In honor of Earth Day on April 22nd and with spring finally here, why not get yourself outdoors by visiting one of the DC area’s beautiful gardens. While some of the indoor facilities connected to the gardens are currently closed due to COVID, the outdoor spaces remain open. What better way to ease yourself back into leaving the house than walking through peaceful gardens with flowers blooming for spring! So, without further delay, read on for our list of gorgeous local gardens!

Franciscan Monastery

The Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America is a historical landmark and an oasis of peace in the middle of Washington, D.C. It is a house of worship and an architectural marvel with beautifully landscaped gardens. Volunteers offer guided garden tours every Saturday from April through September, where you can learn about the history, architecture, and plant life of your surroundings. Or, wander freely on a ‘self guided’ tour any day of the week from 9am-4:45pm. Admission is free.

Bishop’s Garden

Located on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral, the Bishop’s Garden is an absolutely beautiful place to visit. Aside from the gorgeous flowers and greenery, there are charming stone paths on which to stroll and a quaint stone gazebo to sit and enjoy the gorgeous nature that surrounds you. The garden was inspired by medieval walled gardens, and the inspiration is very much visible in the arched stone entryway with heavy wooden doors and the surrounding stone walls. The gardens also provide a striking view of the National Cathedral, although at the moment you won’t be able to end your garden tour by going inside the Cathedral–it remains closed due to COVID. However, the garden is certainly worth a visit in and of itself! Bishop’s Garden is free to the public.

Brookside Gardens

Taking us out of the district, Brookside Gardens is located in Wheaton, Maryland and is part of the Wheaton Regional Park. The award winning 50 acre space features a wonderful variety of separate gardens for visitors to enjoy, including an aquatic garden, an azalea garden, a rose garden, a Japanese garden, and a formal garden that itself includes a perennial garden, a yew garden, and a maple terrace. Admission is free!

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Also outside of DC bounds is Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia. Part of the NOVA Parks system, Meadowlark sits on a whopping 95 acres and boasts walking trails, three serene lakes, and a dizzying array of flora and fauna. Meadowlark offers several educational programs for children and adults, in addition to hosting special events in its indoor atrium. But, the best way to enjoy Meadowlark may be to stroll the grounds and take in the cherry trees, irises, peonies, wildflowers, water lilies, frogs, turtles, koi, birds, and butterflies– to name a few of the gardens’ plants and animals.

Dumbarton Oaks Garden–Closed, but should be mentioned!

While Dumbarton Oaks is currently closed as a COVID precaution, it is still worth noting because of its beauty! Keep an eye on the website for a reopening date so you can take advantage of this local treasure! Located in upper Georgetown, Dumbarton Oaks Garden is attached to the historic 19th century Dumbarton Oaks mansion, which now houses a museum dedicated to Byzantine and pre-Columbian art. The gardens are a stunningly beautiful 10 acres of land dotted with rose bushes, arbors draped in wisteria, cherry trees, magnolias, and more. FYI for post-COVID times, admission during the regular season (March 15-October 31) is $10, although if you’d like to brave colder temperatures, admission during the winter season (November 1-March 14) is free!

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