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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:

    • There are quite a few of orchids in bloom and visitors cannot miss the sweet chocolate scent of Oncidium Sharry Baby ‘Sweet Fragrance’ in the orchid west house. Full of small maroon blooms with a white lip, flower spikes can reach several feet in length. This orchid has been blooming for months! Viewed as one of the easiest oncidiums to grow, it is also one of the most famous fragrant orchids available.
    • Another intriguing specimen is the night fragrant epidendrum (Epidendrum nocturnum x self). The exotic shape may make one think of distant lands but actually this orchid is native to southern Florida where it lives among the tree branches in wetland ecosystems. As the name implies, the long slender flowers are fragrant at night but often do not open due to their capacity to self-fertilize.
    • The tropical house is packed full for the winter and the pink quill plant (Tillandsia cyanea) is showing off. Large pink bracts with violet blue flowers are the first to grab attention but the long thin leaves are attractive even out of bloom. This versatile houseplant is easy to care for and prospers in bright indirect light and good draining soil. 

     

    Plants to note in the gardens:

    • Though it is not ‘in bloom’, the fall color on the azaleas is something not to be missed. Mixed in with other evergreens, the paths are lit with the reds, purples, and yellows of the changing season. The colors can be enjoyed well into January so stroll the gardens and take in the show. 
    • Now is the time when the planters throughout the grounds are given their winter dress. Most often that means a variety of evergreens enjoyed for their foliage. Though at the vista terrace, the white winter heath (Erica x darleyensis ‘Mediterranean White’) is displaying spikes of white bell-shaped flowers. This compact mounding shrub provides a nice contrast in texture when paired with broad-leaf or scaled evergreens.
    • A fall blooming camellia (Camellia ‘Winter’s Snowman’) is blooming near the Dacha. Lovely bright white flowers adorn this upright evergreen shrub. Part of the Ackerman hybrids, this cultivar was developed at the U.S. National Arboretum when looking to improve plant cold hardiness in camellias. These hybrids are known to survive down to USDA Zone 6 in sheltered locations.
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    Does Oncidium Sharry Baby ‘Sweet Fragrance’ smell like chocolate to you?

    Does Oncidium Sharry Baby ‘Sweet Fragrance’ smell like chocolate to you?

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    Florida native Epidendrum nocturnum x self in bloom

    Florida native Epidendrum nocturnum x self in bloom

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    Pink bracts and violet blue flowers of Tillandsia cyanea

    Pink bracts and violet blue flowers of Tillandsia cyanea

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    Amazing fall color of the azaleas along the paths

    Amazing fall color of the azaleas along the paths

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    Erica x darleyensis 'Mediterranean White' as part of a winter planter

    Erica x darleyensis 'Mediterranean White' as part of a winter planter

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    Beautiful white blooms of Camellia ‘Winter’s Snowman’

    Beautiful white blooms of Camellia ‘Winter’s Snowman’