Set on twenty-five acres adjacent to Rock Creek Park, Hillwood’s gardens feature a diverse and fascinating array of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants, offering something to see in every season.
Highlights in the gardens:
- The fall garden is beautiful in the low afternoon sun. In the cutting garden, chrysanthemums, iris, salvia, and celosia are still in bloom. The seed heads of rudbeckia and echinacea provide architectural interest and food for the resident goldfinches. It is a fleeting time. Catch it while you can.
- The native witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is lighting up the garden at the Four Seasons Overlook. The yellow flowers have crumpled, strap-shaped petals that open as the leaves begin to drop. This small, multi-stemmed, deciduous tree works well on the north side of a home landscape where it can get a bit of shade.
- Marjorie Post enjoyed plants with variegated foliage and that is what the gold and silver chrysanthemum (Ajania pacifica) sports most of the year. Handsome, deeply lobed leaves are lined with a silvery-white margin. It is only in the late fall that small, yellow button-like flowers appear. Find this perennial along the eastern path to the vista terrace.
The greenhouse will be closed from Nov 10 to Dec 29. Stay tuned here for behind-the-scenes updates. Here are a few of the plants in bloom:
- The cockleshell orchid (Prosthechea cochleata x self) is known for its upside down flowers that are very reminiscent of sea creatures. The flowers are also quite fragrant and last a long time. The straight species is native to the tropical areas of southern Florida.
- Suspended high on the ceiling is the orchid Stanhopea (hernandezii x platyceras) ‘Pisgah’. This unique orchid has large pleated leaves with incredible flowers that grow downward. Stanhopea need to be kept in special baskets that allow the flower stem to grow out the bottom of the basket. The yellow sepals with red spots on this cultivar are amazing.
- The sun-changing begonia (Begonia soli-mutata) has spectacular heart-shaped foliage with light green veins on a dark green background and a pebbly texture. This tropical perennial is rhizomatous, which means that it spreads by underground stems. The clusters of white flowers that we see now are a bonus.