What's in Bloom
Set on twenty-five acres adjacent to Rock Creek Park, Hillwood’s gardens feature a diverse and fascinating array of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants, offering something to see in every season.
What's in Bloom: The Cutting Garden, July 17, 2021
Here are just a few of the plants in bloom in the gardens:
- The summer display at the Lunar Lawn is really coming on in fiery shades of reds, pinks, and oranges. The front edge is comprised of the Sunpatiens mix ‘Summer Salsa’. Behind the border is an array of plants including Zinnia ‘Señora’, Canna ‘Cannova Bronze Orange’, Ixora, Colocasia ‘Diamond Head’ and more. It is just a part of the 11,000 plants added to make the gardens sparkle throughout the summer.
- This is the time for the cutting garden to shine and it is just packed with color. One of the plants adding to this show is the dahlia. There are quite a few different cultivars in a variety of sizes and colors in the garden. Typically, dahlias will not over-winter in the DC area and the tubers must be dug and stored. A special protection of leaves and tarps have allowed our dahlias to stay in place and the results are the robust plants on display.
- In the shadier areas around the Dacha, the Chinese astilbe (Astilbe chinensis var. pumila) has come into bloom. Pink panicles rise above attractive dark green compound leaves. The plant itself stays under a foot high making it perfect for bed edges. Once established, the Chinese astilbe is a durable, long-lived perennial that adds a little summer spark to a shade garden.
Flowers to note in the greenhouse:
- There are still a lot of fun orchids in bloom. Prosthechea cochleata, a cockleshell orchid, has taken center stage in the west orchid house. The flower presents itself upside down with its lip at the top. The whole flower is reminiscent of a sea creature. This amazing plant has a native range that includes southern Florida where it is listed as an endangered species.
- Another standout in the greenhouse is an unnamed cultivar of Coelogyne mayeriana (Coelogyne mayeriana x self). Apple green flowers with black markings on the lip make this a unique orchid to see. Found often near mangroves in Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, and Borneo, this beauty can live in trees as an epiphyte or a terrestrial orchid.
- Orange medinilla (Medinilla scortechinii) is blooming in the tropical house. This broad leaf, evergreen shrub from the Philippines has distinctive orange buds that look like they could be found on a coral reef. The long-lasting flowers then open into a star-like form. Sometimes called the “the Rolls Royce of houseplants”, many species of medinillas have extravagant flowers that come in a variety of colors.