Photos by Marie Joabar

N° 195 — April 24, 2024

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

The National Arboretum's temporary spring traffic plan is in effect through mid-May. This impacts traffic flow and parking throughout the grounds.

Check our Website for Full Details >

Fishing Nights & Extended Hours

Come fish on the banks of the Anacostia River at the U.S. National Arboretum! FONA and the Anacostia Riverkeeper are hosting a fishing night at the Arboretum on Saturday, May 11th from 4 PM to 7 PM. No experience is necessary and all ages are welcome — all supplies and fishing instruction are provided. This event is free, but reservations are required. Once you are confirmed, we’ll send you details, including where to go at the Arboretum to meet up with the group.

Sign Up for the Fishing Night >

Photo courtesy of Anacostia Riverkeeper

The Arboretum will also be open for extended hours on Saturday, May 11th! Thanks to Friends of the National Arboretum, the grounds will remain open until 8 PM. Registration is not required, but sign up to receive weather updates.

Learn More about Extended Hours >

Important Details for the Garden Fair

FONA's annual Garden Fair & Plant Sale is this Saturday, April 27th from 9 AM to 4 PM. This is our biggest Garden Fair to date! We made some changes from last year's event to help improve the visitor experience. Here are some important details for Saturday's event (plant lists, vendors, and activity details are further below):


  • 9 AM - 11 AM: Members-only hours for the Plant Sale tent. The Vendor Village is open at this time. Food trucks and family activities open at 10 AM. Become a FONA member for early access to the Plant Sale tent.
  • 11 AM - 4 PM: Public hours for the Plant Sale tent, the entire event is open to all.


  • The Garden Fair & Plant Sale is located at the New York Avenue parking lot (click the link for directions via Google Maps, and see map below).
  • Enter the Arboretum through either the New York Avenue entrance (3501 New York Ave NE) or the R Street entrance (2400 R Street NE).
  • Please note, cars can only travel one-way down parts of Hickey Lane, Eagle Nest Road, and Azalea Road per the spring traffic plan.


  • Park in either the R Street lot or Grove lot.
  • A limited number of handicap parking is available in the New York Ave lot. No other event parking is available in this lot.
  • Free shuttles will run between the two parking lots and the event from 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM to provide access to the event.
  • A pedestrian pathway connects the R Street lot to the event. Please use the pathway if walking to the event so cars and shuttles can safely use the road.


  • There are no discounts on plants.
  • Plan to pay with a credit or debit card for the Plant Sale (no cash sales).
  • We will have a list of current FONA members on hand and can check you in even if your membership card hasn't arrived in the mail yet.
  • Dogs are not allowed in the Plant Sale tent, but are allowed on leash in the Vendor Village. Bringing your dog is not recommended since the event can get very crowded.
  • A limited number of shopping carts are available. Shopping carts must stay in the Plant Sale area.
  • In the event of inclement weather, we will send an email with alternative arrangements.
  • Register for the event on Eventbrite to receive any last-minute event updates.

Click the map to view in full screen.

What to Expect at the Garden Fair

There's a lot going on at Saturday's Garden Fair & Plant Sale! This is one of FONA's biggest annual fundraisers. Funds raised from this event allow FONA to support and advocate for the U.S. National Arboretum, provide youth and adult programs, and build partnerships within the community. Here's what to expect from the event.


FONA's team of garden experts has ordered an incredible array of plants for this event. Plan to pay with a credit or debit card at the Plant Sale tent (no cash sales). Here's what has been ordered:

There will also be succulents for sale from the private collection of the late Dick Hammerschlag. Dick was a long-time FONA volunteer and Garden Fair committee member. His collection has been generously donated by his wife, Freddi. Dick dedicated his life to plants and ecology. We hope his passion and memory lives on in the plants he cared for so dearly.

Photos by Marie Joabar

Photo by Matthew Rakola

FONA members will get the first choice of these plants from 9 AM to 11 AM. Become a FONA member to get early access to the Plant Sale tent. We will have a list of current FONA members on hand and can check you in even if your membership card hasn't arrived in the mail yet.

Free plant sitting is available next to the Plant Sale tent so you can put your plants down while you enjoy the rest of the event. When you are ready to pack up your plants, you can drive your car right up to the plant sitting tent and we will help you load your plants.


Over 45 local plant, gardening, home goods, food, and beverage vendors are bringing products specially selected for this event. Food trucks open at 10 AM. All other vendors are open from 9 AM to 4 PM. Here's who will be there:

Plants & Garden Accessories

Food & Drink

Clothing & Fiber Products

Art & Gifts

Jewelry & Beauty Products


Left photo by Kelsey Cochran, center and right photos by Matthew Rakola


ARTboretum: 10 AM - 2 PM

ARTboretum is a free, family-friendly event celebrating the intersection between art and nature. This child-centered, family-focused event for children ages 2 to 12 will include face painting, arts, crafts, and games. These activities are offered by DC Child Care Connections. Please pre-register for these free activities.

ARTboretum Registration >

Spoken Word Performance: 12:30 PM

A live spoken word performance by Charity Blackwell, with musical accompaniment.

Photos by Marie Joabar

Raised Beds: How to Build & Use Them in an Urban Garden

11 AM - 12:30 PM | 1 PM - 2:30 PM

Learn about different raised bed construction methods and get advice on how conditions such as where you construct your bed, how you feed and water your plants, and soil conditions can impact your chances of success. This workshop is hosted by W.S. Jenks & Son, and is geared towards both urban and suburban gardeners.

Registration is required. Our suggested ticket price is $30 ($24 for FONA members), but please pay what you can to attend.

Garden Workshop Registration >

Thanks to Our Event Sponsors!

Special thanks to Bartlett Tree Experts and Harris Teeter for supporting this event! This project was supported by a grant from HumanitiesDC as part of the "Humanities Grant Program," an initiative funded by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

We are also grateful to in-kind donations from Adcocks Nursery, American Plant, Edelweiss Perennials, Far Reaches Farm, Foxborough Nursery, Dick and Freddi Hammerschlag, Hawksridge Farm, JC Raulston Arboretum, Manor View Farm, Monrovia, Pender Nursery, Piedmont Carolina Nursery, Plant Delights Nursery, Pleasant Run Nursery, Rare Tree Nursery, Alan Rudan and Angela Domanico, and Younghblood Nursery.

Huge thanks to Terry MacFarlane and his team for helping transport these plants to the Arboretum.

Upcoming Events

Garden Fair & Plant Sale

April 27, 9 AM - 4 PM

Plants, vendors, workshop, free activities

Details & Registration >

Fishing Night

May 11, 4 PM - 7 PM

Free fishing along the Anacostia

Details & Registration >

Extended Hours

May 11, until 8 PM

Arboretum grounds stay open to the public

Details & Registration >

Music in the Meadow: Cumbia Heights

May 17, 7 PM - 8:30 PM

Evening concert with alt-tropical vibes

Purchase a Ticket >

Grow the Garden Party

June 8, 11 AM - 1 PM

Celebrating the expansion of WYG

Save the date — details to come

Music in the Meadow: Wylder

June 8, 7 PM - 8:30 PM

Evening concert with modern folk vibes

Save the date — details to come

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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