Friday, July 18, 2008

The National Arboretum is a Legitimate, no, an Excellent Summer Garden Destination

This is a new thing! We have always been magical in the spring with Azaleas, Cherries, Magnolias, Crabapples, the Asian Collections, The Native Plant Collections, and sundry miscellaneous plantings. Fall color has always been spectacular, but summer has not been our season. We have always had the Crape Myrtles, but they are not especially "user friendly" since most of them are in research beds. Lynn Batdorf's daylily collection has always been an attraction. The Herb Garden could be counted on for interesting plantings, but when I woke up in the summer and felt like spending half a day in a garden, the Arboretum never made my list.

Well, that has changed and really the lion's share of the credit has to go to one person, Bradley Evans. Mr. Evans has been the horticulturist charged with installing and maintaining the plantings around the Administration building for, I guess two to three years. Over that period he has introduced spectacular containers, exciting plantings in the beds, increased the diversity and quality of the water plants in the pool, and provided containers for the Friendship Garden. He worked with former Supervisory Horticulturist Angela Palmer; together they redesigned existing beds around the Administration Building and created a number of new mixed borders. I look forward to the seasonal beds and the containers as summer approaches. I meet new plants every year and I don't often see plants I haven't met before.

Dumbarton Oaks has wonderful roses and great spaces, the regional public gardens (Brookside, Meadowlark, Green Springs, et alia ) are very nice but honestly, If you're a plant person, if you are interested in new plants or innovative design ideas, or if you just want to see beautiful plantings, the Arboretum has moved to the top of the summer list in Washington.

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