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.
If it’s a little chilly outside, make sure to stop and see these plants of note in the greenhouse:
- The orchids are really gearing up for Orchid Month in March. Dendrobium Violet Fizz ‘Luna’ is in bloom with beautiful pink flowers with a white and yellow center. This is a Nobile type Dendrobium which mean that the flowers come right from the canes instead of on a long flower stalk.
- Our own award-winning Dendrobium orchid is coming into bloom. Andrew Bedenbaugh, our Orchid and Tropical Specialist, came across Dendrobium Specio-kingianum ‘Memoria Nina Sue’ last year. Though it may be small in stature, it packs a punch with lots of unique magenta-colored flowers.
- Another interesting orchid to see is Lycaste Corrimal. This first generation hybrid has almost surreal wax-looking yellow flowers. Lycaste Corrimal is an offspring of Lycaste aromatica and Lycaste macrophylla, species found from Mexico to Bolivia.
- On the western end of the greenhouse, the tropical house is also filled with fun plants to see. The orange medinilla (Medinilla scortechinii) from the Philippines is in bloom. 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.
Highlights in the gardens:
- Even in the winter Hillwood’s gardens are delightful. The fall color on the azaleas has been exceptional this year and is really holding up. The effect is stellar when viewed with the backdrop of southern magnolia, white pine and American holly near the Lunar Lawn. Find out more on a specialty tour before the end of the year.
- Berries always provide extra interest at this time of year. Hawthorn, nandina, viburnum and holly are all putting on a show throughout the grounds. The Nellie Stevens holly (Ilex 'Nellie R. Stevens') at the cutting garden is full of big reddish-orange berries. A great holly for fast growth and heat tolerance, this pyramidal tree can reach 15 to 25’ high. The birds typically leave this one alone and fruit can persist into spring.
- On several different genera throughout the gardens, the flower buds themselves are quite intriguing. One such plant swelling with the promise of spring is the paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha) in the western Lunar Lawn bed. The buds are tightly packed elliptical bundles of silvery-white and remind some people of packs of Q-tips. In the spring, these buds will open to fragrant pale yellow flowers that can last into April.