Postrose_trellisFormerly the home of Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress to the Post cereal empire, the twenty-five acre Hillwood Estate and Gardens is probably best known for the most extensive collection of Russian Imperial art outside of Russia. However, the gardens were well-loved by Mrs. Post. Shortly after she acquired Hillwood in 1955, Mrs. Post commissioned prominent landscape architects to create thirteen acres of formal gardens. The peak of the gardens was timed to when she was typically in residence, spring and fall.

Landscape architects Umberto Innocenti and Richard Webel created the French Parterre, featuring typical elements of an 18th-century French garden, to complement her collection of 18th-century French art and furnishings.

Landscape architect Perry Wheeler, who helped design the White House rose garden, helped adapt the Rose Garden in 1956. Beds are edged by a green and white border of alyssum and boxwood hedges. It’s also the final resting place of Marjorie Post.

Other highlights are the Japanese-style Garden; the Friendship Walk; and the Lunar Lawn, a large, crescent-shaped lawn that provides a view of the Washington Monument and was a favorite spot of Post.

orchidgreenhouse_slideshow5The orchid was Mrs. Post’s favorite flower and she even hired an orchid curator to oversee a collection of more than 2,500 specimens and hundreds of different varieties.

Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00am to 5:00pm,and select Sundays and evenings throughout the year. Closed January and most national holidays.

Website: Hillwood Estate – Museum & Gardens