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In 1920, after a long and careful search, Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss found their ideal country house and garden within Washington, DC. They purchased a fifty-three-acre property, described as an old-fashioned house standing in rather neglected grounds, at the highest point of Georgetown. Within a year, the Blisses hired landscape gardener Beatrix Farrand to design the garden. Working in happy and close collaboration for almost thirty years, Mildred Bliss and Beatrix Farrand planned every garden detail, each terrace, bench, urn, and border. The upper sixteen acres were transferred to Harvard University in 1940 to establish a research institute for Byzantine studies, Pre-Columbian studies, and studies in the history of gardens and landscape architecture.

About the Gardens Virtual Tour Average Bloom Times

Enjoy Dumbarton Oaks Safely

Dumbarton Oaks is excited to welcome our season pass holders and docents back to the gardens, beginning Tuesday, April 20, as the first phase of our reopening! Timed tickets will be offered in limited quantities in order to safely manage capacity and provide visitors enough space to practice social distancing. For more information, review our Reopening Safely information.

If you would like to be eligible for early access to the gardens, season passes are available for purchase here. The second phase, the official reopening of the gardens is scheduled for May 15, when timed tickets will be available for purchase. We will continue to share updates on our website and through social media.

Learn more about Dumbarton Oaks’ response to COVID-19, opportunities to visit virtually, and plans to reopen safely.

Current Status Visiting Virtually Reopening Safely

South Lawn

This grassy expanse is sculpted by the old driveway that approaches the house.


This small greenhouse is one of the oldest structures still standing on the grounds of Dumbarton Oaks.

Green Garden

This grassy terrace, shaded by a tall oak tree, provides panoramic view of the entire estate.

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