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Orchids in the greenhouse

Gardens

Explore 13 acres of spring 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. 

Plants to note in the gardens:

  • The roses in the rose garden are starting to open. A favorite is the cultivar ‘Apricot Nectar’. Just like its name, the tightly packed buds open to large, double flowers in a soft apricot pink color with a delicious fragrance. ‘Apricot Nectar’ is a floribunda rose indicating that it produces large flowers in clusters.  
  • The horsechestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum ‘Baumannii’) is in bloom outside of the French parterre. ‘Baumannii’ is typically taller and narrower than the species; has a double, white flower; and does not produce fruit. It is an old cultivar first identified in Geneva, Switzerland in 1819. The horsechestnut has a short bloom time so enjoy it while you can.
  • Golden alexanders (Zizia aurea) are blooming in the cutting garden and along the woodland path. This relatively carefree plant produces large, flat-topped clusters of bright yellow flowers. A native perennial throughout much of the US, golden alexanders can be found in small groupings in a variety of habitats from moist prairies and thickets to open woods. It is also a host plant for black swallowtail butterfly larvae.

Highlights in the greenhouse:

  • The east orchid house is aglow from all the blooming moth orchids (Phalaenopsis spp.). Phalaenopsis can be found in a wide variety of colors and patterns which is quite evident in this part of the greenhouse. If you are ready to try your hand at orchid growing, moth orchids are great place to start and they are readily available in grocery stores and garden centers. With hundreds of cultivars, there is surely something unique for every orchid enthusiast.
  • There are also a number of slipper orchids in flower. A standout is Phragmipedium Taras, a cross between cultivars of two different species, P. boissierianum and P. pearcei, from the tropical Americas. The yellowish-green flower has striped petals that twist like crepe paper and change to maroon at the ends. The dorsal sepal is also striped and twisted. The flower is a treat to look at up-close.
  • Dendrobium Violet Yamaji ‘Puanani’ is blooming in the cymbidium house, the house closest to the cold frames. The genus Dendrobium is one of the largest in the orchid family and very diverse. Dendrobium Violet Yamaji ‘Puanani’ has beautiful purplish-red flowers that develop from the tips of its canes. The canes are actually pseudobulbs and are used by the plant to store water and nutrients.
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Roses coming into bloom

Rosa 'Apricot Nectar' coming into bloom in the rose garden

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Double, white flowers of Aesculus hippocastanum ‘Baumannii’

Double, white flowers of Aesculus hippocastanum ‘Baumannii’

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Zizia aurea adds to the color in the cutting garden

Zizia aurea adds to the color in the cutting garden

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Lots of Phalaenopsis flowering in the greenhouse

Lots of Phalaenopsis flowering in the greenhouse

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Unique flowers of Phragmipedium Taras

Phragmipedium Taras and its twisting petals

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Beautiful flowers of Dendrobium Violet Yamaji 'Puanani'

Beautiful flowers of Dendrobium Violet Yamaji 'Puanani'