Spring - if not summer - is here, and I cannot imagine a better time to visit the gardens. But as the days go from hot to hotter, make sure you plan on arriving early. Be warned, fair-weather Californians aren't the only ones who shy away from sweltering days in the sun; the lilies will close once things get too hot. In addition to being more temperate, early morning strolls at the gardens are quiet and peaceful... and often solitary. J and I arrived for the 9am ranger tour and ended up with a 1-hour private tour of the grounds with a knowledgeable and engaging host. Once again, I feel obliged to point out what an underutilized resource National Park rangers are.
Spring is also that time when the lilies are in bloom and when newborns are discovering the world. From 6 week old Canadian geese...
to nickel-sized turtles sunbathing on lily pads.
But as we were reminded on our tour, the gardens are more than the lilies. Don't forget to take in the beautiful wildflowers and local vegetation.
And perhaps the best surprise of all... a swamp with very few mosquitoes! According to our ranger, there are enough predators to keep the blood-sucking pests away so that your only encounters with insects are in the form of butterflies and dragonflies.
Just another hidden part of our city that makes it so much fun to explore... the quintessential diamond in the rough.
I'm glad we woke up early to see the gardens in their sleepy state before the blazing sun imposed its wrath. As our personal tour guide explained, the gardens change so much throughout the day and throughout the year that no two visits are the same. There are countless ways to enjoy the gardens: with your dog (on a leash), via canoe, or with a picnic lunch as bloggers I Flip for Food demonstrated this past weekend.
Anacostia may not be Giverny, but it sure is a whole lot easier to get to!