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Before building his greenhouse, George Washington studied several designs, finally adapting a plan from a similar structure in Baltimore, Maryland. He and his gardeners tested their horticultural skills by cultivating plants exotic to Virginia. The greenhouse provided a winter refuge for tropical and semi-tropical plants such as coffee, orange, lemon, lime, sago palm, and aloe. During the warm growing season, these plants were kept in tubs outside in the upper garden. The original greenhouse burned down in 1835. The present structure was rebuilt on the original site in 1951.
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