While balcony container gardeners enjoy their small-space urban gardens, sometimes a few container plants on an apartment balcony above a busy street just isn’t peaceful enough. Balcony gardeners might not be able to have a peaceful, large garden, but there are public gardens and arboretums near every major city. Don’t just fawn over pictures of luxurious gardens, get out there and enjoy a day at a public garden! You may even bring some gardening inspiration home to your own balcony container garden.
If you live in or are visiting the Washington, DC, area, why not visit the United States National Arboretum?
- Tour the 446-acre United States National Arboretum by car, bus or bicycle. Tram tours (35 minutes) are available through the gardens for a small fee ($4 for adults, $2 for children). A previously recorded tour plays, explaining the arboretum’s history, mission and research, as well as information about the gardens you will drive through.
- More than 500,000 people visit the United States National Arboretum each year.
- According to the US National Arboretum website, The National Arboretum was established in 1927 by an Act of Congress “to serve the public need for scientific research, education and gardens that conserve and showcase plants to enhance the environment.”
- The arboretum’s library contains more than 11,000 books and 100 journals, and is affiliated with the National Agricultural Library.
- Some interesting gardens include the Asian Collections, Dogwood Collections, Fern Valley, Friendship Garden, National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, National Grove of State Trees and National Herb Garden.
- Make sure to get a free map of the National Grove of State Trees and find your state’s tree in the grove (DC also has a tree). Several state trees (those for Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Hawaii and South Carolina) cannot be cultivated in Washington, DC, and have a substitute planted instead.
- There are a few pieces of outdoor art sprinkled throughout the gardens.
United States National Arboretum Quick Info
3501 New York Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002-1958
Admission is free
Open daily from 8am-5pm
Closed Christmas day. (Some gardens are closed on certain holidays; see the website for more information.)