It is a huge estate garden in Georgetown, one of historic significance as it once was the home of Robert Woods Bliss, a US Diplomat, and host to a "pre" meeting of what was to become the United Nations. The Bliss' purchased the home in 1920 and did extensive remodeling of both house and gardens. Bliss was also an avid collector of pre-columbian art, many of the pieces which still reside in the home. It is now the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, administered by the Trustees for Harvard University.
The gardens were designed by Beatrix Ferrand who was inspired by the great European gardens. She was one of the founding members of the American Society of Landscape Architects and had her hand in several prominent gardens, one of which was the National Cathedral.
Dumbarton Oaks is stunning and huge. It is about 50 acres and it comprises a series of terraces that step down the steep hill. Within each terrace are several gardens, and for the first time I really started to understand the design concept of "Garden Rooms." I know now that my idea of garden rooms was really "garden alcove". Walking through this estate garden was a revelation - as only these big manicured places can be. It was quite overwhelming at first because I can not even fathom the cost of such an undertaking. This is truly how the .000001% lived. We were there for several hours but still were only able to see glimpses as we hurried through the grounds. I could have lingered in each garden room for an hour or more.
"The Orangery" is an enclosure off the main house that is covered within by a huge creeping fig (Ficus pumila). The fig is impressive - even more so when you discover that it was planted in 1860. One of my relatives was just establishing the homestead in Talent, Oregon about the same time. I thought about Frank Kerby out there clearing trees in the wilderness while someone in Georgetown planted this ficus.
That's interesting. I swear I just heard Beatrix Ferrand gasp and Frank Kerby laughing "that's my girl."