Posted by Susan Harris
No matter how frozen our garden soil or how dormant our plants, lucky gardeners near D.C. can get a big fix of plants and whole gardens by visiting the National Arboretum in N.E. Washington. You know, that gem that a pitiful few of us ever visit because it’s so off the beaten path? The one with so many famous collections? (More about them coming soon to this very blog.)
Turns out it’s really easy to get to – only minutes west from the beltway on Route 50. Directions are right here. So on Christmas Eve Day I visited the Arboretum and found it looking stunning still bathed in our December blizzard, and I made this short video of it to whet your appetite. It’s 2 minutes of trees in the Bonsai and Penjing Museum, then some showy scenes outdoors.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_n4EFAHwYY]
Bonsai is an amazing specialty in growing plants, with some plants having been “in training” since 1625 and even earlier. Unimaginable, right? Here’s the Arboretum’s info about the collection but in a nutshell, what started in 1976 is now a 150-specimen collection of Japanese bonsai (and its precursor, the Chinese art of penjing) that’s considered the best of its kind in North America. Bonsai enthusiast have created this excellent overview on Wikipedia about the art.
The skill and patience required to produce masterpieces of bonsai are probably daunting to most of us regular gardeners, but we totally get the the reverence for nature shown in these works.
Want more? Here’s the Arboretum’s slide show of the collection. Or visit this page for information about events at the Arboretum, including their popular Full Moon Hikes. Apparently even in the dead of winter.