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Orchids in the greenhouse

Gardens

Explore 13 acres of fall gardens in bloom.

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. 

Highlights in the greenhouse:

  • Only one month until orchid month and the greenhouses are starting to shine. The cymbidium collection in particular is coming on strong. One nice specimen is Cymbidium Mighty Sunset ‘Barbara’. The flowers have been described as bright orange with a dusting of red. Cymbidiums are native to the foothills of the Himalayans. As such, they need cooler temperatures compared to other orchids and actually like a touch of frost to set flower buds.
  • A beautiful pink slipper orchid (Phragmipedium Fritz Schomburg ‘Golden Creek’) is in bloom in the west orchid house. The vigorous plant sends out multiple flower buds that develop into vibrant pink flowers with a thick lip that resembles a pouch. Ancestry of this beauty leads to Peru and to an orchid, Phragmipedium kovachii, that was only discovered in 2001. 
  • The black jewel orchid (Ludisia discolor) is known for its foliage as much as its flower. Right now, you can see both. The striking, velvety, deep maroon leaves have pink veins that run down the length of the blade. Its small white flowers grow in clusters on upright stalks. The flowers can be long lasting even up to a month or more.

Plants to note in the gardens:

  • Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are pushing their way into the world and starting to bloom in front of the Dacha just in time for our new exhibition! One of the earliest blooming bulbs, it is the forerunner to tens of thousands more planted throughout the campus. Snowdrops grow particularly well under deciduous trees, receiving full sun in late winter and then part shade as the leaves of the trees develop.
  • There are quite a few hellebore or Lenten rose in flower on the property. An attractive mix (Helleborus × hybridus ‘Pine Knot Select’) is found in the western Lunar Lawn bed. The flowers come in white, cream, pink, red and everything in between. Some can have patterns too. The foliage makes an attractive year round ground cover. ‘Pine Knot Select’ was developed in Clarksville, Virginia.
  • The witch hazel (Hamamelis × intermedia 'Jalena') between the Adirondack building and Dacha is just glowing. This wide deciduous shrub is full of flowers comprised of crinkled strap-like petals that start red at the center and become yellow at the tips. 'Jalena' is a cross between Japanese and Chinese witch hazel and is known for its attractive, sometimes fragrant, copper look when in bloom as well as good fall color.
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Striking orange flowers of Cymbidium Mighty Sunset 'Barbara'

Striking orange flowers of Cymbidium Mighty Sunset 'Barbara'

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Phragmipedium Fritz Schomburg 'Golden Creek' flowers are so pretty in pink

Phragmipedium Fritz Schomburg 'Golden Creek' flowers are so pretty in pink

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Attractive dark foliage and delicate white blooms of Ludisia discolor

Attractive dark foliage and delicate white blooms of Ludisia discolor

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Galanthus nivalis in flower

Galanthus nivalis is showing the way for many more bulbs

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Helleborus × hybridus Pine Knot Select with white flowers and pink speckles

Helleborus × hybridus 'Pine Knot Select' with pink speckles

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Crinkled strap-like petals of Hamamelis × intermedia 'Jelena'

Crinkled strap-like petals of Hamamelis × intermedia 'Jelena'