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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 eventually 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 Garden and Landscape Studies.

About the Gardens Virtual Tour Average Bloom Times


Plan Your Visit

The Gardens may close in hazardous conditions. Make your visit safe and enjoyable by reviewing information for Gardens visitors.

Winter Season (November 1–March 14)

Open 3–5 p.m., Tuesday–Sunday, except for federal holidays. 

Admission to the gardens in the Winter Season is free. Timed tickets are required.

Reserve timed tickets

Regular Season (March 15–October 31)

Open 3–6 p.m., Tuesday–Sunday, except for federal holidays. 

Planning to visit frequently? Save on admission by purchasing a season pass. Rates are:

  • $75 Individual Season Pass
  • $95 Double Season Pass
  • $110 Family Season Pass



A Century in the Gardens

The Garden Centennial recognizes a century of stewardship and preservation of the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens through celebrations and exhibits. We will explore the different ways the gardens and landscape as a work of art has been utilized, with thoughts on the next hundred years. Using digitally accessible materials, curatorial newsletters, and in-person exhibitions, the Garden Centennial commemorates one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. Learn more about the Garden Centennial.

A Virtual Walk through the Gardens

The digital exhibitions of each garden room, released on a monthly schedule, include design timelines, object and archival highlights, as well as new narratives of the place so many of us know so well. The exhibitions follow a progression through the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens, suggesting a walking tour of the garden rooms.

 

Writing the Gardens

This essay series in the Oaks News draws on scholarship from a range of disciplines, revisiting materials from the last century, as well as notes from the curators on the process of curating the Centennial.


South Lawn

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

Orangery

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 a panoramic view of the entire estate.



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