The Gorgeous Gardens of Dumbarton Oaks

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Tucked away in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC is Dumbarton Oaks, a historic property rich in history and many botanical and architectural surprises.  We visited on one beautiful, sunny day in April a few years ago, for our anniversary, and it was most definitely a romantic way to spend an afternoon.  

A Brief History

The land that Dumbarton Oaks sits on today was granted to Colonel Ninian Beall by Queen Ann in 1702.  At the time it was called Rock of Dumbarton.   In 1801 the second owner of the property, William Hammond Dorsey, built the first home.  This home was expanded mid-century and called The Oaks.  The property changed owners a few times until 1920 when the 53-acre property was bought by Robert and Mildred Bliss, who combined both names and called it Dumbarton Oaks.  

The Blisses immediately began renovating the property, working closely with famed landscape architect Beatrix Ferrand to create the lush 10-acre garden that we now visit today.  Though a few elements have been added to the garden over time, most of the architectural elements have remained the same.

The Gardens

When we first arrived were immediately greeted by a spectacular display of wisteria, their beautiful purple petals draping luxuriously over stone and wooden walls. 






We also enjoyed discovering all of the other beautiful blooms around the garden.


 





Architectural Wonders

As you make your way around the garden you can't help but be awed by the gorgeous architecture and details surrounding you.  No matter where you turn there is one gorgeous photo opportunity. 


The Swimming Pool and Loggia

The Urn Terrace





Lovers Lane Pool

These remind of something you would see in a Dr. Suess book.

The Ellipse

The Ellipse
Next to the wisteria, the Pebble Garden and fountain was my favorite part of the garden.






One of the newer elements of the garden is The Cloud, a contemporary art installation that was supposed to be temporary but turned into a somewhat permanent addition to the garden.  It is a hand-constructed wire mesh embellished with 10,000 Swarovski elements water-drop crystals hanging over the reflecting pool.



After spending an afternoon at Dumbarton Oaks it is very easy to see why it ranks as one of the most beautiful gardens in the world.  

Please visit my website to view more of my pictures from our afternoon at Dumbarton Oaks.  

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