April 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm EDT | by Erin Durkin
Sights and smells of spring
spring, flowers, gay news, Washington Blade

The region is jam-packed with great outdoor festivals in the coming months. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Now that spring is here, several celebrations and festivities are blooming up around the entire District. Here are a few selections for those who wish to celebrate the warmer weather and a new gardening season.


Brookside Gardens (1800 Glenallen Ave., Wheaton, Md.) holds its Earth Day Festival on Sunday starting at noon. The festivities will include a Green Craft and Vendor Fair, activities for children and families and a community art project. The vendors include local crafters selling items made of reused, recycled, organic and sustainable products. From 12:30-3:30 p.m., there are walks and tours of the gardens, which include an Aquatic Garden, Azalea Garden, Butterfly Garden, Children’s Garden, Rose Garden, Japanese Style garden, Trial Garden, Rain Garden and a Woodland Walk. This event is free. For details, visit montgomeryparks.org/brookside.

The Book Hill neighborhood of Georgetown holds its 10th annual French Market today and Saturday at 10 a.m. About 35 Georgetown boutique and antique shops, restaurants and galleries participate in the event offering savings up to 75 percent. Strolling musicians, mimes, arts and crafts with Alliance Francais and live art demos by Art Soiree are included in the festivities. For more information, visit georgetowndc.com.

Ladew Gardens (3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, Md.) offers its own Earth Day celebration with “Storytime in the Gardens: Earth Day Birthday” today at 10:30 a.m. and again at 12:30 p.m. Admission is $5-$10. Advance registration is required. To continue the festival, the garden hosts “Compost Critters” on Saturday at 10:30 p.m. and invites families to search for critters in compost piles while learning about recycling. Attendees will be able to create their own mini composter. Admission is $2-$10 and advance registration is requested. Visit ladewgardens.com for more information.

Green Spring Gardens (4603 Green Spring Rd, Alexandria Va.) holds a “Basic Gardening: Easy Makeover Tips” workshop on April 26 at 1:30 p.m. This class will help people who want to redo their gardens and landscapes. Cost is $10. For more information, visit fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring.

The U.S. Botanic Garden (100 Maryland Ave., SW) offers several different celebrations and tours for the spring season. Here are a few:

  • The garden starts spring right with the Earth Day Festival today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cooking demonstrations with seasonal produce will be available and attendees can mingle with representatives of environmental groups. The celebration will take place on the Conservatory Terrace and this event is free.
  • The Painting Orchids in Pencil and Watercolor workshop with artist Carol Beach is Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. The class will create a large painting of the anatomy of the orchid. Cost is $150-$175. For more information, visit usbg.gov.
  • Enjoy jazz and blues at the ninth annual Big Band Jam with Harry Schnipper and the Blues Alley Jazz Society from April 23-26, starting at noon. This event is free and will take place in the National Garden Amphitheater.
  • The garden hosts the tour “Exploring Culinary and Medicinal African Plants” on Thursday at noon. The tour explores the several different foods and crop grown in Africa, such as cocoa and other foods used for medicine or even sweet foods. This tour is free and will meet in the Conservatory Garden Court.
  • The garden hosts the lecture “Medicinal Plants of Central Asia: Mountains, Deserts, the Silk Road and Soviet Astronauts” on April 26 at noon in the Conservatory classroom. Lecturer Sasha Eiserman, professor at Temple University, will talk about the history of the medicinal plants in this region. This event is free but pre-registration is required.
  • Writer Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of  “City of Trees,” gives a workshop about identifying trees in the evening on April 26 at 6:30 p.m. and again the following morning at 10 a.m. Cost is $15-$20.

For more information about any of these events, visit usbg.gov.


The National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Ave., NW) holds its annual Flower Mart on May 3-4 at 10 a.m. The festival features annuals, perennials, landscape exhibits, Olmsted Woods and garden tours, musical entertainment, gourmet food, a book sale and activities for children. The festival also includes at least 50 booths with gardening items, handbags and jewelry. Floral designers and embassies will design beautiful floral arrangements. For more information, visit cathedral.org.

Ladew Gardens ( 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, Md.) presents its Garden Festival on May 4 beginning at 8 a.m. with priority preview and lecture with Allan Armitage, a famous horticulturalist. This includes chances to shop first at the different venders and a continental breakfast. Tickets to these particular event costs $75-$100. At 10 a.m. general admission sales begins which includes admission to the festival as well as different tours. Admission to this is $15-$45. Visit ladewgardens.com for more information.

The Green Spring Garden (4603 Green Spring Rd, Alexandria Va.) hosts its Spring Garden Day on May 18 at 9 a.m. The even features 40 vendors of rare and unusual plants. For more information, visit fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring.

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