One of the most amazing gardens in the Washington DC area is tucked away at the top of Georgetown. I’m speaking, of course, of Dumbarton Oaks, designed over a period of thirty years (more or less) by Beatrix Farrand. Farrand, the first woman landscape architect in the United States, worked with Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss to create an expanse of garden “rooms,” and designed every aspect of the landscape, from the plantings down to the finials and stone benches you find throughout. (For those of you who follow such things, National Geographic just ranked Dumbarton Oaks as one of the top ten gardens in the world.)
On the first of November, I went to visit the gardens. The last time I saw them, several years ago, I had been disappointed in the herbaceous borders. But this time the whole place looked spectacular; and there was a new “performance art” installation in the form of sound pipes in the Lovers Lane Pool, by Hugh Livingston. The Dumbarton Oaks website describes them as “an imaginary chorus on a watery stage.”
“Pool of Bamboo Counterpoint,” by Hugh Livingston, at Dumbarton Oaks.
Livingston’s sound “piece” follows on other temporary art installations that have graced other parts of the garden in past years, including Patrick Dougherty’s “Easy Rider” installation in the Ellipse, which I wrote about in an earlier post.
After investigating the pool installation, I spent several hours in the rest of the garden – the weakening fall sun was low enough that photography was less challenging than I’d anticipated. Hope you enjoy the show.
Dumbarton Oaks is located at 31st and R Streets NW in Washington DC. From now until March 15, 2015, the gardens are open only in the afternoons from 2 – 5 pm and admission is free.
Bench, steps and landing overlooking the Fountain Terrace
The containers on the Arbor Terrace looked wonderful.
The Herbaceous Border in late afternoon sun.
Asters and chrysanthemums in the Herbacous Border, with Amsonia foliage coloring a bright yellow.
Another view of the Herbaceous Borders
Light on salvia in the Cutting Garden.
Shadows on the gravel walk in the Ellipse. Hornbeam trees encircle the space.
The Beech Terrace. Need I say more?
A Farrand-designed iron gate frames a view into the Urn Terrace and fall foliage beyond.