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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April May June
July Aug  
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.

May

Azalea Collections Tours
May 1, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
May 10, Mother’s Day! 1:00 – 3:00 pm FULL
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.

 

Great Lawns using Bay-Friendly Practices
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.

Win-win! You can have a great looking lawn and feel good about it by using bay-friendly practices which help keep rivers and streams clean and free from sediment and runoff. Learn the practical, science-based techniques from experts who specialize in sustainable residential lawn care, including University of Maryland and National Arboretum staff.  Topics include soils, lawn types, maintenance, fertilizing, microclover, and a tour of the Grass Roots exhibit.  Don’t learn lawn care from the back of a fertilizer bag; come to this workshop and take home knowledge you can use to improve your lawn and our waterways. Program is rain or shine, and includes indoor and outdoor sessions. Free: registration encouraged, call 202-245-5965 to reserve a spot.

 

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 FULL
May 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. 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
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.

June

satsukiExhibit: Satsuki Bonsai Azaleas of Old Japan
May 22 – June 1, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
Special Exhibits Wing

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. Free.

 

 

Full Moon Hike for Private Group
June 1, 7:00 – 9:00 pm FULL
Meet in the Visitor Center

Gather a group of friends, family, co-workers, and others to enjoy this unique experience considered by many to be “one of DC’s best outings.” Click here for more details. Maximum 25 per group. Fee: $550. Registration required.

 

Full Moon HikeFull Moon Hike
June 1, 8:00 – 10:00 pm FULL
June 2, 8:00 – 10:00 pm
FULL
June 3, 8:00 – 10:00 pm
FULL
Meet in the Visitor Center

This four-mile-long, mildly strenuous hike leads you through moonlit gardens, meadows, and woods. Your guide will share points of special interest and seasonal highlights. The two-hour walk over hilly and uneven terrain is a brisk hike, not a garden tour so wear good walking shoes and dress for the weather. No children under 16 or pets, please. Click here for details. Fee: $22 ($18 FONA) Registration required.

Note: Full Moon Hikes are not held in July and August. Hikes in September, October, and November will be posted here August 3.

 

pot competition3rd National Juried Bonsai Pot Exhibition
June 12 – August 2
National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
Special Exhibits Wing

This premier national juried ceramics exhibition showcases well-known potters and also introduces us to a new generation of talented artists. See over 80 American-made works selected by an expert jury of professional bonsai ceramic artists, including the prize winners in five categories. Sponsored by the National Bonsai Foundation, the Kennett Collection, and Bonsai Shinsei New York. Free.

 

plant swap8th Annual DC Plant Swap
June 13, 11:00 am (This event happens quickly, so pleases arrive on time!)
R Street Parking Lot
(Rain location is the Visitor Center Classroom)

Beautify your garden with free plants provided by other local gardeners – and do the same for them! Here’s how it works:
Several days/weeks before the Swap: Pot up your plants (do not pot up the day before). Label each one, ideally with common and Latin name, growing conditions, special care, flower color, etc.
Bring: Your labeled plants and (optional) refreshments to share.  
Don’t bring: Common orange daylilies and any invasive species - use this list to screen your plant offerings. Hybrid daylilies are welcome, but the common orange ones usually end up in the compost pile.
When you arrive: Unload your plants and sort by categories provided.
After the Swap: Socialize and visit the Arboretum’s collections. 
No plants to share? Come anyway! Bring refreshments, socialize with other gardeners, and enjoy the Arboretum’s gardens.
Co-sponsored by the Washington Gardener Magazine and the U.S. National Arboretum. Free, no registration required.

 

tropical bonsai repottingWorkshop: Bonsai Repotting for Tropicals
June 27, 1 to 4:00 pm
National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
Lecture/Demonstration Center

Is it time to repot your tropical 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.

 

lavender under the arborUnder the Arbor: In Love with Lavender
June 27, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
National Herb Garden

Do you love lavender? Learn to use it in new ways and explore the National Herb Garden’s collection of over 60 different types. Experienced artisans will present live demonstrations creating wands and fans and share their techniques and materials so you can try your hand at it. See other handmade items on display and take home information on techniques. Presented by the Potomac Unit of the Herb Society of America. Free.

July

pot competition3rd National Juried Bonsai Pot Exhibition
Through August 2
National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
Special Exhibits Wing

This premier national juried ceramics exhibition showcases well-known potters and also introduces us to a new generation of talented artists. See over 80 American-made works selected by an expert jury of professional bonsai ceramic artists, including the prize winners in five categories. Sponsored by the National Bonsai Foundation, the Kennett Collection, and Bonsai Shinsei New York. Free.

 

Bonsai repottingWorkshop: Bonsai II; Bring Your own Tree
July 13, 12:30 – 3:30 pm
National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
Lecture/Demonstration Center

Take your skills and your tree to the next level at this workshop designed for those who have taken a beginner’s class and are ready for the next step. Bring your tree in to learn how to properly prune, wire, and apply design elements that will improve its overall design and health. The Museum curator will teach the principles and give individual attention to each participant. Limit of one large or two small bonsai per student. Bring your own tools.Fee: $39 ($31 FONA/NBF) Registration required.

August

pot competition3rd National Juried Bonsai Pot Exhibition
Through August 2
National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
Special Exhibits Wing

This premier national juried ceramics exhibition showcases well-known potters and also introduces us to a new generation of talented artists. See over 80 American-made works selected by an expert jury of professional bonsai ceramic artists, including the prize winners in five categories. Sponsored by the National Bonsai Foundation, the Kennett Collection, and Bonsai Shinsei New York. Free.

More Summer Activities

Fall Events
September, October, and November programs, including Full Moon Hikes, will be posted here on August 3.

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   May 7, 2015 10:37 AM
URL = http://www.usna.usda.gov/Education/events.html