US National Arboretum

 
 

Current Events and Programs

Many arboretum programs require advance registration.  Please refer to complete program descriptions.
You can now register either online or by mailing in a completed form.
Click here to begin the registration process.

For registration information, call 202-245-4521; or use this form.

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March April May
Family Activities

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.

March

Exhibit: Viewing Stones of North America – An Emerging Perspective
Through March 29, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (Fridays – Mondays only)
National Bonsai & Penjing Museum

This exhibit features stones collected in North America and includes five that were featured in the 2014 book, Viewing Stones of North America, A Contemporary Perspective. The book was written by Dr. Thomas S. Elias, a Potomac Viewing Stone Group member and former director of the National Arboretum. Exhibit presented by members of the Potomac Viewing Stone Group, a regional organization dedicated to stone appreciation.  Free.

 

Pruning Workshop
March 14, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Meet in the Visitor Center

Learn to prune your favorite woody shrubs and trees correctly to maximize their health and beauty. Expert Peter Deahl, co-founder and supervising arborist of The Pruning School, teaches this workshop that combines science, creativity, and his passion for plants to teach you the lifelong skills you need to bring out the best in your plants. Workshop includes a classroom presentation and hands-on practice on the grounds. Light snacks will be provided. Bring hand pruners if possible. Fee: $39/FONA $31. Registration required.

 

Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital: Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America
March 18, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Visitor Center

Frederick Law Olmsted was among the first to regard landscape architecture as a profession and a fine art and was also the most successful person ever to practice in the U.S. He was co-designer of Central Park, leader of the campaign to protect Niagara Falls, designer of the U.S. Capitol Grounds, and creator of many other treasured landscapes and park systems. To Olmsted, a park was both a work of art and a necessity for urban life; his efforts to preserve nature created an “environmental ethic” decades before the environmental movement became a force in America. With gorgeous cinematography, creative animation, and compelling commentary, Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America presents the biography of a man whose parks and preservation are an essential part of American life.  Filmmaker Lawrence Hott will discuss the film and answer questions. Free. Registration required, space is limited. Call 202-245-2708 to register.

 

Bonsai Repotting Workshop
March 22, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
National Bonsai & Penjing Museum

Is it time to repot your bonsai?  Learn how to do this important procedure correctly with expert guidance. Bonsai museum staff will teach repotting concepts and skills, giving individual attention to each tree the student brings in. Limit of one large or two small bonsai per student. Soil and tools provided. (Note: Often bonsai will be repotted into the same container. For repotting questions, call 202-245-5307.)National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. Fee: $29 ($23 FONA/NBF) Registration required.

 

Full Moon Hike
March 4, 8:00 – 10:00 pm
March 5, 8:00 – 10:00 pm FULL
March 6, 8:00 – 10:00 pm
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. Spring hikes book quickly; register soon to reserve your spot. Click here for more hike details. Fee: $22 ($18 FONA) Registration required.

 

Private Full Moon Hike for Group
March 4, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
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. For more details, see description of Full Moon Hike. Maximum 25 per group. Click here for more Private Group Hike details. Fee: $550 Registration required.

 

Lawn Care Best Practices
March 21, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Visitor Center

Informal indoor, outdoor, and hands-on learning activities provide you with practical, science-based, and up-to-date information you can use to improve your lawn.

Learn the five most important lawn care principles. This pro-active approach emphasizes preventive techniques to reduce the incidence of weeds, pests, and diseases, thereby reducing the time and resources needed to keep your lawn healthy and attractive. Take home practical information to guide you through the process. Guided tour of Grass Roots Exhibit included. Free, registration encouraged; space is limited. Call 202-245-5965 to register.

 

Self-guided Tour: Beyond the Tidal Basin: Introducing Other Great Flowering Cherries
March 20 – April 12, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (Fridays – Mondays only)
Visitor Center

When most people hear the words “cherry blossom,” they think of the familiar Yoshino cherry trees at the Tidal Basin. Come to the Arboretum to explore nearly forty different types of flowering cherries and discover the beautiful variety of shapes, sizes, flower colors, and bloom times that these trees feature. Look for three new varieties developed by Arboretum scientists and don’t miss the remarkable weeping Yoshinos. Drive, bike, or walk over several miles of Arboretum roads to see them all.  Pick up a brochure in the Visitor Information Center or download one at the Arboretum website after March 15. Free.

