By Sheila Wickouski 

Stickwork sculpture in progress; Photos Courtesy of Patrick Dougherty

In celebration of its 200th anniversary, the U.S. Botanic Garden is collaborating with renowned stickwork artist Patrick Dougherty to create a custom sculpture to stand throughout the 2020 celebratory year.

Combining carpentry skills with love of nature, Dougherty is known for creating installations woven from plant materials, which celebrate nature through both materials and visually flowing lines. He has built more than 250 stickwork sculptures all over the world in the last 30 years. 

For this creation, the USBG began by harvesting saplings of invasive plants from area locations – Norway maple from the American Horticultural Society’s River Farm and Siberian elm and hybrids of non-native cherry from the U.S. National Arboretum. Willow sustainably harvested from a farm completes the plants used to create the sculpture.

Volunteers and USBG employees are working more than 200 shifts with Dougherty and his team over three weeks to create the unique installation, which began Oct.7 and will be complete Oct. 25. 

Once complete, visitors will be able to touch and explore this nature-inspired plant artwork installation.

Through the 2020 bicentennial year, the USBG will present a special exhibit celebrating plant exploration and the Garden’s history dating back to the founding fathers: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, as well as unique programs, workshops, lectures, festivals, tours, and more.The Garden is located at 100 Maryland Ave. SW, on the southwest side of the U.S. Capitol. More information is available at

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