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What's in Bloom

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. 

March is orchid month! Here are just a few of the plants in bloom: 

  • Rhyncholaeliocattleya Memoria Grant Eichler ‘Lenette’ has a name as big as its flowers. This orchid, in the entrance house, is showing off its cattleya style blooms that are 6” across. Soft and beautiful, it has a peppermint pink color with a dark pink lip. Looking at this amazing specimen, there is little wondering why cattleyas were one of Marjorie Post’s favorites.
  • Several of our vandas are also in bloom including Vanda Motes Green Goblin (V. tessellata x V. longitepala) in the entrance house. Vandas can be identified by their long robust root systems that hang down, some reaching over 4 feet long! Vanda Motes Green Goblin really lives up to its name with a red “mouth” and slightly menacing demeanor. Orchids are so much fun!
  • Cymbidiums are native to the foothills of the Himalayans. As such, they need cooler temperatures compared to other orchids and actually like a touch of frost to set flower buds. These buds then develop into long sprays of large, showy flowers. We have various in bloom now. One particularly nice specimen is Cymbidium Wonderland. This orchid sports striped salmon petals and sepals with a bright red mark on its inner lip.

The staff are starting to see signs of the garden emerging from its slumber. Here are a few plants to note on your visit:

  • Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are pushing their way into the world and starting to bloom at the dog cemetery. One of the earliest blooming bulbs, it is occasionally found popping through the snow cover. Snowdrops grow particularly well under deciduous trees where they get full sun in late winter which then changes to part shade as the leaves of the trees develop. 
  • There are quite a few hellebore on the property but the earliest to bloom is Helleborus niger 'HGC Jacob'. These have been sending out beautiful white flowers with a bright yellow center since December. The flowers get a little droopy in freezing temperatures, but it only takes a bit of warmth for them to perk right back up. As the flower ages, it turns a pinky green and continues to stand out against the dark green foliage. This Christmas rose can be found at the Dacha.
  • The winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is just starting to open along the woodland path. An early harbinger of spring, its bright yellow flowers can persist into March and contrast nicely with bright green, trailing stems. This mounded shrub can have a great effect planted above a wall where it will tumble down for an impressive show.
  • The iconic orchid flower shape (Rhyncholaeliocattleya Memoria Grant Eichler ‘Lenette’)

    The iconic orchid flower shape (Rhyncholaeliocattleya Memoria Grant Eichler ‘Lenette’)

  • Menacing blooms of the Vanda Motes Green Goblin

    Menacing blooms of the Vanda Motes Green Goblin

  • Stunning flowers of Cymbidium Wonderland

    Stunning flowers of Cymbidium Wonderland

  • Galanthus nivalis blooming at the dog cemetery

    Galanthus nivalis blooming at the dog cemetery

  • Helleborus niger 'HGC Jacob' just keeps on blooming

    Helleborus niger 'HGC Jacob' just keeps on blooming

  • Starting to look like spring along the woodland path (Jasminum nudiflorum)

    Starting to look like spring along the woodland path (Jasminum nudiflorum)