The Gardens of Dumbarton Oaks

Dumbarton Oaks, located on the highest point of the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC, is a 27 acre oasis of gardens and a Federal style Mansion.  The property was the home of Robert Woods Bliss and his wife Mildred Barnes Bliss in the1920s and 30s.   Bliss worked with famed landscape architect Beatrix Farrand to transform what was once farmland into a series of terraced gardens, including an ellipse, a rose garden, a pool, an orangery and a cutting garden.  In 1940, the property was given to Harvard University, Bliss's alma mater, and today serves as a Research Institute in the studies of garden design, landscape architecture, Byzantine Art, and Pre-Columbian art.  The Gardens will be closed July 10, 2017 through March 15, 2018 to undergo an extensive upgrade of their original irrigation systems. A visit before then if you are in the DC area is highly worth it for the properties' breathtaking views and glorious gardens.  We enjoyed an evening of cocktails in the Garden as part of the European Month of Culture....follow our journey below.

 The approach to the Federal style Mansion, which now houses a Museum. 


Urn envy....there are numerous breathtaking urns and statuary throughout the gardens.

The Orangery served as a lovely gathering place for cocktails.

The Urn Terrace with an urn modelled after an 18th century French original in terra cotta that was too fragile for Washington winters.

The Rose Garden, the Bliss' favorite part of the gardens, was in all of its glory this May evening.

The cutting garden has two of these stone buildings.

Another lovely architectural moment.

The Pebble Garden Fountain, based on Villa I Tatti outside of Florence, Italy.

A double ring of hornbeams encircles an 18th century Provencal fountain in the Ellipse.

A pretty little path alongside the cutting garden....there are as many such casual moments as there are formal throughout the property.

A final glimpse at another such casual moment...perhaps my favorite among so many beautiful moments.











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