 

Workshop: Bonsai Basics with Junipers
March 21, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
March 29, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
April 18, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
April 19, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
National Bonsai & Penjing Museum

Create your own juniper bonsai in this all-day class designed for the beginner. Learn the horticultural, aesthetic, and cultural elements of bonsai, and then apply your new knowledge during the hands-on workshop. All necessary materials, including the plant, pot, soil, and wire are provided, and some tools will be available. Please bring tools if you have them. Bring lunch for a noon break. Your tree will need an outside space at home. Fee: $129 ($103 FONA/NBF) Registration required. These popular workshops sell out so please register early.

 

Lahr Native Plant Symposium: Making Connections
March 28, 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Visitor Center

Explore a variety of ways that you can use native plants in the landscape to make positive connections to the natural world. Learn how your plantings will benefit pollinators and how timeless landscape designs follow nature’s lead. Get to know some unfamiliar ecosystems that are home to very interesting plants and animals. This symposium will help you put together well-designed landscapes that actively connect with nature. Fee: $95 ($76 FONA) Registration required. See also Native Plant Sale; symposium attendees get early-bird admission to the sale. Click here for brochure.

 

Native Plant Sale
March 28, 9:30 am – 2:00 pm
R Street parking lot

Get a jump-start on spring by shopping at this annual sale featuring a collection of local nurseries offering an extensive collection of high quality, locally grown native plants. Growers will be on hand to provide expert gardening information. Held in conjunction with the Lahr Native Plant Symposium; attendees get early-bird admission to the sale at 8:30 am. Free admission.

 

All Aboard! Beyond the Tidal Basin Tram Tour
March 29, 1:00 – 3:00 pm

Get on board the Arboretum’s open-air tram for a scenic and informative tour of the hundreds of flowering cherry trees that grace the National Arboretum’s grounds. Horticulturist David Kidwell-Slak will share the stories of the most remarkable specimens, trees of historical significance, and the results of the Arboretum’s research program. Stops include short walks into the research fields for close-up inspection of selected areas. Fee: $22 ($18 FONA) Registration required.

April

Self-guided Tour: Beyond the Tidal Basin: Introducing Other Great Flowering Cherries
March 20 – April 12, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (Fridays – Mondays only)
Visitor Center

When most people hear the words “cherry blossom,” they think of the famous and familiar Yoshino cherry trees at the Tidal Basin. Come to the Arboretum to explore nearly forty different types of flowering cherries and discover the great diversity of shapes, sizes, flower colors, and bloom times these trees feature. Look for three new varieties developed by Arboretum scientists and don’t miss the remarkable weeping Yoshinos. Drive, bike, or walk over several miles of Arboretum roads to see them all.  Pick up a brochure in the Visitor Information Center or download one at the Arboretum website after March 15. Free.

 

Full Moon Hike
April 2, 8:00 – 10:00 pm
April 3, 8:00 – 10:00 pm FULL
April 4, 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. Spring hikes book quickly; register soon to reserve your spot. Fee: $22 ($18 FONA) Registration required.

 

Private Full Moon Hike for Group
April 2, 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 DC’s best outings. Not recommended for children under 16. No pets, please. For more details, see the description of Full Moon Hike. Maximum 25 per group. Fee: $550 Registration required.
Meet in the Visitor Center

 

Exhibit: Ikebana International
April 3 – April 12, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (Fridays – Mondays only)
National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
Enjoy spring flowers with a Japanese twist! Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement, a disciplined art form steeped in the philosophy of developing closeness with nature. Washington D.C. Chapter No. 1 of Ikebana International will exhibit flower arrangements representing a variety of ikebana schools, from traditional to contemporary. The installation will change three times during the exhibit, so plan return visits to see them all. See “Demonstrations” below. Free.

 

Demonstrations: Ikebana International
April 4, 5, 11, & 12; 1:00 – 3:00 pm
National Bonsai & Penjing Museum

Watch master teachers from the Washington D.C. Chapter No. 1 of Ikebana International create works of art from flowers and other natural materials. Each date features a different school; see below. See Exhibit above,   Ikebana International. Free.

