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US National Arboretum

Updated on December 15, 2011

DC's Urban Oasis

Are you planning a vacation to the nation's capitol or looking for a great garden destination in the Washington DC area? Maybe you're looking for a relaxing place to ride a bike. Join me on an overview of the US National Arboretum, one of my favorite gardens in Washington. Renowned for it's unique National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, azalea collections, dwarf conifer collection and the State Grove of Trees, the Arboretum also has fantastic lilacs and perennials such as day-lilies and peonies as well as the National Herb Garden. History buffs will enjoy the National Capitol Columns which once stood at the east portico of the U.S. Capitol, and bikers will enjoy riding miles of paved roads.

The Azalea Collection

is in jeopardy!

Historic Glen Dale Azaleas

A view of the historic Glenn dale azaleas on sunny Mount Hamilton. THIS is why Washingtonians flock to the arboretum in late April. Photo © 2009 Chris Scroggins

SPRING: The Azaleas Collection

AN EXCERPT FROM THE ARBORETUM BROCHURE: The collections, which cover 40 acres of a forested hillside and explode in a riot of color in late April and May include historical and modern varieties. Visit often to relax in one of the area's most beautiful and tranquil woodland gardens.

Help FONA save the Boxwood and Azalea Collection

Each year over 100,000 Washington families enjoy the historic and beautiful azalea displays. Find out how you can help support this great plant collection.

Mt. Hamilton

A view of Mt. Hamilton on April 26, 2009. © Chris Scroggins

An EXCERPT FROM THE ARBORETUM BROCHURE: "15,000 azaleas were planted on the south side of Mt. Hamilton in 1946-47. They were all hybrids created by B.Y.Morrison. Morrison, a trained landscape architect, arranged the plants into large sweeps of overlapping color and times of bloom. "

Historic Glenn Dales Azaleas

© Chris Scroggins

A cool Spring keeps azalea buds tightly furled in 2009. © Chris Scroggins

These azalea books make great birthday or holiday gifts for shade gardeners.

Spring Perennials

A view of perennials next to the National Herb Garden on May 26, 2009. © Chris Scroggins

The Morrison Garden

© Chris Scroggins / After strolling around Mt Hamilton and the historic Glenn dales, you can cool your heels in the Morrison garden filled with boxwoods and Glenn Dale azaleas.

The Lilac Collection - Although not as well known as the major collections, the lilacs are the stars in mid April.

Lilacs almost at peak on April 19th, 2009. © Chris Scroggins

When will they invent a camera that captures fragrance? © Chris Scroggins

In addition to the traditional lilac colors, you will also see some less typical varieties like this all white lilac. © Chris Scroggins

This deep fuscia colored lilac was a knock out. © Chris Scroggins

These lilac gardening books are perfect birthday and holiday gift ideas for gardeners.

Late Summer's Delight: The Washington Youth Garden

Come inside and see what Washington area kids are planting this season. © Chris Scroggins

Cleomes and sunflowers abound. © Chris Scroggins

Support the Washington Youth Garden - visit:

FROM THE WEBSITE: The Washington Youth Garden at the National Arboretum

provides hands-on nutrition, gardening, and environmental education programs to DC youth and their families.

The summer blooms reach way over your head, making you feel like a little kid again. © Chris Scroggins

Scarecrows help protect precious vegetables planted by the kids. © Chris Scroggins

Special Exhibitions

Special botanical art exhibitions like this photography exhibit by artist Andrea Ottesen are held in the Administration building.

Arbor House Gift Shop

Stop by the Arboretum gift shop for unique gifts for gardeners and flower lovers. Located across from the administration buildling parking lot.

© Chris Scroggins

Get garden gloves, garden accents, greeting cards, books and gifts for children at the Arbor House gift shop. © Chris Scroggins

Gently Used Garden Books for Sale

Stop by the FONA headquarters next door to the Arbor House gift shop and purchase used garden books in excellent condition such as these books by well known garden writers.© Chris Scroggins

The Picnic Grounds - Adjacent to the National Grove of State Trees

With no food service on the grounds and limited food service on New York Avenue, it's best to bring your own lunch. © Chris Scroggins

Arboretum Location

3501 New York Avenue NE, Washington DC:
3501 New York Avenue NE, Washington DC

get directions

Autumn at the Arboretum - All images on this site are copyright © Chris Scroggins.

A view of Red Maples in November, 2009. © Chris Scroggins

National Bonsai and Penjing Museum - Fall is a great time to visit!

No trip to the Arboretum is complete without a visit to the Bonsai Museum.

QUOTE FROM ARBORETUM: " Established in 1976, the museum is an international scholarly center where superior bonsai, penjing and related arts are displayed and studied for the education and delight of visitors." All Images copyright © Chris Scroggins

Hours for Bonsai Museum

Bonsai Museum open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m, NOT 8:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m.!!!

Autumn Maple

© Chris Scroggins

Autumn Ginkgo

© Chris Scroggins

The Oldest Bonsai

The famous Japanese white pine in training since 1625. © Chris Scroggins

Hornbeam Bonsai

A Hornbeam bonsai in training since 1935. © Chris Scroggins

© Chris Scroggins

Spring Crabapple

Crabapple in training since 1935. © Chris Scroggins

Kato Stroll Garden

The Kato stroll garden is dedicated to five generations of Bonsai masters in the Kato family. © Chris Scroggins

Want to learn the art of bonsai? You can start by reading one of these top rated bonsai books available on Amazon:

Bonsai Books and Tools

Bonsai books and tools make perfect holiday gifts for bonsai growers and hobbyists.

Did you enjoy your virtual visit to the National Arboretum? Please sign my guest book. And by all means, tell me which of my photos are your favorites. Thanks!

Green Thumb Guestbook

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    • Inkhand profile image


      6 years ago

      I absolutely love the bonsai photos in this lens. A great way to capture the beautiful gardens of National Arboretum.

    • KarenTBTEN profile image


      8 years ago

      Arboretums are lovely, and you have showcased this nicely with your pictures. SquidAngel blessings.

    • NatureMaven profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @BuckHawkcenter: Thank you, Buck Hawk!

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image


      8 years ago

      You have done a beautiful job of presenting a beautiful place. As a gardener, you have me wanting to visit! Angel Blessed*

    • squid-janices7 profile image


      9 years ago

      What a lovely lens! Thanks for stopping gave me a chance to find this beauty. We lived in DC for 3 years so we got to experience all this flowering trees/shrubs first hand. 5*!

    • dustytoes profile image


      9 years ago

      I loved seeing the little Bonsai trees. Nice photography of a beautiful place. Lensrolling to my gardening lens.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for joining G Rated Lense Factory!

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image


      9 years ago from Canada

      Such a beautiful lens. Congratulations and 5*. Lensrolled into Garden Paths! Thanks for dropping by.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      9 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Lovely photos. :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Wow! This is great. I love the lilacs.


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