Public Gardens in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area
Public gardens are living examples of which plant performs well in the area. Many public gardens have a reference library, gift shop, web site, and gardening hotline. Usually, public gardens host seminars, workshops, classes, events, and plant sales. They may publish their own books on plants for the area or distribute free handouts. Some have staff horticulturists who can identify plants or answer questions. For a complete list of public gardens by state, check out http://www.ilovegardens.com. Call for admission fees and times (not all are free). For books about local public gardens, see the “Local Books” tab/page at http://www.pegplant.com.
Adkins Arboretum, 12610 Eveland Road, Ridgely, MD 21660; (410) 634-2847
Sherwood Gardens, 4100 Greenway Street at Stratford Road, Baltimore, MD 21212; (410) 323-7982
Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens of Baltimore, 3100 Swann Drive, Baltimore, MD 21217; (410) 396-0008
Hampton National Historic Site, 535 Hampton Lane, Towson, MD 21286; (410) 823-1309
Helen Avalynne Tawes Garden, 580 Taylor Avenue at Rowe Blvd., Annapolis, MD 21401; (410) 260-8189
Lilypons Water Gardens, 6800 Lilypons Road, Buckeystown, MD 21717; (800) 999-5459
National Colonial Farm, Piscataway Park, 3400 Bryan Point Road, Accokeek, MD 20607; (301) 283-2113
Schifferstadt Architectural Museum Gardens, 110 Rosemont Avenue, Baker Park, Frederick, MD 20701; (301) 663-3885
Sotterley Plantation, 44300 Sotterley Lane, Hollywood, MD 20636; (301) 373-2280
Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902;
Cylburn Arboretum, 4915 Greenspring Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21209;
Historic London Town & Gardens, 839 Londontown Road, Edgewater, MD 21037; (410) 222-1919
Ladew Topiary Gardens, 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, MD 21111;
McCrillis Gardens, 6910 Greentree Road, Bethesda, MD 20817;
Riversdale Gardens & House Museum, 4811 Riverdale Road, Riverdale Park, MD 20737; (301) 864-0420
William Paca House and Garden, 186 Prince George Street, Annapolis, MD 21401; (410) 267-7619
Dumbarton Oaks, 1703 32nd Street, NW, Washington DC 20007;
Franciscan Monastery, 1400 Quincy Street, NE, Washington, DC 20017;
Hillwood Museum & Gardens, 4155 Linnean Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20008; (202) 686-5807
Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, between Quarles & Douglas Streets on Anacostia Avenue, Washington, DC; (202) 426-6905
Smithsonian Institution Gardens, 900 Jefferson Drive, SW, Washington DC 20560; (202) 633-2220
Tudor Place, 1644 31st Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20007; (202) 965-0400
U.S. Botanic Garden, 245 First Street, SW, Washington DC 20024; (202) 225-8333
U.S. National Arboretum, 3501 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20002; (202) 245-2726
Morven Park, 17263 Southern Planter Lane, Leesburg, VA 20176; (703) 777-2414
The National Botanic Garden, 26175 Ticonderoga Road, Chantilly, VA 20152; (703) 327-4424
Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 N. Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; (703) 549-2997
Ben Lomond Historic Site, 10321 Sudley Manor Drive, Manassas, VA 20109; 703 367-7872
American Horticultural Society’s River Farm, 7931 East Boulevard Drive, Alexandria, VA 22308; (703) 768-5700
Blandy, state arboretum of Virginia (Orland E. White Arboretum) and University of Virginia’s experimental farm, 400 Blandy Farm Lane, Boyce, VA 22620; (540) 837-1758
Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA 22312;
Gunston Hall Plantation, 10709 Gunston Road, Mason Neck, VA 22079; (703) 550-9220
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court, Vienna, VA 22182; (703) 255-3631
Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, George Washington Parkway, Mount Vernon, VA 22121; (703) 780-2000
Oatlands Historic House and Gardens, 20850 Oatlands Plantation Lane, Leesburg, VA 20175; (703) 777-3174
Woodlawn Plantation, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House, Arcadia
9000 Richmond Highway, Mt. Vernon, VA 22309; (703) 780-4000
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond, VA 23228; (804) 262-9887
Demonstration gardens are a great way to learn what works in our area and how to manage our local issues, such as deer. The gardens are open to the public, every day, from dawn to dusk, free. Each county that has a Master Gardener program usually has at least one demonstration garden, managed by the volunteer Master Gardeners. To find such a garden, call your local county Master Gardener program representative (your local extension agent) and ask if they manage a demonstration garden. Some have several to showcase various environmental conditions and some use the garden as a place to teach or host workshops.
The Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia (Arlington and Alexandria) have five demonstration gardens:
- Glencarlyn Library Community Gardens, corner of S. Third and S. Kensington Streets, off Carlin Springs Road, Arlington
- Simpson Park Gardens (E. Monroe Avenue at the end of Leslie Avenue, next to the YMCA in Alexandria
- Organic Vegetable Garden, Potomac Overlook Regional Park, Marcy Road, Arlington
- Rock Quarry Shade Garden, Bon Air Park on Wilson Boulevard and N. Lexington Street, Arlington
- Sunny Garden, Bon Air Park, Arlington
The Prince William County Master Gardeners manage a very large “Teaching Garden” at St. Benedict Monastery, 9535 Linton Hall Road, Bristow, VA. Within this large garden are mini gardens to illustrate certain conditions or issues, such as a deer resistant garden, shade garden, vegetable garden, and pollinator garden.
The Loudoun County Master Gardeners have Ida Lee Park on Ida Lee Park Drive, Leesburg, VA; which they also use as a teaching garden.
The Montgomery County Master Gardeners have a demonstration garden at the Agriculture History Farm Park, 18410 Muncaster Road, Derwood, MD.
The Prince Georges County Master Gardeners are fortunate to use the Kitchen Garden at the Riversdale Gardens and House Museum, 4811 Riverdale Road, Riverdale Park, MD.
In addition some plant societies such as the National Capital Dahlia Society have demonstration gardens specific to their plant of interest. Contact the society directly to see if they have one. The National Capital Dahlia Society has the Nordahl Exhibition Garden for displaying dahlias at the Agricultural History Park in Derwood, MD.
Updated June 2018; copyright Peggy Riccio and pegplant.com