Visiting Dumbarton Oaks
Designed by Beatrix Farrand in the early 1920s, the landscape at Dumbarton Oaks in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. consists of more than 10 acres of exquisite gardens, including 13 different enclosed gardens. Following the advice of her mentor, Charles Sargent, to “make the plan fit the ground and not twist the ground to fit the plan,” Farrand created elegant outdoor “rooms” near the house, with a series of descending terraces leading down the hillside.
Special Garden Features at Dumbarton Oaks
- Seasonally changing perennial, annual and bulb beds.
- Rose Garden, with more than 900 mostly re-blooming varieties.
- The Orangery, used as a greenhouse in winter.
- Pebble garden
- An extensive vegetable garden
- Cherry Hill, with a mixture of cherry species, including Prunus sargentii, Prunus subhirtella, and Prunus x yedoensis.
- The Elllipse, a double row of American hornbeams clipped into an aerial hedge sixteen feet high and fifteen feet wide.
Tips for Visiting Dumbarton Oaks
- Upon entering the front gate, most visitors head directly to the gardens. But continue walking along the driveway and view the beautiful landscape surrounding the impressive front entrance of the mansion and beyond.
- In addition to the landscape design and plantings, Dumbarton Oaks features a fairly extensive collection of outdoor furniture and garden ornaments. In fact, the estate’s website includes an excellent inventory of both, with photos. Look under “Garden Collections”.
- For the home gardener, Dumbarton Oaks offers a chance to see creative examples of materials for arbors and trellises, and different paving materials and patterns for walkways and steps.
- Be sure to visit the often overlooked Orangery, with its walls covered in creeping fig. Beautiful!
- Admission is free from November 1 through mid-March.
703 32nd Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20007