Spotlight on the Garden: Dumbarton Oaks Park

Dumbarton Oaks Park

Dumbarton Oaks Park, located in the Georgetown section of Washington, DC, occupies 27 acres of a valley through which flows a small, unnamed tributary stream of Rock Creek.

On this site, noted landscape architect Beatrix Farrand created the gardens and grounds of Dumbarton Oaks. Considered a landscape masterpiece, the design for Dumbarton Oaks included the well-known formal gardens. It is not well-known, however, that Farrand also created a naturalistic landscape garden in the valley below which is called Dumbarton Oaks Park. Today, four challenges must be resolved in order to preserve Farrand's lovely "garden in the valley": 1) the management of ever-increasing storm water flows caused by upstream urban and suburban development; 2) the preservation of deteriorated architectural features; 3) the control of overgrown and invasive vegetation; and 4) the identification of reliable and continuing funding for routine and seasonal maintenance and for interpretation. The National Park Service (NPS) now manages Dumbarton Oaks Park: support is needed to help the NPS secure funding to preserve and manage this important public landscape.

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