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. Spring is here and the gardens are alive with color! Take a peak in the greenhouse too. Orchid Month has been over for a while but someone forgot to tell the orchids!
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 rose garden is in full bloom. A historical garden from the 1960’s, the beds are comprised of floribunda roses that were available at that time. ‘Apricot Nectar’ is one of the cultivars found there and not only has beautiful large flowers but also has a wonderful fragrance. Make sure to stop and smell this rose.
- The cutting garden perennial bed is exploding into color. A very pleasing combination of purples can be found by the walk that includes allium (Allium ‘Globemaster’), catmint (Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low') and salvia (Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’). The allium is considered a late spring bulb and just provides its spark at this time of year. The catmint and salvia will be around the whole season. All three will provide enjoyment for many years to come.
- The Japanese snowball viburnums (Viburnum plicatum f. plicatum) are lighting up the border of the putting green. Large multi-stemmed deciduous shrubs, they are noted for their round, ball-like flowers that bloom along the top of the branches. Unlike many other viburnums, the flowers of this form will not produce fruit and hence is only found in cultivation. Here at Hillwood, the blooms remind us more of golf balls than snow balls. What do you think?
Plants of note in the greenhouse:
- The east orchid house is full of Phalaenopsis or moth orchids in bloom right now. These orchids can be found in a wide variety of colors and patterns which is quite evident in this part of the greenhouse. Phalaenopsis are commonly sold in garden centers and markets and thought of as a good place to start for amateur growers. With hundreds of cultivars, there is surely something unique for every orchid enthusiast.
- Is vanilla your favorite flavor? Come check out the vanilla orchid (Vanilla planifolia) in flower now. Our staff is busy pollinating the flowers to produce the pods used for flavoring. A vine native to Mexico, it can grow to nearly seventy-five feet in its native habitat. As a houseplant, eight to ten is the more typical range.
- Another interesting plant in bloom in the greenhouse is the Epiphyllum. This cactus, as the name would allude to, is an epiphyte, meaning that it derives its nutrients and moisture from the air. Ours produces large, beautiful, yellow blooms that hang down in the doorway of the west orchid house.