Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bartholdi Park

On a Thanksgiving week trip to Washington D.C. we took some time to enjoy the sights.  You can read about our tour of the conservatory at the U.S. Botanic Gardens in my previous post.  Even though it was very cold we enjoyed visiting Bartholdi Park across Independence Avenue from the conservatory.

The Bartholdi Park is named for the Bartholdi Fountain placed there.  Frederic Auguste Bartholdi is best known as the designer of the Statue of Liberty.  Definitely the resemblance shows in this work.  The fountain is lighted at night and the water is turned off during the winter.

If you are a fan of the original Victory Garden PBS series you will remember Holly Shimizu who was one of the hosts on the show.  She is the Executive Director of the U.S. Botanic Garden which oversees the Bartholdi Park gardens.  With that background it's no surprise that these gardens were designed as demonstration gardens for homeowners.  They also serve as a "backyard garden" for residents of the Capitol Hill neighborhood who often have little or no garden space.

The Rayburn House Office Building is in the background.

One section is devoted to a large rock garden.

 Details worth noting in the rock garden include the placement of rocks and groundcover.
Benches for relaxing and there are also a few wood rockers placed in the garden.

Four-nerve Daisy braving the cold.  I grow this and it blooms most of the winter.  It was very cold while we were touring these gardens so I found it interesting to see many of the same plants I grow in my much warmer climate.  What is very cold?  Less than 20F or -7C at around 10 am.

Plenty of evergreens for winter structure.

A sotol and Mexican Feather Grass combination is quite familiar to me

Yaupons for height and a touch of formality common in DC area gardens

This garden is on a small triangle esplanade bounded by busy streets.

Wonderful miniature garden of hardy succulents on a pedestal create a destination in the center.

All but one container planting holding on despite the cold.

Some plants are just as surprised as the rest of us at the early onset of freezing weather.  

A little formality in the boxwood circle

Green and silver, I have that one covered pretty well in my own garden.

Weeping Japanese Maple still holding on to its leaves

This one must be in a colder or windier spot.

A very hardy pomegranate tree, I think this was 'Wonderful' and the same one I grow in my own yard.

Santolina and artemesia.

I don't remember this one but it was covered with tiny blue flowers even while the foliage was turning red.

Spineless Opuntia growing just steps from the Capitol building.

I could never keep rosemary growing through the winter when we lived here--it doesn't like being covered with ice and snow.  They must replace it most years.
To quote Loree at Danger Garden, "there's always an agave".  You just have to look for it.

Next we'll finish our walk across Capitol Hill to Union Station and explore some of the neighborhood around our hotel.


  1. Hi Shirley!
    You showed wonderful tour in Bartholdi garden, I love such pretty Japanese maple, evergreens and silver ones, herbs and rock garden. Despite of cold weather Santolina looks wonderful. Have a nice weekend!

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the tour. The garden was very impressive given its setting.

  2. Nice gardens. Even in the cold, there are blues and yellows and reds - even blooms! I am impressed with the containers. Obviously, I give up on mine much too early in the season! I'll have to rethink my plantings next year. And the miniature garden in the round pedestal is a fun and unexpected surprise! I bet the fountain lit at night is a beautiful sight.

    1. The cold arrived suddenly after a somewhat mild autumn so it seems to have frozen a lot of things in place. I am converting most of my container gardens to succulents and evergreens to make them easier.

  3. I visited back in the early 80's on a cold day in December with the wind whipping off the Potomac. We ran thru the state Christmas trees to find Texas and then only took some indoor tours. Who knew there was so many interesting gardens? My friends probably would not have enjoyed them as much as us gardeners do. Thanks for the tour, Shirley.

    1. There weren't as many great gardens in town then as now at least from what I remember. Those state trees are fun. There are a lot of places to enjoy indoors.

  4. With great would gladly visited Bartholdi Park. Very nice and beautiful pictures.

    1. I'm glad you this special spot in the city.

  5. Even without snow, the park manages to look cold. The Japanese maple still clothed in red leaves was a surprise, though. Nice tour!

    1. The light and setting make even the rocks look cold that day.

  6. What a beautiful garden! Holly Shimizu was also on a show called A Garden Diary (or something like that) several years ago and would tour gardens all over the country. It was a great show and of course is no more. Looks like you really enjoyed your time up north!

  7. You might be thinking of "A Gardener's Diary" with Erica Glasener. Episodes can still be found on Hulu and a good way to get gardening shows since they are nearly extinct on TV now.

    I did enjoy our holiday trip and have a lot more to share in the next few weeks.


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