Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hillwood Estate and Gardens- still day #2

This glorious garden bed, mirrored on the other side of the door, flanked the front door of Hillwood Estate. This grand place was the home of Marjorie Merriweather Post and since her death has been open to the public to enjoy.
After going through the Visitor Center you are greeted with a grand motor court and the entrance to this magnificent home. It is amazing to think this palace (of sorts) is in DC. Mrs. Post lived and entertained in this home for almost twenty years. She has a fabulous collection of both French porcelain and Russian artifacts. The daughter of C.W. Post was married four times, her third husband was ambassador to Russian. While living in Russian she built her collection. Upon her death the home was turned into a museum. The house was designed to showcase her collections. Photos were not allowed within the house, so please click on the link to see the art collections. I was especially interested in the Fabergé eggs. Such magnificent work!

The self guided house tour is available with headphones which makes it nice to go at your own pace.

The gardens and lawns are beautifully designed. The rose garden was first on the garden tour.... loved the cooling shade of the arbor.

You know you are wealthy when you have your own putting lawn....
Around the corner from the putting lawn it the main lawn, the Lunar Lawn. Grand entrances at every turn.

The Lunar Lawn is framed with American Elm, Ulmus americana, I believe they said six. Two were killed by the Dutch Elm disease but there were others on the property that were moved to replace them to maintain the symmetry.

From the porch, looking over the lawn the view is long -- though over the years the trees have obscured much of the view. If you open this photo and look really hard, in the center above the lion's shoulder blades you can see the top of the Washington Monument.

Below the lawn is the Japanese Garden, with tumbling waterfalls. I think my favorite was the Japanese Garden.

In the front of the house is a cutting garden, I want one of those!!

Roses and peonies going strong!

In the background is the greenhouse.

Don't you just love the color combo in this Iris?

From the cutting garden I wandered into the greenhouse. Along with many orchids there was a blooming cactus..a red one, similar to my Epiphyllum oxypetalum. (no name tags in the greenhouse)
I will leave you with the collage of the greenhouse blooms. Check back for the third day's tour..... hard to believe we did so much in three days!


  1. Wow! Beautiful grounds, wouldn't you love to have gardens like that?

  2. You know you're rich when . . .

    What a greenhouse that was. Yes, the combination of that Iris was great. I loved the first border you showed with the purple varigated foliage at the bottom.

    All of it was wonderful and you must have really enjoyed the tour.

  3. Awesome tour! Oh I'd so have loved to seen this garden and all of them!

  4. What a beautiful Garden! I love that first shot with all those wonderful combinations of foliage. So much texture & color without any blooms, just lovely! I need a cutting garden like that one too...;)

  5. Good afternoon Dawn, I think these grounds of the estate were just amazing.
    Rain Gardener- yes, if I were REALLY rich, even in my wildest dreams (when I win the lottery...) I haven't come up with such opulence. The greenhouse was huge! The first photo was at the house entrance and what a statement!! You will love this...there was a chipmunk who ran into the foliage and hid!
    Hi Tina, one more day's event to come!! It was almost like touring Europe, mentally as well as physically exhausting!
    Racquel, You can not even believe how much larger than what I photographed the cutting garden was!!! Lots of beds were just seedlings.

  6. Oh, that greenhouse! I just love vintage and Victorian greenhouses. I'll have to find out the year that one was built.

    It's a nice thing that the wealthy of past generations left these places as museums for the public to enjoy.


  7. Hi Cameron, I reread the brochure about Hillwood after your comment about when the greenhouse was built. From what I can garner, the house and the grounds were built in the 1920's. Landscape designer Willard Gebhart designed Hillwood in 1926. The estate was originally known as Arbremont. From 1955-57 the estate was renovated for Mrs. Post. The greenhouse was rebuilt in 1996 (no reason given) to look as it did when she lived at Hillwood. A very interesting place to visit on so many levels.

  8. You are having such a fun time, visiting these places. I really liked that succulent wreath too! Oh oh oh to the orchids. It all looks well maintained.

