National Arboretum Hours & Address:
Hours: The Arboretum is open year round except from 8 am to 5 pm on Christmas Day. This is a FREE ADMISSION public exhibit.
Contact Info: The Arboretum is located at 3501 New York Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002; just 2 miles from the Capitol Building - Phone: 202-245-2726
Collections at the National Arboretum:
The Asian collections at the Arboretum are some of the most dramatic. The sloping terrain from Hickey Hill all the way to the Anacostia River is lined with an array of dazzling plants along its slopes, where something is always in bloom. The southern slopes create the warmest microclimate the Arboretum has, and many tender plants are grown along this face. There are numerous parts to the Asian collection, with each one capable of evoking a different mood. Guests to the Arboretum in the fall will witness the hardy camellia’s in full splendor. In the late winter months, along the northern side of Hickey Hill, the Japanese apricots and Witchhazels are in full bloom. If shady woodland plants is more to your liking, visit the Japanese Woodland and explore the flowers and textures of the area.
Every spring, admirers from all over the country come to the National Arboretum to witness one of the most colorful spring attractions that Washington DC has to offer. The many thousands of azaleas planted all around Mount Hamilton come alive in a blaze of vivid color and texture. The initial warm days of spring are all it takes for the flowers to come alive and light up the slopes. Few other shrubs have the same impact, which is why azaleas are a popular favorite with gardeners all over the country. A great many of the azaleas in this collection came from breeding and hybridization work done in the years following 1929, through 1954.
National Arboretum Gardens:
The Dogwood Collection at the National Arboretum is located along a long ridge between the Anacostia river and the Dwarf Conifers collection. The collection was first planted in 1952, led by funding from the Women’s National Farm and Garden Association. The collections of dogwoods at the Arboretum are at their most beautiful in the spring months. They put on quite a show, beginning in late March and running through early June. Visitors come from all over to visit the Arboretum, just to stroll through this collection, and to take in the incredible views from one of two overlooks of the Anacostia River.
The Native Plant Collection at the National Arboretum represents a broad slice of flora that is native to not only Washington DC, but the entire Eastern United States. From the flat, sandy coastal plains in the south, to the variety of woodland plants in the New England states, this collection encompasses it all. Many of the plant life that we take for granted today, did not originate in this region. Dandelions for instance came over from Europe with the first colonists. This collection represents only those plants that were native to this continent.
This Friendship Garden is the first exhibit guests see when they arrive at the National Arboretum through the R street gate. It is a perfect example of a typical suburban house, and offers many great ideas on landscaping for the home gardener. This low-input garden demonstrates the diversity of many beautiful plants that can thrive with a limited amount of water, fertilizer, and general maintenance.
More Collections at the National Arboretum:
Gotelli Dwarf & Conifer Collection
Conifers are a very diverse family of plants that have widely varying colors, textures, shapes, and sizes. Conifers do not bloom flowers, but instead grow cones. Conifers were among the very first plants to grow in our land over 300 million years ago, and are the tallest and largest of all trees. A coast redwood is the tallest tree in the world, while a bristlecone pine is thought to be the oldest. Many of the plants in this collection at the Arboretum are over 50yrs old, but because they grow extreme slow, you wouldn’t think it to look at them. One such specimen is a false cypress tree, that dates back to the start of the collection, yet is only around 10” tall today.
Holly & Magnolia Collections
This amazing collection at the Arboretum is always particularly gorgeous in the spring months, but it is also equally as striking in the fall and winter. Red-berried festive evergreens and fragrant native magnolias combine to create a display that is sure to entice your senses throughout the entire year. Guests flock to the collection ever year around bloom time to witness the stunning impact as thousands of magnolias blossom into colorful blooms of purple, white, and pink flowers. This is one site you won’t want to miss during your visit.
National Bonsai Museum
Bonsai gardening have long been considered the pinnacle of skill when it comes to sculpting these little masterpieces. The Arboretum houses one of the largest collections of bonsai trees in North America. This collection began with 53 trees, donated to the American people in 1976 for the US Bicentennial. Since then, the exhibit has expanded to 3 different pavilions that house roughly 150 different plants and trees.
Other Points of Interest at the National Arboretum:
National Capitol Columns
The Capitol columns first came to life on the East Portico of the capitol building in 1828. Designed to originally support the dome of the building, the columns appeared to inadequately support the structure, as it was altered to include a much bigger dome than originally intended. In time the columns were replaced and moved to the Ellipse meadow in the Arboretum, where they have been ever since.
National Grove of State Trees
Every state in our country has selected its own icons, a state bird, flower, and tree, to name a few. It was only fitting that each of these trees was given a permanent home in the National Arboretum. The Arboretum’s climate fortunately allows them to grow just about every state tree outdoors in a grove.
National Herb Garden
Washington Youth Garden
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