N° 203 — June 26, 2024

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

Arboretum Update

Pardon the dust! Earlier this week, the National Arboretum began renovating the circle garden in front of the Capitol Columns. Horticulturists will first remove the existing plants before remediating the soil and replanting the garden. Plant removal might take many months — or even a year or more — since aggressive invasive species have encroached into the bed.

Visitors can still take pictures and walk around the Capitol Columns during renovation, but please do not walk in the circle garden during this time. The area near the reflecting pool and Ellipse Meadow will remain open and clear of renovation.

Annual Report

We are delighted to share with you FONA's recently published 2023 Annual Report. Each year, our programs and support of the National Arboretum grow stronger. This allows us to better connect people with nature, the land, and each other at the Arboretum.

Check out the 2023 Annual Report to see all we accomplished last year! Read the Letter from the Directors to hear key takeaways from Craven Rand, FONA's Executive Director, and Dr. Richard T. Olsen, U.S. National Arboretum Director. Plus, see all the members, donors, and supporters who made this work possible — we couldn't do this without them!

Read the 2023 Annual Report >

4th FONA Fridays

Catch a break from the summer heat and enjoy the Arboretum's first Summer Evening Hours this Friday, June 28th! The grounds will stay open to the public until 8 PM. This is free for all, and is made possible by FONA and the Capitol Hill Community Foundation.

These evening hours are also a great way to connect with others in the Arboretum community. We're hosting a first-ever Member Social from 5 PM to 8 PM at the koi pond outside the Visitor Center. Enjoy refreshments, a family-friendly activity, and connect with other FONA members. This is a free, drop-in opportunity for all FONA members!

Don't forget — Summer Evening Hours and Member Socials will be held on the 4th Friday of every summer month from June through August. We hope to see you there!

Garden Update

With last week's summer solstice and the continuing high heat, FONA's Washington Youth Garden is in full summer mode. Garden Managers Xavier and Emilia are most excited about the tomatoes and cucumbers growing in WYG this summer. From trellising them to eating them, Xavier and Emilia get the most joy out of caring for these plants. Stop by WYG to see their unique trellis techniques in action — they work well in home gardens, too!

Photo by Kelsey Cochran

This is also the first growing season with the recently completed perimeter fence. The Washington Youth Garden has grown by over 30% thanks to this new fence! The Garden Team has filled this new space with flowers, cover crops, and cultural herbs like papalo from Mexico, molokhia from Palestine, and Okinawa spinach from Japan.

Xavier and Emilia have noticed that lots more people are discovering the Washington Youth Garden thanks to this new fence. Stop by the garden during your next visit to the Arboretum — there's something for people of every age to discover and enjoy.

Movie in the Meadow

Don't miss our outdoor Movie in the Meadow on Saturday, July 20th from 8 PM to 11 PM. Bring a picnic blanket or lawn chair and enjoy a screening of "The Hidden Life of Trees," all while being surrounded by the Arboretum's living library of trees.

This event is free, but please register to receive important event updates. Event attendees will only have access to the Ellipse Meadow, Capitol Columns, and National Herb Garden. Many thanks to Casey Trees, Harris Teeter, and D.C. Department of Energy and the Environment for sponsoring this event.

More Information & Movie Tickets >

Photo by U.S. National Arboretum.

Plant Spotlight

The Arboretum is home to seven different species and five hybrids in the genus Yucca. These plants are native to the Western Hemisphere and have had significant value to both Indigenous people and wildlife. Yucca filamentosa, commonly known as curlyleaf yucca, is a useful species native to the East Coast, with edible fruits and flowers, and leaves that have been used in fishing by the Cherokee people. It is also a host plant to native giant-skipper butterflies and yucca moths.

In the garden, curlyleaf yucca can thrive in hot, dry sand and is resistant to browsing, salt, and pollution. Cream-white bell-like flowers grow on tall spikes that rise above its clump of tough, grass-like foliage. At the National Arboretum, striped and dwarf cultivars can be found in the Introduction Garden and the wild type grows in the Gotelli Collection. 

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.

Free Photo Workshop

The Dojo Studios, in partnership with FONA, will host a free photography workshop at the National Arboretum this Friday, June 28th from 11 AM to 3 PM.

This class is open to all ages and skill levels, and will focus on natural light photography and storytelling. Cheriss May, a renowned photographer known for her work on Capitol Hill and with national newspapers, will lead the workshop.

Event Details & Registration >

Upcoming FONA Events

4th Fridays Summer Evening Hours

June 28, 5 PM - 8 PM

July 26, 5 PM - 8 PM

August 23, 5 PM - 8 PM

Arboretum grounds stay open to the public

Movie in the Meadow:

The Hidden Life of Trees

July 20, 8 PM - 11 PM

Outdoor movie in the Ellipse Meadow

More Info & Tickets >

Community Fishing

August 24, 9 AM - 12PM

Free fishing along the Anacostia

Save the date — registration coming soon!

Dinner Under the Stars

September 17, 5:30 PM - 9 PM

Cocktails & tented dinner in the Meadow

Purchase a Ticket or Table >

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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