Reflection on the Arboretum

The weather was absolutely gorgeous for spending a Sunday afternoon at the National Arboretum. The azaleas and rhodos were in full bloom and everyone and their neighbor seemed to be there enjoying their beauty. This is that annual time of year to make the journey to witness Spring in its full splendor. The only unfortunate thing was that we decided too late in the day to do this and didn’t have enough time to explore. At least for now, we can always go back.

Here are a few pictures I took:

Herb Garden @ The National Arboretum by C. Ashley Spencer

Peony @ The National Arboretum Asian Garden by C. Ashley Spencer

Ellen @ Peonies at National Arboretum by C. Ashley SpencerEllen and Koi @ National Arboretum by C. Ashley SpencerKoi @ National Arboretum by C. Ashley Spencer

I came across this YouTube video of Japanese style sumi-e painting of a koi and I thought it was pretty fascinating to watch the process; although, it does take about 10 minutes because it’s done in real time.

Upon further reflection on our visit to the Arboretum. I found this interesting flower attached to this leaf and several petals on the ground and I was able to do a quick sketch later before they all dried up the next day.

Interpretive Flower Sketch by C. Ashley Spencer

I can’t think of anything more perfect than pretty flowers to share for this 100th year of celebrating Mother’s Day this Sunday. Happy Mothers’ Day to all the mothers out there. This day should be celebrated daily.


Arboretum in Peril

Capitol Columns @ National Arboretum

Egads, The U.S. National Arboretum is in peril and has lost most of its federal funding for 2009! I love this place. It’s where I find a lot of inspiration for drawing nature and gardening ideas. I’ve been taking my boys here since they were wee tots. It would be a shame if this gem of a 446-acre botanical park was to quietly close its gates. Presently, a lot of people don’t know about this natural wonder. It only receives 480,000 visitors a year while other arboretums and the more popular U.S. Botanical Gardens (on the Mall) attract upwards of 750,000 visitors. However, it is pristine and the largest track of open space in the nation’s capital. In fact it’s where The Capitol’s original Corinthian Columns are situated when some were removed during the U.S. Capitol expansion in 1958 – 1962. The Arboretum also is home to an incredible Bonsai and Asian Garden, complete with a red pagoda and paths meandering down to the Anacostia River; Azalea and Dogwood Gardens; and my favorite, the beautiful Herb Garden. Every spring people flock to walk the newly-budding azalea, dogwood and rhododendron paths. I go for this and anytime of the year just to get away from it all. It’s such a peaceful place. Clicking on this link above will show you many photos of these various gardens and Wikipedia offers a pretty concise background. There are not many parks like this. FONA (Friends of the National Arboretum) is trying to secure some funding, mostly from private donations, but this may be what it takes to keep it from going under.

Herb Garden @ The National Arboretum