US National Arboretum


Current Events and Programs

Some arboretum programs require advance registration. Please refer to the program description for details.

At this time, we have no online registration and payment service. Click here for current registration procedures for all programs .

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October November

Program FULL? If a program is marked FULL, registration is closed, and we do not keep waiting lists. If there is a cancellation, we will remove the FULL marking and re-open registration. However, if the program is scheduled to occur within 10 calendar days, the cancellation period is over and we will not re-open registration. We do not keep waiting lists for any programs. For questions, please call 202-245-5898.

Full Moon Hike

The hikes sell out quickly and the best chance for reserving a spot is to register soon after we post them here on our Current Events and Programs page.
We post them quarterly, by season. Below are the dates that they will be posted and open for registration.

Spring hikes (March, April, and May) will be posted February 2.
Summer hikes (June) will be posted May 1. We do not hold hikes in July and August.
Fall hikes (September, October, and November) will be posted August 3.
Winter hikes (December, January, and February) will be posted November 2.

Note: If the date falls on a weekend or federal holiday, the posting will be done the following work day.

Hike dates are included below with other listings.


Under the Arbor: Chile Pepper Day
Moved to October 10 due to the weather forecast, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
National Herb Garden

Hot, hotter, and hottest! Taste-test a variety of peppers, sample chile-based foods, watch live demonstrations, and pick up informational materials at this annual drop-in event celebrating the cultivation and use of chile peppers. Explore the National Herb Garden’s extensive collection of over 60 varieties, including some of the world’s hottest peppers. Presented by members of the Mid-Atlantic Units of the Herb Society of America. Free. No registration required.


Planting for Diversity Cancelled
October 10, 9:00 am – 3:30 pm

Are you interested in history, gardening, agriculture, conservation, cooking, and/or eating? If so, come to this event and see how all of these play their part in the important cause of preserving plant diversity. Plant biodiversity is continually threatened as crop genetics have narrowed to produce fewer and more uniform food crops and landscape plants. However, home gardeners, community groups, and government agencies, including the Arboretum, are working to ensure plant genetic diversity by preserving as many types of plants as possible. This genetic material will be preserved for breeding to address future challenges including pests, diseases, and environmental changes. Learn the concepts, techniques, and pleasures of preservation including seed saving and gardening with heirlooms at presentations, tours, demonstrations, a seed exchange, book signings, and more. Presenters include:

Rosalind Creasy, Landscape designer, photographer, author, and champion of edible landscaping
Kevin Conrad, Horticulturist and Curator of the Woody Landscape Plant Germplasm Repository
Peggy Cornett, Curator of Plants at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc. 
Joan Feely, Curator of Fern Valley Native Plant Collection, US National Arboretum
Kathy Jentz, Editor and Publisher, Washington Gardener Magazine
Dr. Richard Olsen, Director of the U.S. National Arboretum
Dr. Joe Kirkbride, Research Botanist and Director of the US National Seed Herbarium
Ira Wallace, Worker/owner of the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and author

Click here for the day’s schedule. Registration required. Fee: $79 ($63 FONA members) Fee includes all sessions and activities, morning and afternoon breaks, and lunch. Click here to register. Free parking on site. 


National Capital Orchid Society’s 68th Annual Show and Sale
October 10, 11, & 12
The Orchid Show and Sale will be held at Behnke’s Nursery in Beltsville, MD this year. Click here for the National Capitol Orchid Society’s website for more information or call Behnke’s at 301-937-1100.


Under the Arbor: Easy Herbal Cleaners
October 10, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
National Herb Garden

Imagine your house-cleaning chores made more pleasant by the use of fresh homemade herbal products.  At this event, learn how easy it is to create simple, aromatic, inexpensive cleansers and air fresheners from commonly grown local herbs.  Watch demonstrations, pick up recipes, and create a sample to take home. Presented by members of the Mason-Dixon Unit of the Herb Society of America. Free; drop-in. No registration required.


Seed Collecting 101
October 17, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Meet in the Fern Valley parking lot

Have you ever admired a beautiful native plant in a neighbor’s garden and wished you could “acquire’ that plant for yourself?  You can! Learn how to collect seeds (with permission, of course!) and grow an abundance of plants for little or no cost in the most ecologically–sensitive way.  Joan Feely, curator of the Fern Valley Native Plant Collection, will demonstrate how to make a collection schedule, collect the seed, and process and store it at home. The class will start in the field, with hands-on collecting techniques, and finish in the lab to see how a variety of seeds are processed in preparation for sowing.  Fee: $22 ($18 FONA) Email registration required: click here for information.  


Family Fun Day
October 17, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Grass Roots Exhibit

Fun and educational activities for all ages at this one-of-a-kind outdoor exhibit that demonstrates the uses and culture of all types of grasses from lawns to ornamentals to field crops. Free, drop-in program, no registration required.


