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:
- Seasonal color was an integral part of the gardens for Marjorie Post. In the fall, she would have her gardeners fill the borders with chrysanthemums. We continue that tradition today and the staff has just started to transition from the summer display to over two thousand mums. This year's designs also include pansies, violas, grasses, ornamental millet, cape daisy, snapdragons and more.
- The cutting garden is still full of color and shouldn’t be missed. Salvias, asclepias and dahlias are all blooming as well as a huge variety of celosia. One stand out is Celosia cristata ‘Kurume Orange Red.’ This is a cockscomb type of celosia with large red heads. The plant shows great tolerance to a wide range of moisture levels and disease pressure. Strong, straight stems make this a favorite for cutting for arrangements.
- The rose garden has put out a new round of blooms. 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.
- Under the pine in the western Lunar Lawn bed, is the hardy begonia (Begonia grandis) blooming its head off. Reaching up to two feet tall, it’s a great player in a shade garden where it pairs nicely with hosta and ferns. Pendulous pink male and female flowers dangle over wing-shaped leaves (obliquely ovate) that are olive green on top and reddish underneath. The stems are red-tinged as well. Plants will spread by forming tiny bulblets in the leaf axils in autumn which then mature and fall to the ground.
Plants of note in the greenhouse:
- March may be orchid month but there are some nice orchid specimens in bloom right now. Rhyncholaeliocattleya Pennsylvania Spring ‘#3’ has large yellow flowers nearly a hand width across. Rhyncholaeliocattleya is a group of orchids that share Rhyncholaelia and Cattleya as ancestral parents. This hybrid sports a large lip with a bit of fringe along the edge.
- The Tibouchina grandifolia is making quite the statement in the entrance house. Spikes of purple flowers reach nearly 7 feet in the air. The plant’s foliage is a show stopper too with large fuzzy leaves that can turn a bit orange towards fall. This Brazilian native has become quite popular in Florida and with the Hillwood horticulture staff.
- 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 house plant in bright light and grows one to two feet tall.