  9. What wonderful places you are sharing with us. I would so like to have that greenhouse and the waterfall. Just beautiful.

  10. Hi Frances, I thought of you with the orchids. The greenhouse was teeming with orchids in all shapes and colors.
    Lona, I have been having fun reviewing photos and notes to post this trip in the blog, it has helped reenforce places, plants, and gardens. The waterfall was a very cool, shady spot-- just lovely.

  11. That looks like a great garden. It would be a good trip for my wife and me. She could look at the Faberge while I could roam the garden. The first shot of the tropicals is my favorite.

  12. Good morning Les, You would appreciate the gardens at Hillwood, but you also may enjoy seeing all the French and Russian collections in the house. If you are AHS member you can get in free. I would recommend the gardens that I posted about earlier to see as well-- Green Springs was bigger than I thought and Meadowlark had so many nooks and crannies --garden rooms, Brookside was smaller, though great roses and a Japanese garden that was really nice. Green Spring and Brookside were free admission and Meadowlark was $5.

  13. Love, Love, Love that Iris,the greenhouse,waterfalls, orchids, roses oh heck I love it all ..lol
    hugs, Cherry

  14. Hi Cherry, I know, it is all too great! Love it all.

  15. What a lovely place. I always view photos of such homes with a bit of relief that I don't have to maintain such a large garden. No doubt teams of volunteers and paid horticulturalists keep up the grounds now. I need one of those teams for my yard . . . with no volunteers handy, my hubby and older kiddos are conscripted.

  16. Hi VW, yes there were lots of paid gardeners around on Wednesday last week. I too have no volunteers (nor paid help) so am left with similar assistance.

  17. What a beautiful tour you took us on with these posts! The Saints parents lived in Fairfax until the year 2000 and I cannot believe his mother did not take me to see Green Spring! I have written all these gardens down on a piece of paper and if it is not too horribly hot in July, maybe we can check one of them out while we are in the area. They had to leave the hustle and bustle of the big city and relocated to Lake of the Woods near Fredericksburg and now the hustle and bustle is headed that direction. They are not happy, oh and they also moved to Fairfax when it was considered the boonies! It must have been nice to have the communicators in the car with all the traffic to keep you going stir crazy. Am sure the chatting was keeping things a bit smooth for you all. lol What a wonderful trip you had....

  18. Hi Skeeter, it would be an easy drive from Fredericksburg to go up to see Green Spring or Meadowlark (one in Alexandria and the other in Vienna) Brookside is in Wheaton MD...but also a nice garden.
    I went to high school at Jefferson, across rt. 236 from Green Spring, and it was a different place years ago. We did have a fun time with the walkie talkies... too much fun. ;-)

  19. Janet, thank you for this tour! I will see that greenhouse in my dream this night...

  20. Tatyana, glad you enjoyed the tour. That greenhouse was a dream!

  21. The Saint graduated from Chantilly High. Would be fun to go back up that way to see how things have changed since our last visit in 1999....

  22. Skeeter, I graduated in 1973 (!) and the first time back after that was 1992, talk about change. Since we moved back to the States I have been to DC area multiple times-- even one indoor drumline competition at my old high school (as a chaperone).

  23. I actually read this and a few of your other posts, earlier than today--through the Google reader; I didn't have time to leave comments then. You certainly have shared some really interesting info! These places wouldn't be far from me at all. I went on a garden tour about 15 years ago with a friend; but after I had my son, who's 12 now, I've pretty much been focused on his life and activities. You and I are just 2 yrs. apart; I graduated H.S. in 1975--Mike graduted in '73.

  24. Jan, hi there! We had a lot of interesting things to see and do! I think you would enjoy seeing these gardens.
    I think I remember on your birthday that you were my brother's age. I guess once we are in our 50's we are "in our 50's"


If you use "Anonymous" please sign your name so I know who you are...there is a lot of spam out there. Thanks for visiting today. The Queen would be pleased if you left a comment...... :-D thanks! I do respond to your comments, you can click on the email followup comments to have it in your inbox.

I am now moderating all comments. Too much spam is coming through. Sorry folks.