Saturday, April 4: Ohara school
Sunday, April 5: Ikenobo school
Saturday, April 11: Sogetsu school
Sunday, April 12: Ichiyo school

 

Workshop: Bonsai Basics with Junipers
April 18, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
April 19, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
National Bonsai & Penjing Museum

Create your own juniper bonsai in this all-day class designed for the beginner. Learn the horticultural, aesthetic, and cultural elements of bonsai and then apply your new knowledge during the hands-on workshop. All necessary materials, including the plant, pot, soil, and wire are provided, and some tools will be available. Please bring tools if you have them. Bring lunch for a noon break. Your tree will need an outside space at home. Fee: $129 ($103 FONA/NBF) Registration required. These popular workshops sell out so please register early.

 

Tomato Grafting
April 11, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Meet in the Visitor Center

Grafting is a technique that joins parts from two different plants so that they grow as one, with the benefits of both. It is an ancient practice that can be traced back 4,000 years to ancient China and Mesopotamia.  In this hands-on workshop, you will graft tomato seedlings, combining newer disease-resistant rootstock with older heirloom varieties. You will graft several plants and return to the Arboretum after one week to pick them up. All tools and materials provided. Presented by the Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA). Fee: $15 ($12 FONA). Registration required; register on the FONA website.

 

National Cherry Blossom Festival National Greenscape Corridor Bike Tour
April 18, 11:30 am until (see tour description)
Meet at BicycleSPACE, 440 K Street NW, Washington DC

The green settings of Washington D.C.’s monuments and historic buildings are the canvas on which these architectural icons are painted. The National Greenscape Corridor is made up of three of these historic and cultural landscapes, which you will explore on this guided tour. Begin at BicycleSPACE and make stops at Arlington National Cemetery and the National Mall, where you will hear a short talk on the rich history and future plans for these famous urban landscapes. The third and final stop will be at the National Arboretum (approximately 2:30 pm), where there will be refreshments and activities centered on the new Grass Roots exhibit and other gardens. A guide will lead the group back to BicycleSPACE or you are free to leave the Arboretum on your own. All ages are welcome. The ride is 11 miles from BicycleSPACE to the National Arboretum, plus the mileage of the return trip to your destination. Sponsored by the National Arboretum, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and the National Turfgrass Federation. Free. Registration required.  Register at the National Cherry Blossom Festival website.

 

Azalea Collections Tours
April 24, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
April 29, 4:30 – 6:30 pm
May 1, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
May 10, Mother’s Day! 1:00 – 3:00 pm

Stroll along wooded hillside trails amid a brilliant spring display of thousands of blooming azaleas while learning about the origins and culture of these popular shrubs. Barbara Bullock, long-time curator of the renowned Arboretum Azalea Collections, tells the story of how Arboretum research has contributed hundreds of new varieties for gardeners; gives expert advice on all aspects of growing azaleas; and answers your questions. See the progress of the Glenn Dale Hillside Renewal Project, a major renovation to improve conditions to increase the vigor and bloom production of thousands of azaleas. Fee: $12 ($10 FONA) Registration required.

 

Garden Fair & Plant Sale
April 24, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm; Friends of the National Arboretum members only
April 24, 1:00 – 4:00 pm; Open to the public
April 25, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm; Open to the public

New York Avenue parking lot

 The annual Garden Fair & Plant Sale features new, rare, and hard-to-find plants, garden supply vendors, books, children's activities, refreshments, entertainment, and more. Bring your garden questions to National Arboretum staff members for expert advice. Sponsored by the Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA). Call FONA at 202-544-8733 for more information. Free admission.

May

Azalea Collections Tours
May 1, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
May 10, Mother’s Day! 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Stroll along wooded hillside trails amid a brilliant spring display of thousands of blooming azaleas while learning about the origins and culture of these popular shrubs. Barbara Bullock, long-time curator of the renowned Arboretum Azalea Collections, tells the story of how Arboretum research has contributed hundreds of new varieties for gardeners; gives expert advice on all aspects of growing azaleas; and answers your questions. See the progress of the Glenn Dale Hillside Renewal Project, a major renovation to improve conditions to increase the vigor and bloom production of thousands of azaleas. Fee: $12 ($10 FONA) Registration required.

