By Troy Petenbrink
With all of its museums and monuments, the Washington, D.C. area’s many garden are often overlooked gems. With indoor and outdoor venues, there are beautiful flowers beds to be found all year-round. Here are five of the best venues that are regularly open to the public.
Bartholdi Park At The United States Botanic Garden
100 Maryland Ave. S.W.
Washington, DC 20001
Located on two acres, Bartholdi Park is a beautiful demonstration garden that has been part of the U.S. Botanic Garden since 1932. Visitors will see nearly every type of plant represented in the park including seasonal flower beds. A key aspect of the park’s mission is to educate home gardeners on different garden styles, design trends and maintenance practices. Adjacent to the park are the U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory with 10 garden rooms under glass and two courtyard gardens as well as the outdoor National Garden that highlights the amazing diversity of American plants. Admission to Bartholdi Park and all of the U.S. Botanic Garden venues is free.
Hillwood Estate, Museum And Garden
4155 Linnean Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
Hillwood Estate is the former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress to the Post Cereal Company, avid collector, and philanthropists. She purchased the property in 1955 and shortly after her death it was opened as a public institution in 1977. In addition to her home that contains the most comprehensive collection of Russian Imperial decorative art outside of Russia, the estate has 13 acres of formal gardens including many stunning flower beds. The Cutting Garden is perfect for seeing the seasonal flowers that were used to make fresh cut formal arrangements in the 1950s and 60s. There is a suggested donation to visit Hillwood Estate.
1800 Glenallan Ave.
Wheaton, MD 20902
Part of Montgomery County Department of Parks, Brookside Gardens sits on 50 acres of cultivated landscape. It is covered in walking trails that lead visitors through award winning public display gardens. Breathtaking flower beds can be found in the Perennial Garden and the Fragrance Garden. Flowers can also be seen year-round in Brookside Gardens’ two conservatories. General admission to Brookside Gardens is free; however, it also offers two very popular ticketed events: the Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly & Caterpillar Exhibit, which runs late-spring through the end of summer, and the Garden of Lights, a holiday outdoor light exhibit that runs from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.
Bishop’s Garden At The National Cathedral
3101 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
The 59 acres of landscaping that surround the National Cathedral were designed by famed American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and include the formal Bishop’s Garden. The garden sits just to the right side of the cathedral and designed to be a place of meditation and reflection. It has stairs and pathways that take visitors through the multiple elevations of the garden and its many flower beds. Found throughout the garden are plants of historic interest, plants of the Bible and Christian heritage, and native American plants. The Bishop’s Garden is free to visit.
Dumbarton Oaks is another of Washington, D.C.’s historic estates. The public is able to visit a museum that features specialized collections of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art and gardens that surround the property. The gardens where designed by Beatrix Farrand, who also helped design gardens at the White House. Much of her design — that includes many flower beds — are still followed after 60 years. Dumbarton Oaks A purchased ticket is required to visit the gardens at Dumbarton Oaks