Spending Time In An Iconic Botanical Garden
Washington DC is home to some of the most beautiful monuments and awe inspiring museums in the world so it is only fitting that one of the world’s to arboretums is also located there, the U.S. National Arboretum. We went there to learn about some new and interesting plants and plant combinations.
Set on 412 acres in the northeast quadrant of the city, the arboretum can be a little difficult to get to, but well worth it. One other side note, it is free! Oh, and there is so much to see, set aside an entire day for your visit.
Start you morning at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. This is one of the largest collections of these timeless trees in North America. Nippon Bonsai Association donated 53 bonsai and 6 viewing stones to the people of the United States to commemorate the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976. The collection has grown to about 150 plants. It is hard to imagine the meticulous work that went into creating these masterpieces.
Next, cross the road to the National Herb Garden (yes, there really is such a thing). This garden highlights the many uses of herbs in our ever day life; medicines, cooking, dyes, fragrances and even insecticides. Of particular interest was the collection of hot pepper plants. Eat them if you are brave enough at the pepper eating celebration in the fall.
In the center of the arboretum sits the National Capitol Columns. These Corinthian columns were originally part of the East Portico of the Capitol. Set in the middle of a 20 acre meadow, it is striking to view from any side.
There is plenty more to see including the Azalea Collection, Fern Valley, Washington Youth Garden, Dogwood Collections and much, much more.
It is worth noting that the U.S. National Arboretum is working plant research nursery and has introduced many of the plants we value in today’s landscapes.
To find out more about the U.S. Arboretum, follow this link http://www.usna.usda.gov/.
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