 

New! Herbarium Workshop
May 2 and 9 (2-session program)
10:00 am – 12:00 pm each day
Meet in the Visitor Center

Preserve plants for posterity! The art and science of pressing, mounting, and labeling plants has been the basis of botany for centuries and continues today. Once preserved, the samples are filed in an herbarium to provide reference for scientists worldwide. The specimens can also be framed to create a “botanically correct” way to display your favorite plants. Arboretum botanist Dr. Robert Webster leads this two-session, hands-on workshop which includes a behind-the-scenes tour of the National Arboretum’s 650,000+ specimen herbarium, plus all materials and instruction for you to create five pressed specimens to take home.

Session 1, May 2: Tour the herbarium, collect and choose plant samples to preserve, learn to use the press and the drier.
Session 2, May 9: Mount the samples; create and attach botanically accurate labels. Take home and enjoy! (Frame on your own.) Fee: $39 ($31 FONA) Registration required.

 

Fertilize your Lawn Correctly
May 2, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm       
Visitor Center

Informal indoor, outdoor, and hands-on learning activities provide you with practical, science-based, and up-to-date information you can use to improve your lawn.

Did you know that there are new fertilizer rules in place for homeowners? Learn what they are and how they encourage correct fertilizer usage to promote long-term lawn health and protect waterways, including the bay. Fertilizer selection, application, timing, types of spreaders, calibrating spreaders, avoiding common costly mistakes, and more will be covered. Guided tour of Grass Roots Exhibit included. Free, registration encouraged; space is limited. Call 202-245-5965 to register.

 

Potomac Bonsai Festival

There will be no Potomac Bonsai Festival this year due to the American Bonsai Society’s Annual Conference, “Capital Collections”, being held June 11–14 in Ellicott City, Maryland. Click here for conference information.

 

Open House: World Bonsai Day
May 9, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
National Bonsai & Penjing Museum

World Bonsai Day celebrates Saburo Kato’s belief that bonsai has the power to unite people by acting as a bridge to international friendship and peace. This annual event features demonstrations at12:00 and 2:00 pm, drawings for the demonstration trees, curator-led museum tours at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:00 pm, and an exhibit about Mr. Kato, founder of the World Bonsai Friendship Federation. Admission and all events are free.

 

Full Moon Hike
May 2, 8:00 – 10:00 pm FULL
May 3, 8:00 – 10:00 pm
May 4, 8:00 – 10:00 pm
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. Spring hikes book quickly; register soon to reserve your spot. Click here for more hike information. Fee: $22 ($18 FONA) Registration required.

 

Private Full Moon Hike for Group
May 2, 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. For more information, on the Private Hike, click here. Maximum 25 per group. Fee: $550 Registration required.

 

Exhibit: Art Blooms: Satsuki Azalea Bonsai
May 22 – June 1, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (Fridays – Mondays only)
National Bonsai & Penjing Museum

Don’t miss these stunning bonsai, miniature in form, but covered with multicolored, full-sized flowers. Late-blooming Satsuki azaleas have been hybridized in Japan for hundreds of years; many of the museum’s azalea bonsai were started from cuttings collected in Japan in the last century. This annual exhibit showcases our most spectacular examples in a formal display. Based on individual bloom times, trees may be on display in the outdoor pavilions before and after the week-long indoor exhibit. Free.

 

Under the Arbor: Garden Classics – Lavender and Roses
May 30, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
National Herb Garden

What could be better than the beauty and fragrance of two classic garden herbs in full bloom? Discover the garden’s collection of over 60 types of lavender and explore dozens of vintage rose varieties in the Antique and Heritage Rose Garden. Enjoy demonstrations of soap-making with both plants and pick up information you can use to create soaps at home. Presented by the Potomac Unit of the Herb Society of America.  Free.

 

Lawn Care Best Practices
May 30, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Visitor Center

Informal indoor, outdoor, and hands-on learning activities provide you with practical, science-based, and up-to-date information you can use to improve your lawn.

Get information on the five most important lawn care principles. This pro-active approach emphasizes preventive techniques to reduce the incidence of weeds, pests, and diseases, thereby reducing the time and resources needed to keep your lawn healthy and attractive. Take home practical information to guide you through the process. Guided tour of Grass Roots Exhibit included. Free, registration encouraged; space is limited. Call 202-245-5965 to register.

Family Activities

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

 

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 www.fona.org. For information on NBF, call 202-396-3510 or see www.bonsai-nbf.org.

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Last Updated   March 3, 2015 7:29 AM
URL = http://www.usna.usda.gov/Education/events.html