Bridge in Dumbarton Oaks Park
Stairway to Main Garden and Forsythia Dell in Dumbarton Oaks Park
Main Entrance to House at Dumbarton Oaks
Ancient Katsura Tree, Cercidiphyllum japonicum, on the East Lawn
Magnificent American Beech Tree, Fagus grandifolia, on the Beech Terrace
Fountain Terrace in Bloom
The Plum Walk: Prunus x blireana, underplanted with epimediums
Tulips in the Double Herbaceous Borders
Steps Exiting the Herbaceous Borders to the Orchard
My wife, Betsy (a third grade teacher), and I visited Washington, DC this past weekend during the spring break. It was wonderful to experience the warm weather a few weeks early. I was surprised to see some of the daffodils and all the tulips in bloom. NH must be ahead and DC behind schedule this year.
We walked up Massachusetts Avenue to visit Dumbarton Oaks, Beatrix Farrand's (1872- 1959) masterpiece in Georgetown. We got lost for a moment and found ourselves going down a wooded pathway near the British Embassy. As it turned out, we were in Dumbarton Oaks Park, a 27 acre parcel that the owners, Robert and Mildred Bliss, donated to the US government to be managed by the National Park Service in 1940.
Farrand worked closely with Mrs. Bliss from 1921 to 1947 to create a garden of great beauty that, like a fine wine, only improved with age. It has informal sections that are naturalized landscapes of streams, woodlands and meadows. It also has very formal terraced rooms, each with an individual character. She designed the rooms to be connected by a series of paths, many with focal points and axes.
One of the most remarkable components of Dumbarton Oaks are the trees. Many of the trees are nearly a century old and are truly majestic. It makes me have a much greater appreciation for heritage trees thoughtfully planted and placed so they can be displayed to their best advantage when they come into maturity dozens of years in the future.