Dumbarton Oaks Park, Washington, D.C.
Dumbarton Oaks Park, Washington, D.C.



United States

Dumbarton Oaks Park


This 27-acre woodland garden was originally designed as the naturalistic component of the Dumbarton Oaks estate. As part of the collaboration between landscape gardener Beatrix Farrand and philanthropists and collectors Mildred and Robert Bliss, the Park was conceived as a series of paths and meadows organized around a small, unnamed tributary of Rock Creek. The larger 53-acre garden complex was crafted, Bliss wrote, to offer the “illusion of country life,” and the Park with its naturalized expanses of wildflowers, bulbs, and woodland shrubs, both native and exotic, was the culmination of that effect. Built elements include two arbors, multiple benches and footbridges, two pump houses, and eighteen waterfall dams, all in the rustic Arts & Crafts style. The woodland garden was designed both as the ultimate destination within the Dumbarton Oaks estate and as a “wild” complement to the formal terraced gardens above the stream valley. Dumbarton Oaks Park was given to the federal government in 1940 and is managed by the National Park Service as part of Rock Creek Park. In 2010 the Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy was founded to work in concert with NPS to restore the landscape to its former splendor. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. 

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