The Washington DC area has lots of great places to enjoy the beauty and fresh fragrance of beautiful plants and flowers. Here is a guide to the top gardens in the Washington, DC/Capital region.
U. S. Botanic Gardens
On the National Mall, next to the Capitol Building, 245 First St., SW Washington, DC. (202) 225-8333. See plants from all around the world. A large part of these gardens are located indoors in the newly renovated Conservatory, providing a great activity for hot or rainy weather. The gardens include azaleas, lilies, orchids, an exotic jungle and a tropical rain forest, and more.
3501 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC. (202) 245-2726. Explore 446 acres of trees, shrubs, and plants that are cultivated for scientific and educational purposes. The Arboretum includes several major plant collections, including azaleas, cherries, hollies, rhododendrons, ferns and wildflowers.
900 Ohio Drive, S.W., Washington, DC. (202) 426-6841. Right along Constitution Avenue, a 50 acre garden includes landscaped grounds, an island and a lake. The gardens border the Reflecting Pool to the north and include the Signers of the Declaration of Independence Memorial.
Hillwood Museum and Gardens
4155 Linnean Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. (202) 686-8500. The gardens of the mansion of Marjorie Merriweather Post, the heir to the Post cereal fortune, contain more than 3,500 varieties of plants and trees. Hillwood features a restored Japanese garden with a waterfall and bridge, a rose garden, and greenhouses containing more than 5,000 orchids.
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
1900 Anacostia Avenue and Douglas Avenue, NE Washington, DC. (202) 426-6905. Tucked away in Southeast DC along the east bank of the Anacostia River, the 12-acre garden features exotic waterlilies, native plants and small animals such as frogs, toads, turtles, fish, minnows and sunfish.
Washington National Cathedral Gardens
Wisconsin & Massachusetts Avenues, NW Washington, DC. Located atop the highest point of the city, the grounds of the Cathedral include a variety of gardens. The Cathedral's small herb garden features rosemary, thyme and mint. The Bishop's Garden is a beautiful setting with magnolias, orchids and exquisite flowers. The Little Garden is designed to look like a medieval herb garden surrounded by hedges of old English boxwood.
Dumbarton Oaks and Gardens
R and 31st Sts. NW Washington, DC. Located in residential Georgetown, the 19th century mansion boasts a lovely ten-acre garden with roses, wisteria-covered arbors, cherry trees and magnolias. The estate houses an unusual collection of Byzantine and re-Columbian art and historical artifacts. Garden tours are offered daily at 2:15 p.m. (except Mondays).
Tudor Place Historic House and Garden
1644 31st Street NW Washington, DC. The estate, originally owned by Martha Custis Peter, the granddaughter of Martha Washington, includes a 5 1/2 acre early-19th century style garden with a Bowling Green, Tennis Lawn, Flower Knot, Boxwood Ellipse, Japanese Tea House and Tulip Poplar. Docent-led house tours and self-guided garden tours are available.
Wheaton Regional Park, 1400 Glenallen Ave., Wheaton, MD. (301) 946-9071. Montgomery County's award-winning 50-acre garden features formal and informal gardens and two indoor conservatories. During the summer, Brookside Gardens houses a spectacular live butterfly show.
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court, Vienna, VA. (703) 255-3631. The 95-acre gardens features walking trails, lakes, cherry trees, irises, peonies, an extensive shade garden, native wildflowers, gazebos, birds, and butterflies. There's an indoor atrium, picnic areas and educational facilities.
7931 East Boulevard Drive, Alexandria, VA. (703) 768-5700. This is the headquarters of the American Horticultural Society, a 25 acre garden located between Old Town Alexandria and Mt. Vernon, overlooking the Potomac River. River Farm was one of George Washington's orginal properties.
Green Spring Gardens Park
4603 Green Spring Rd., Alexandria, VA (703) 642-5173. Twenty different themed gardens, a horticulture center and a nature trail that leads through the woods to two ponds.
Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens
George Washington Parkway, Mount Vernon, VA. George Washington's former home reflects his love of trees with its wooded landscape and beautiful flowers. Many of the trees on view at the estate were planted by Washington himself, including the white ash, American holly, English mulberry, flowering dogwood, hemlock, tulip poplar, and yellow buckeye.