AAA Editor Notes
U.S. National Arboretum is just e. of jct. US 50 (New York Ave.) and Bladensburg Rd. N.E.; entrances are at 3501 New York Ave. N.E. and at 24th and R sts. N.E. Many introduced and native plants commonly found in the eastern United States grow within its 446 acres, created in 1927 to conduct research and educate the public about ornamental trees and shrubs. The arboretum is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
A network of foot trails, bridges and 9.5 miles of roads allows visitors to observe thousands of primarily woody plants. Among the many varieties of trees and shrubs are dogwoods, magnolias, crab apples, dwarf conifers, boxwoods and hollies. You'll also see native ferns and such seasonal flowering plants as peonies, day lilies and numerous types of azaleas.
The National Herb Garden, occupying part of a large meadow, contains a formal European knot garden, historic rose varieties and specialty herbs. The Introduction Garden displays new plants developed for the nursery trade, while the Asian Collection highlights species from China, Japan and Korea. Twenty-two columns from the 1959 renovation of the east portico of the Capitol building stand on a nearby hilltop. The Friendship Garden features ornamental grasses and perennials.
The Administration Building is surrounded by a pool containing ornamental aquatic plants and fancy Japanese koi. Also on the grounds is the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, which features examples of American, Chinese and Japanese bonsai. A narrated 35-minute tram ride is a nice way to tour this peaceful, scenic refuge from hectic downtown D.C.
Time: Allow 1 hour minimum.