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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 03/15/2010

Area gardens spring to life

By Anne Kenderdine

The snow has melted, the temperatures are warming and we are finally starting to see the first green sprouts emerging from the earth. Gardens across the area are getting into the spring spirit with tours, festivals and workshops. I've chosen a few gardens worth checking out because, after all, 'tis the season to stop and smell the roses -- or the orchids, forsythia and rhododendrons.

Dumbarton Oaks
In 1920 Mildred Bliss moved into bought a house in Georgetown with disheveled grounds. Bliss got to work with her gardener, and their attention to detail is still visible after 90 years. The gardens opened for the regular season earlier this week, and garden tours are offered daily (except Monday) at 2:15 p.m. Gardens are open daily (except Monday) from 2 to 6 p.m.

U.S. Botanic Garden
Sometimes sitting at the same drab cubicle can get boring. If you need an infusion of lush green in your monotonous workday, find refuge here. The garden offers tours Mondays from noon to 1 p.m., and tours in March highlight plants in the permanent exhibit that can be turned into everyday items including manila folders, perfume and medicine.

Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens
Marjorie Merriweather Post's love for Russian decoration lives on in everything that Hillwood does, including the incredibly popular Faberge Egg Family Festival. While you're there, be sure to stroll the grounds and see the Japanese-style garden, rose garden and lunar lawn.

Brookside Gardens
Sure, orchids are beautiful flowers, but did you know that Charles Darwin used orchids to prove his theories? The flowers are as smart as they are pretty. Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. the Friends of Brookside Gardens present an orchid show and sale. Make sure you see the rest of the gardens, too! March bloomers at Brookside include anemones, Cornelian cherry, crocus, daphne, forsythia, Japanese andromeda, rhododendrons, sweetbox and winterhazels.

Annmarie Garden
This garden is worth the drive to Southern Maryland simply to check out the lovely sculpture garden featuring works on loan from the Hirshhorn. But if you need more incentive to go, make plans to visit March 20 for Annmarie After Hours ($5). From 6 to 9 p.m. the garden will celebrate the opening of the Washington Sculptors Group's exhibit "Constructed Place" with jazz, remarks by the juror about the exhibit and appetizers and beverages from the Blue Wind Gourmet.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
Perhaps the best part of spring is the hope that we won't see another flake of snow for at least eight months. The heavy snowfalls damaged plants at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, the 94-acre garden in Vienna. Now they need your help. There will be a volunteer day March 25 beginning at 9 a.m.

-- Amy Orndorff

By Anne Kenderdine  | March 15, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
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Great post - a few more local gardens I recommend:
- McGrillis Gardens in Bethesda, MD
- Tudor PLace in DC
- The Old Stome House in G-town, DC
- River Farm just up the road from Mt Vernon in VA
- Oatlands Plantation in VA
- William Paca House in Annapolis, MD
- Ladew Topiary Gardens in MD
there are many more - but this should get you started
Kathy Jentz
Washington Gardener Magazine
826 Philadelphia Ave.
Silver Spring MD 20910

Posted by: KathyMJ | March 15, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

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