Glattstein portrait
Small Bulbs for Woodland and Rock Gardens

October 17, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Create robust populations of bulbs in your garden that provide year round interest and thrive with minimal maintenance. Never again experience the frustration of planting bulbs that flower the first year, but then bloom poorly or never again. Judy Glattstein will provide the inspiration, experience, and research to demonstrate how to choose bulbs that suit the ecological and cultural conditions in your landscape. From the popular to the unusual, learn to use a variety of bulbs in a naturalistic style to enhance your woodland and rock garden. Judy Glattstein is a garden consultant, author, lecturer, and popular instructor at the New York Botanical Garden and Rutgers University. She is the author of seven books, including Choosing and Using Bulbs in the Garden. She also curated the exhibit, Buried Treasures: The Nature and Art of Bulbs, at the New York Botanical Garden. Her entertaining style and informative presentation will leave you with the enthusiasm and knowledge you need to enhance your garden with bulbs. Free. Registration required. Call 202-245-2708 or email to register.



Exhibit: Autumn Bonsai: The Colors of Nature
October 23 – November 8, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
Special Exhibits Wing

No need to leave town for leaf peeping – these miniature masterpieces glow with brilliant autumn colors. Appreciate the artistry and nature of each unique tree in this formal display featuring those with the most striking fall features, including foliage, fruits, and berries. Free. No registration required.


Talk and Tour: Overwintering your Bonsai
October 25, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
Lecture Demonstration Center

Prepare yourself and your trees for the approach of winter by learning about the methods used to overwinter the national bonsai collection. Museum curator Jack Sustic will discuss how to prepare trees for and bring them out of storage, the importance of winter dormancy, temperature control, air circulation, and the role that light plays. Tour the Museum’s winter storage area in a behind-the-scenes tour. Fee: $22 ($18 FONA/NBF) Email registration required: click here for information.


full moonFull Moon Hike
October 26, 8:00 – 10:00 pm FULL
October 27, 8:00 – 10:00 pm FULL
October 28, 8:00 – 10:00 pm FULL
Meet in the Visitor Center

Take a brisk hike through moonlit gardens, meadows, and woods. Your guide will share specially chosen points of interest and seasonal highlights. The two-hour walk over hilly and uneven terrain is a brisk hike, not a garden tour so prepare accordingly. No children under 16 or pets, please. Fall hikes book quickly; register soon to reserve your spot. Click here for complete Hike details. Fee: $22 ($18 FONA) Email registration required: click here for information.


Private Full Moon Hike for Group
October 26, 7:00 – 9:00 pm FULL
Meet in the Visitor Center

Gather a group of friends, family, co-workers, and others to enjoy a unique experience considered by many to be “one of D.C.’s best outings”. Not recommended for children under 16; no pets, please. Maximum 25 per group. Click here for complete Group Hike details. Fee: $550 Email registration required: click here for information. Prepayment required for Group Hike.


A Plantsman’s Favorites: Exciting, Long-Blooming Perennials
October 27, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Visitor Center Auditorium

Join Jimi Blake on a breathtaking journey from his own garden outside Dublin to gardens and nurseries worldwide, where he will share his favorite exciting and long-blooming perennials. Warning: be prepared for your plant wish-list to explode! Blake is a noted Irish horticulturist, teacher, and plantsman who began his career as head gardener of the historic Airfield Garden in Dundrum County, Dublin. There he resuscitated a large Victorian garden to its former glory, enabling the public to rediscover a lost gem. Eventually, he secured twenty acres for his own collection, naming it Hunting Brook Gardens.  Hunting Brook is Blake’s boldly idiosyncratic creation and is considered Ireland’s most innovative landscape. Using his palette of assorted treasures, his collections are a unique fusion of tropical, prairie, and woodland styles, all with expansive views of the Wicklow Mountains. Blake is in demand worldwide as a garden consultant, designer, and lecturer. Fee: $12 ($10 FONA) Registration required: click here for registration information.


Full Moon Hikes

There will be no Full Moon Hikes in November because the full moon falls on November 26, which is Thanksgiving. All of our guides and many of our hikers will be traveling and spending the holidays with family and friends. (Note: the December full moon falls on the 25th, Christmas Day, so there will be no Full Moon Hikes in December). Thank you for your understanding and enjoy your holiday.


Exhibit: Autumn Bonsai: The Colors of Nature
October 23 – November 8, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
Special Exhibits Wing

No need to leave town for leaf peeping – these miniature masterpieces glow with brilliant autumn colors. Appreciate the artistry and nature of each unique tree in this formal display featuring those with the most striking fall features, including foliage, fruits, and berries. Free. No registration required.

Cell Phone Tour

A free* tour of all of the major collections and research areas is available when you bring a cell phone to the arboretum. Look for the signs in the gardens and follow the directions. More information is available in the lobby. * You will use your minutes.




FONA/NBF refers to members of the Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA) or the National Bonsai Foundation (NBF), who receive a discount on many programs. For membership information for FONA, call 202-544-8733 or see their website at For information on NBF, call 202-396-3510 or see

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Last Updated   October 1, 2015 2:25 PM