N° 189 — March 13, 2024

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

New Spring Traffic Plan

Beginning Wednesday, March 27th until mid-May, the National Arboretum will implement a temporary traffic plan that impacts traffic flow and parking throughout the grounds. This plan is meant to keep the grounds safe for drivers, pedestrians, and all visitors during an extremely busy time of the year. We urge visitors to plan their weekend visit as early in the day as possible, or visit on a weekday to avoid the crowds.

This temporary traffic plan establishes:

  • One-Way Traffic Flow: Vehicles will only be allowed to travel one way down Hickey Lane and Eagle Nest Road, beginning at the intersection of Hickey Lane and Valley Road and continuing to the intersection of Eagle Nest and Azalea Roads. Azalea Road will also become a one way lane. All other traffic patterns will remain unchanged.

  • Pedestrian Walkway: A pedestrian pathway will run adjacent to vehicle traffic on Hickey Lane, beginning at the intersection of Hickey Lane and Valley Road and continuing to the R Street Entrance.

  • On-Street Parking: Vehicles will be allowed to park on one side of the road ONLY in designated areas along Eagle Nest Road, Azalea Road, and Valley Road. Signs will designate where parking is allowed.

Pedestrians and bicyclists are not subject to traffic restrictions, but please take special care when traveling around the one-way loop.

The map above illustrates the impact of this traffic plan on the grounds (click to view in full screen). Both the R Street and New York Avenue entrances will operate as normal. Please drive carefully through the R Street neighborhood and be respectful of our neighbors when accessing the R Street entrance.

Thank you for driving safely through the National Arboretum this spring.

Visit FONA's Website for Updates >

School Garden Opportunities

Registration for the 2024 Summer Institute for Garden-based Teaching is now open! This four-day professional development course will take place from July 16th to 19th. The course includes in-person activities at the Washington Youth Garden and the National Arboretum's auditorium and classroom, DC school garden tours, and workshops led by FONA staff, partner organizations, and program alumni.

This training inspires and connects teachers and school staff to more fully integrate their school garden into their daily educational activities. All participants receive a stipend (amounts are contingent upon final funding). Applications close on March 27th, and participants will be notified of their acceptance by April 5th.

Learn More & Apply Today >

Educators, don't miss Spring into School Gardening on Saturday, March 23rd from 11 AM to 12:30 PM in the Washington Youth Garden! Get free garden supplies such as compost and seedlings, attend a short garden training, and network with fellow educators. Please register to let us know you're coming.

Learn More & Register >

Spring Bloom Watch

Shades of pink, white, and purple are painting the Arboretum's landscape right now. But it's not just flowering cherry trees that are causing this. Deciduous magnolias are putting on a spectacular show in the Holly & Magnolia Collections.

The Arboretum's plant breeding program has released ten deciduous magnolias into the nursery industry over the years. Take a walk through the Holly & Magnolia Collection to see many of these introductions on display.

Native Plant Events

Don't miss your chance to connect with native plants at the National Arboretum this spring:

37th Annual Lahr Native Plant Symposium

Saturday, March 23 | 9 AM - 4 PM

Join the U.S. National Arboretum for seven engaging presentations concerning both native plant gardens and native ecosystems. Learn about soil health management, destructive pests, forest restoration, current research on seed conservation, and the best native trees for your garden.

Registration costs $95 (FONA members, use your discount code to receive 20% off).

Learn More & Register >

Native Plant Sale

Saturday, March 23 | 8 AM - 1 PM

Get a head start on spring with one of the earliest plant sales in the area. FONA's annual Native Plant Sale includes 7 vendors from across the mid-Atlantic selling spring ephemerals and many other choice perennials and woody plants. Registration is preferred but not required. Let us know you're coming and to receive important event updates.

Learn More & Register >

Plant Spotlight

When the National Arboretum introduced it, Magnolia ‘Galaxy’ made history as the first cultivar to exhibit a pyramidal growth habit with lily-shaped leaves, as it is a cross between deciduous Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’ and Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’. Its lovely bright red-purple flowers and rather narrow shape make it a great specimen plant in smaller gardens. It won a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal Plant Award in 1992 and is still available to purchase from nurseries. Make sure to visit the plants in the Introduction Garden and Flowering Tree Walk, especially the ones in the Court of Honor and at the R Street entrance.

Kamala Codrington-White, an ORISE fellow at the National Arboretum, shares plants of note at the Arboretum in this recurring segment. Find these plants on your next trip to the Arboretum.

Digging In: An Arboreal Amble

Dr. Richard T. Olsen, Director of the National Arboretum, was our most recent speaker for our Digging In virtual lecture series. He gave a curated walk among some of the magnificent trees of the world. In lieu of another garden talk on what you should grow or how to grow it, this virtual lecture was simply an excuse for Dr. Olsen to share his experiences with trees and other woody plants from around the world.

Watch the Recorded Lecture >

During our Digging In virtual lecture series, FONA hosts experts to discuss exciting topics pertaining to the mission of FONA and the National Arboretum. FONA members get to participate in these events live as part of their member benefits. Become a member today so you can dig in with the experts.

Become a FONA Member >

Cherry Blossoms

Want to see cherry blossoms in and around Washington, DC, but not sure where to go? The Washington Post recently released a guide for where to view cherry blossoms both within and around the District.

Read the Washington Post's Cherry Blossom Guide >

If you visit the National Arboretum to view cherry blossoms, don't forget to pick up a cherry tour brochure at the Visitor Center. This three-mile self-guided tour features 40 trees, and there are pink signs marking the tour's stops.

Download the Arboretum's Cherry Tour Brochure >

Upcoming Events

Native Plant Sale

March 23, 8 AM - 1 PM

Local native plant vendors, hosted by FONA

Details & Registration >

37th Annual Lahr Native Plant Symposium

March 23, 9 AM - 4 PM

Native plant symposium hosted by USNA

(Members use your discount code)

Details & Registration >

Spring into School Gardening

March 23, 11 AM - 12:30 PM

Free resources for educators, in WYG

Details & Registration >

Flowering 5K

March 24, 9 AM

Race registration sold out, volunteers needed

Sign Up to Volunteer >

Volunteer Open House

April 6, 10 AM - 12 PM

Learn about FONA's volunteer opportunities

Details & Registration >

Youth Poetry Slam in the Garden

April 6, 2 PM - 4 PM

Youth poetry competition in WYG

Details & Registration >

Garden Fair & Plant Sale

Saturday, April 27, 9 AM - 4 PM

Plants, vendors, workshop, free activities

Details & Registration >

Bonsai Basics: Chrysanthemum Bonsai

May 4 - November 2, 5 classes

Hands-on workshop hosted by USNA

(Members use your discount code)

Details & Registration >

Forest Bathing Walks

Various dates and times

Meditation and mindfulness

Upcoming Dates & Registration >

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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