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.
The gardens are reaching their spring glory! Here are just a few of the plants in bloom:
- The next two weeks will be the pinnacle of the spring seasonal display with over 23,000 bulbs coming into bloom. The cutting garden has a wonderful mix of ‘Big Eartha’ pink tulips, little yellow ‘Hawera’ daffodils, and ‘Cool Wave Lemon’ pansies. All the tulips are coming on strong now and we will likely see peak bloom next week.
- The azaleas are also coming into flower. The Korean azalea, Rhododendron yedoense var. poukhanense, is blooming all over the gardens. A particularly nice grouping is along the edge of the Lunar Lawn. Roughly six feet tall, it is loaded with rosy-purple flowers that appear in trusses of two or four. Typically best sited in part shade, there are several throughout the campus in full sun that seem to be healthy and happy.
- The crabapples are another sight to see. Malus ‘Indian Magic’ just outside the visitor center conservatory is covered with deep pink flowers. This small tree has a rounded habit and good resistance against the array of diseases that bother apples. These beautiful flowers will then develop into small bright red fruit that will be a highlight of the fall garden.
There is a lot to see in the greenhouse. Here are a few plants to note on your visit:
- There are many orchids in bloom. A particularly nice individual is the Laeliocattleya Spring ‘Erby’. This large corsage orchid has light lavender petals and sepals with a bright magenta lip. Looking at these amazing flowers, it is no wonder that they were one of Marjorie Post’s favorites.
- Paphiopedilum Julius is flowering in the entrance house. This slipper orchid has interesting narrow, twisted petals that are half-spotted and half-striped. It also has a large striped sepal at the top. Multiple flowers appear as the flower stalk elongates. This is a primary cross between two species native to Southeast Asia.
- The bench of Cymbidiums is something to behold. Their thin green foliage mixed in with crotons makes a wonderful backdrop to the stunning number of flowers in bloom. 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. Enjoy the show!