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:
- There are still a few plants lighting up the late autumn landscape with their phenomenal leaf color. The dawn redwoods (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) have turned a beautiful bronze outside of the motor court. The Japanese maples in the Japanese-style garden keep going strong as their bright red leaves stand out against the surrounding woodlands. It’s still a great time to walk grounds and enjoy the season.
- The mums in Marjorie Post’s planters have now been replaced with hardy shrubs and perennials for the winter. At the vista terrace, staff have matched golden dwarf hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Lutea’) with wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), dwarf mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’) and yellow ripple ivy. See these and other fun plant combinations of varying colors and textures throughout the grounds.
- The green hawthorn (Crataegus viridis 'Winter King') near the Lunar Lawn is a sight to see. The leaves have dropped allowing the fruit to make a show. The green hawthorn is a small tree native to the southeastern United States. Clusters of white flowers opened in May that resulted in the large orange-red berries visible today. ‘Winter King’ is a popular cultivar known for enhanced disease resistance, heavy blooming and larger fruit.
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 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 houseplant in bright light and grows one to two feet tall.