Even though I recently posted a “Scenes from the National Arboretum” just a few weeks ago at the start of spring, and even though I did one of the azalea bloom a few years ago, here I am with this new set of pics — of azaleas, at the Arboretum.
Because this year’s azalea bloom is just so beautiful. I mean, it is always gorgeous, but during this time of limited explorations of the world, we (me, anyway) are much more appreciative of close-to-home happenings, making things like annual flower blooms seem more vibrant than ever and feel extra special.
I visited the Arboretum a couple of days before we went out of town for Spring Break, and the bloom was just beginning. Back yesterday only a week and a half later, and Mount Hamilton where the azalea garden is located was bursting with color. It’s a dazzling walk through it all on paths traversing the area, azaleas of all colors lining them. Some areas feel wild, with flowers seeming to grow indiscriminately, while other sections like the walled Morrison Garden are more manicured.
This bloom always attracts a lot of visitors, but the azalea garden, or any part of the Arboretum, didn’t feel crowded at all. It’s so vast and lovely, there’s plenty of space to relax and enjoy it safely. And if you were to encounter crowds anywhere, it’s easy to head to another section — there is something amazing about every part of the Arb. My many recommendations and posts about it are a testament to that — read/see more here, here, here, and here. A quick recap of spots little ones will love: The Washington Youth Garden and natural playground, the Asian Collection with its “secret” path leading down to the Anacostia River, the stream in Fern Valley where it’s fun to look for frogs, the gazebo in the Conifer collection, and the fountain full of koi fish by the Visitors Center.
Right now, the R Street entrance off of Bladensburg Road is closed to motorized traffic, so you need to go the to New York Avenue entrance (3501 New York Avenue NE). [Update: The Arb is limiting visitors — this bloom is a popular on! — so be aware there may be a wait to get in.] There are signs posted indicating it is okay to park on the side of the road, so I pulled over a short ways in on Valley Road, and walked to the azalea garden from there. The larger parking lots near the R Street Entrance and Grove of State Trees are closest to the azalea garden, but might be full.
The U.S. National Arboretum is located in Northeast DC, off of Bladensburg Road and New York Avenue. Enter at 3501 New York Avenue NE. Hours are 8am – 5pm. Admission is free.
And because I can’t help getting snap-happy with my camera, here are more photos of the splendor (and our sweet Teddy)…