warming garden and I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to them:

Lemon Verbena:


Native land: South America

Hobby at WYG: Sending out its fragrance to unsuspecting students in the Sensory Garden

Fun Fact:  The leaves of this plant can add a lemon flavor to dishes and make a great tea!



Native land:  Mediterranean Region

Hobby at WYG: Fooling people about what it actually produces…

Fun Facts:  A curry plant does NOT produce curry spice.  Curry is a mixture of spices.  The leaves of this plant can smell like curry spice and you can use it in Indian food, but it’s not the same as the powder.

Mango Tree: (tree on the left)


Native Land: South Asia

Hobby at WYG: Not producing mangoes yet :-(

Fun Facs: Allergens found in the oil of the mango fruit skin can give you an itchy rash, especially if you’re allergic to poison ivy.  If you want to be safe, peel the fruit!

Chocolate Tree: (see photo above - it’s the tree on the right)

Native land: South America

Hobby at WYG: Getting kids excited about eating chocolate straight off of the tree until they learn how much processing a cocoa bean has to go through before it turns into a candy bar

Fun Fact: Chocolate is made from the seeds of the chocolate tree.  However, in some countries, they also eat the fleshy fruit that surrounds the seed.

Lemon Tree:


Native land: Asia

Hobby at WYG: Gifting us fruit for salad dressings!

Fun Fact:  India cultivates the largest amount of the world’s lemons (16%) followed closely by Mexico

Sugar Cane:


Native Land: South Asia

Hobby at WYG: Hanging out in the Poptart Garden - reminding kids that most of a Poptart is not actually strawberries…

Fun Fact: Sugar cane tastes delicious raw - you can chew the fibers and suck out the mild, sweet juice.

That’s all for now!  We are so thankful for these awesome plants and the greenhouse space from the USNA to extend our seasons and our educational opportunities!

~ Charla

Native Land: CA/Mexico

Hobby at WYG: Researching!! (garden pest problems, plant history, educational methodology, legal guidelines, marketing strategies, you name it!)

Fun Fact: I never knew how asparagus grew until I started working at the Washington Youth Garden and now it just might be my favorite plant.