Friday, March 29, 2013

Signs of Spring: Cherry Blossoms at the National Arboretum

Somehow, in eight years of living here and in spite of being a plant geek, I had never managed to get to the National Arboretum. That is a shame, because, as I discovered yesterday, it is a remarkable place.  The arboretum is located on the Anacostia River, just inside the District of Columbia. They have a large collection of cherry blossom trees, including a number of early varieties currently in full bloom in spite of the cold. A number of other early spring flowers were in bloom as well, including daffodils, hellebores, and crocuses. We mostly had the entire place to ourselves, although as the weather gets warmer, I expect more people visit.  It is definitely worth a trip and admission is free.

Pictures (click to enlarge):
 A flowering apricot.
A very pale pink flowering cherry.  Unfortunately, I didn't write down the varieties of cherry trees that we saw.
 Pretty pale pink cherries.  These are a different variety than the ones above.
A bright pink cherry.
 Hellebore or Lenten Rose
 A Japanese Magnolia blossom.
 Primroses in the Chinese Gardens.
The Capitol Columns.  The U.S. Capitol was renovated and expanded in 1958.  These columns were removed from the building and placed at the National Arboretum.
A little dwarf iris, about five inches tall.
The arboretum includes the National Bonsai Museum, which was definitely a highlight of our visit.  The tree above has been "in training" (shaped) since 1625! 

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