Spring in the City
“I’ve always had a passion for the outdoors, for trees, for birds and flowers.” ~Audrey Hepburn
I share Audrey’s passion. Give me some beautiful blossoms & gorgeous gardens and the winter of 2010 is a distant memory. Spring, you sassy thing, you sure know how to make an entrance! Your blooms are so vivid they’re in Technicolor.
A harbinger of spring in DC, the cherry blossoms kick off the season on the National Mall as people from all over the globe trot to the Tidal Basin to see the blossoms. Under the most beautiful azure sun-filled skies, my mom, sister and I visited the Mall on Friday, where I was able to snap some pics.
The cherry blossoms may be the popular press darlings this time of year – but what about the other blooming treasures in the area?
Just off the beaten path on the north side of the Tidal Basin (between the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial) you’ll find the Tulip Library. Since 1969 gardeners have been prepping the floral beds each autumn to hand plant over 10,000 tulip bulbs flown from Holland.
A family friend recently recalled visiting the Library as a child, and being confused when she couldn’t “check the tulips out.” I think she was on to something! In the meantime, you can check out these photos from Friday.
Not far from the Tulip Library, the Smithsonian Institution grounds are home to some of the best kept secret gardens. When my parents moved to DC several years ago, after visiting the Smithsonian Castle one day they accidentally strolled into the Ripley Garden. Shortly after, I visited the garden with them and I’ve loved it ever since.
Tucked away by the Arts & Sciences building, this garden was the inspiration of Mary Livingston Ripley, plant scholar and wife of Smithsonian magazine founder Sidney Dillon Ripley. Fun fact: Mary first met Sidney when they were in the OSS. Her roommate at the time? A woman named Julia Child.
The garden is peaceful and serene with a fountain in the middle and benches scattered near the raised beds of flowers and plants. It’s hard to imagine the location was at risk of becoming a parking lot before Mary stepped in.
From the Ripley head down Independence Avenue to the Enid Haupt rooftop garden, another pretty and peaceful hideaway. Then be sure to visit the Smithsonian Castle, another favorite spot of mine, and grab a snack at the café.
Now slip on that cute sundress and some sunblock and take advantage of the sunshine! It’s time to get out there & re-introduce yourself to our gorgeous city.
Photo credits: The Medestrian, The Medestrian’s Mom.