A Trip To The National Arboretum

Despite the fact that nothing ever grows for me but weeds I do like some green things. Odd and unusual plants that aren’t part of my everyday experience really get my interest. In California I’ve been to the Los Angeles Country Arboretum and the Huntington Library Botanical Gardens and both have an awe inspiring variety of plant life to see. Because of the climate they have an incredible array of flowers, trees, succulents, grasses, etc. from all around the world. Going from a Japanese garden to giant cacti in a short walk is really fun. Oh, and the LA County Arboretum has peafowl running around loose.

It’s really hard to top those places and because of that I was a bit let down by the National Arboretum in Washington D.C. It’s still a wonderful place but it’s populated by plant species far more familiar to someone who lives in the Eastern United States. Nonetheless it is pleasant and park like with people picnicking and laying about enjoying the green space.

We went there on “azalea weekend” which is when they come into bloom. It was impressive to see color blanket areas during the walk around the azalea gardens. I didn’t know how great the variety of sizes and hues were for those flowers till that point.

I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum was there as well. Bonsai trees are fascinating and their miniature intricacies kept me enthralled. These perfectly proportioned dwarf trees are amazing pieces of living art. Penjing is the Chinese art of miniature landscape. It involves trees like Bonsai but often creates the impression of a small natural area. It can also emphasize parts of the tree like the trunk or branches through manipulations.

I hope you enjoy the gallery of photos below which show some bits of the trip. Click the thumbnails for a bigger image and description.