First, it must be stressed that I am not a good tour taker. I love looking at gardens, but I can enjoy a smaller garden pretty quickly, and then I’m done. I’m better in big public gardens, where you can keep moving and there’s always something different around the corner. That said, I found plenty to absorb my attention during the recent DC-area garden bloggers get-together, which was packed with really cool gardens, small and large. Organizer Tammy Schmitt did a great job. However, I was not able to see all the gardens on the schedule, as it was my first trip to DC and I had to take time out to see all the iconic sights that are probably old news to most of you.
And finally, just one more caveat. I was probably the only person there shooting with an iphone. One blogger had three cameras with her, two hung around her neck at all times, and everybody else also had professional SLR equipment. Click here, which has the posts from the event, to view the superior results.
Without further ado, here are my Fling takeaways.
Capitol area gardens include many of the same plants as WNY gardens. I was pleased to see extensive use of plants that have long been mainstays for me, as with this hakonechloa/hollow log array above. This was a minimalist space in Bethesda; I say minimalist because just a few plants (including my other favorites, Verbena bonariensis and tall rudbeckia) were used in profusion.
I must be harboring a lot of 1 percenter envy because I really do love the large estate gardens, such as Hillwood (former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post) and Dumbarton Oaks (historic gardens designed by Beatrice Ferrand). Highlights of Dumbarton include a large pebble garden and many traditional water features, including a big stagnant pool/amphitheater I kind of liked. Hillwood had beautifully divided areas; you were always discovering different little garden rooms.
My favorite private garden (though I missed some great ones on Sunday) was a lush, layered space in Bethesda (2 views above) that was relatively small with an elevated back garden. As you can see, this elevation was used to create a wonderful waterfall/pond. There were also great combos of perennials and annuals in the beds. That’s really something I should do more often.
The best day was spent with fellow Ranter Susan Harris, who graciously took me around the major DC sites, as well as Dumbarton Oaks, the National Arboretum, and Tudor Place (another estate garden). We caught up over a fun lunch in Georgetown, and I’m looking forward to more catching up with Susan and other Flingers when the GWA takes place in Buffalo next month.
I leave you with words from the FDR memorial, kind of sad to read, these days.