National Arboretum Washington DC
National Arboretum - My Capital Gardens USA.co.uk
A half-hour’s walk from the Capitol Building, the National Arboretum is another wonderful and unexpected example of a living museum of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants in the city centre. Established in 1927 for scientific research, and education, the gardens conserve and showcase plants that enhance the environment.
The intimate Friendship Garden, full of inspirational ideas for the homeowner, is the first garden to greet visitors. The gardens then open out into a series of themed areas, with the Asian Collections being one of the most dramatic. A dazzling array of plants adorn the sloping terrain and there is something blooming every month of the year.
Overseas visitors will be particularly interested in Fern Valley, where many of the plants are native to the Washington DC area, along with prairie plants from the western US and woodland flowers from New England. The most photographed attraction in the grounds can be found in Ellipse Meadow, where a stately line of Corinthian columns command the top of a natural knoll. Although they look as if they have been in the gardens for many years, they were actually only moved there just over a decade ago. The landscape around the columns was designed by English landscape architect Russell Page.
On a much smaller scale, miniature masterpieces can be admired in the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, which has one of the largest collections of these tiny timeless trees in North America.
The arboretum is open every day, except Christmas Day, from 8am to 5pm, with the Bonsai museum open from 10am to 3.30pm. Admission is free.
Image National Arboretum blooming azaleas, credit Adam Fagen