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.
Today's highlights in the garden:
- Seasonal color was an integral part of the gardens for Marjorie Post. The beds bordering the Lunar Lawn were always full of summer annuals. This year is no different with an edge planting of pink, neon pink and orchid ‘Sunpatiens’, a series of sun tolerant Impatiens. They are just a small part of the nearly ten thousand annuals and tropical plants in our summer display on view now.
- The water lilies (Nymphaea spp) are blooming in the Japanese-style garden. There are many different species in the world known for their large, oval green leaves and slightly fragrant blooms that float above the water. The flowers come in many shades: pink, blue, purple, pure white and even yellow but ours are a beautiful coral color. Nymphaea odorata is the common North American white water lily that is often seen in the wild. Learn more about our Japanese-style garden with a gardener’s focus tour in July.
- The bees just love the blue globe thistle (Echinops ritro) in the cutting garden. There’s often multiple crawling on the blue spiky balls looking for nectar. The flowers are born on stiff upright stems from July to September and can reach more than four feet tall. The blue globe thistle is a perennial with spiny, deeply lobed, dark green leaves and can tolerate a wide range of soils. See this and much more in bloom in the cutting garden.
- We have finally had a good year for the bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla). The plants along the path to the southern patio of the putting green are particularly nice with beautiful, blue mop-like flower heads due to the naturally acidic soils in that area. If the soils were more alkaline, the flowers would be pink. Bigleaf hydrangeas are deciduous shrubs that grow to roughly four feet depending on the cultivar and are great for shady areas.
Plants of note in the greenhouse:
- Phalaenopsis Silky Moon is a beautiful white moth orchid just coming into bloom in the greenhouse. Moth orchids are mostly epiphytic, meaning that they derive their moisture and nutrients from the air, rain and any organic debris around them. Ours are potted in a bark mixture that maximizes drainage. There is still a wide variety of orchids in flower. Come see them all!
- We have a new resident to the greenhouse: the Nong Nooch Vine (Petraeovitex bambusetorum). A native to Southeast Asia, the common name comes from the world famous Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden in Thailand. Uncommon in the marketplace, this vine is a fast grower and produces long chains of flowers that have showy yellow calyxes (sepals) with creamy white flowers.
- Another interesting plant in bloom is the orange medinilla (Medinilla scortechinii). The flowers, born at the ends of short branches, are reminiscent of orange coral. Its habit is shrub-like with dark green leathery leaves. It makes a good house plant in bright light and grows one to two feet tall.