N° 134 — January 25, 2023

Enjoy regular updates and insights from FONA, the U.S. National Arboretum, and our award-winning Washington Youth Garden.

What's in Bloom: Witch-Hazel

Witch-hazel is a small tree or shrub that blooms from October through March, depending on its species. At the National Arboretum, you can find all three species of witch-hazel native to North America (Hamamelis virginiana, H. vernalis, and H. ovalis), as well as a number of Asian species and hybrids.

H. virginiana, or common witch-hazel, tends to bloom in late fall and early winter. While H. vernalis, H. ovalis, Asian species, and hybrids tend to bloom in mid winter through early spring. This plant's unique flowers are recognizable for its four crinkly, ribbonlike petals and sweet fragrance.

Witch-hazel was used medicinally by Indigenous peoples to treat fevers, sore throats, colds, tuberculosis, muscular aches, and bruises. It is still used commonly for its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties.

While witch-hazel is planted all over the Arboretum, the best place for visitors to see them is in the Fern Valley Native Plant Collection, in the research fields north of Fern Valley along Beechwood Road, and along the hillside across from the Dogwood Collections parking lot. Use the plant finder on the Arboretum's app to guide you to these plants (iOS or Android).

Did you know the Arboretum introduced a cultivar of witch-hazel tolerant to powdery mildew?

Learn About 'Sunglow' >

Summer Camp Sign-Up

Urban Adventure Squad's outdoor learning programs return to Washington Youth Garden this August. Two different, week-long summer programs are available to rising 2nd through 8th graders, where they can explore local ecosystem interactions:

  • August 7-11: "Dive In! Anacostia River Advocacy: Climate Change and the Urban Ecosystem"
  • August 14-18: "Dive In! Anacostia River Advocacy: Environmental Messaging with Writing, Art, and Design"

Photos from Urban Adventure Squad

Urban Adventure Squad takes participants on field investigations through the Arboretum and uses art and design projects to connect them to nature.

Registration opens this Thursday, January 26th at 8 PM. Registration is $435 per week, and scholarship rates and sibling discounts are available. Sign up soon! Space is limited.

Program Information & Registration >

Anacostia River Connections

The National Arboretum is integrally tied to the Anacostia River, and has worked to steward the land and tributaries that feed into the river.

In a recent HillRag article, FONA board member Bill Matuszeski explores the role and relationship the Arboretum has with the Anacostia River, and shares ways Arboretum visitors can engage with it during their visit.

Read the Article >

Photo by Bill Matuszeski via HillRag

Photo by Plume Photography

Vote for FONA

Help FONA's venue rental program gain recognition by voting for us in the Select Event Group's 2022 #SetBySelect competition. Please consider voting for both the Dinner Under the Stars and Arboretum wedding setups, labeled "MTG Hospitality - National Arboretum." You can vote for your favorite moments once per day until the end of the day on Sunday, January 29th.

Vote for FONA >

Upcoming Events

Save the date for these exciting events and programs happening in early 2023. More details will come in our spring event guide newsletter.

Connecting Cultures: Japanese Flowering Cherries in America

Saturday, March 18th

Cherry tree symposium hosted by the National Arboretum

Lahr Native Plant Symposium & Native Plant Sale

Saturday, March 25th

Symposium hosted by the National Arboretum, Plant Sale hosted by FONA

Garden Fair & Plant Sale

Saturday, April 29th

Annual event hosted by FONA

The Arboretum is open every day from 8 AM to 5 PM except December 25th.

Check Our Website for Full Details >

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Friends of the National Arboretum
3501 New York Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002
FONA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization with the mission to preserve and enhance a vibrant public space and support experiential programming that instills a love of plants, nature and the outdoors in all who visit, while promoting the overarching research and education mission of the U.S. National Arboretum.

Since its inception, FONA has helped support the Washington Youth Garden, Capitol Columns, Flowering Tree Walk, horticultural and research internships, restoration of Springhouse Run, and much more.

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