Beautiful Garden: Dumbarton Oaks

Dumbarton Oaks, the former home of Robert Woods Bliss and Mildred Barnes Bliss, is a museum and public garden nestled in the heart of Georgetown. The museum collection has Byzantine and pre-Columbian artworks (turns out to be an agreeable combo), and the gardens are quietly spectacular, particularly on a May afternoon when they are mostly free of visitors. Photos below are from my visit late afternoon yesterday. The garden plan hasn’t changed much since I first started visiting in 1984, but there is one recent addition, an installation called Cloud Terrace by Cao/Perrot. This is a mesh of crystals in one of the gazebos, and I didn’t really get it when I went last fall. But yesterday, with sunlight slanting late, it was a dazzling centerpiece to the garden, a welcome bit of costume jewelry gaudy in the middle of pure elegance. (Sorry that the photos don’t really do it justice.)

Some Washington pundit (Joe Alsop maybe?) said that despite the fact that everybody comes to DC in April for cherry blossoms and school trips, it’s May that is glorious here, so much so that it makes up for August in Washington, which is saying something.

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