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:
- Autumn has finally arrived at Hillwood and the color is fabulous! The motor court, in particular, with the deep burgundy hues of the dogwood (Cornus florida) and azalea leaves, is striking. The Japanese maples in the Japanese-style garden are also beautiful especially surrounded by the yellows of the surrounding woodlands. It’s just a great time to walk the grounds and enjoy the season.
- Our specialty mums are just coming into bloom and Chrysanthemum x morifolium 'Bola de Oro' is making quite a statement around campus. The large yellow heads on a single stem are produced by removing lateral buds throughout the growing season (disbudding). Other forms are also on view in the shapes of cones, panels and bonsai. Traditional mounded chrysanthemums, two thousand of which were planted in October, are also nearing full bloom.
- We have an interesting sight at the Lunar Lawn. An early azalea (Rhododendron yedoense var. poukhanense) has become confused and has pushed out a large flush of flowers. In the same area, there are also cannas from the summer display and mums for fall. Photos taken will capture three seasons in one frame, not something often seen here in DC
Plants of note in the greenhouse:
- There are various orchids in bloom right now but a standout is the pink and white blooms on the Dendrobium Busaba Pink x Siriratana. This beauty is a phalaenopsis type dendrobium (known as a den-phal) with long flower stalks that emanate from stiff cane-like stems. Den-phals have a flower shape reminiscent of phalaenopsis orchids from whence the type takes its name.
- A relative newcomer to the greenhouse is the little Meyer lemon tree (Citrus x meyeri). This year it has large lemons that are really out of scale for the size of the plant! Thought of as being a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange, this little tree originates from China and needs to stay indoors through the winter in the DC area.
- Another interesting plant blooming in our tropical house is the Asian violet (Primulina ‘Diane Marie’). Related to African violets, this cultivar puts out multiple flower stems of nodding lavender, trumpet-like flowers. The foliage is equally attractive being a rosette of silverish-white leaves with a dark green edge. Asian violets make good houseplants but like a few hours of strong sunlight to flourish.