N° 171 — November 1, 2023

Enjoy regular updates and insights from FONA, the U.S. National Arboretum, and our award-winning Washington Youth Garden.

Weekend Wrap-up

The Garlic Planting Party has taken many forms since its inaugural celebration 12 years ago. Yet it remains one our team's favorite ways to celebrate the Washington Youth Garden and the fabulous community which makes it special.

About 250 children, parents, and visitors joined us this past weekend for this annual event. Attendees helped us plant garlic that will be harvested next year and unearth sweet potatoes for donation to our partner schools. Families also enjoyed fall-inspired foods, freshly-harvested sugar cane, and other activities like herbal oracle readings.

We'd love to get your feedback so we can make this event even better next year. Please fill out our event survey if you attended last weekend's Garlic Planting Party.

Event Survey >

Peak Fall Colors

Leaves are reaching peak color this week at the National Arboretum. Stop by the Arboretum and see for yourself! Don't forget to visit the trees in the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. Seeing so many trees throughout the grounds change color is a sight to behold.

Use the Arboretum's mobile app for timely inspiration on what to explore, to look up trees, or to view a map of the grounds. Download the app for iOS or Android platforms.

Teen Volunteer Day

Need to complete community service hours for school? Want to meet other teens interested in gardening? Join us for our final Teen Volunteer Day of the season this Saturday, November 4th from 9 AM to noon in the Washington Youth Garden.

During the October Teen Volunteer Day, teens assisted with maintaining garden beds, harvesting tomatoes, and extracting red noodle bean seeds to save for next year. This weekend, volunteers will help prepare the garden for winter. Fill out our teen volunteer interest form and we will get back to you with more details.

Teen Volunteer Interest Form >

Fall 5K for the Whole Family

Did you know that kids race for free at our Fall 5K? Grab the whole family and join us as you run or walk the race on Sunday, November 12th at 9 AM. Registration is free for children 12 and under. Strollers are welcome. Since the course is closed to all cars, the race is safe and secure for participants of all ages.

Register for the Fall 5K >

Looking for other ways to participate in the 5K without racing? We are looking for volunteers to help hand out race materials, distribute water, and help direct racers.

Sign up for a Volunteer Position >

Plant Spotlight

The harsh winters of the late 1970s killed many camellias at the National Arboretum, but camellia ‘Lu Shan Snow’ (Camellia oleifera ‘Lu Shan Snow’) survived the low temperatures and is now the parent to new cold-tolerant hybrids. This parent original plant is over 70 years old and can be found in the Asian Collection along with its clones. It was named after the Lushan Botanic Garden, which donated the seed to the Glenn Dale Plant Introduction Station. ‘Lu Shan Snow’ is beautiful at any time of the year, with velvety cinnamon bark and glossy dark green leaves. The simple white flowers give off a sweet fragrance, so make sure to plant it where blooms can be enjoyed from a garden path or window. ‘Lu Shan Snow’ will grow into a small tree or large shrub that blooms in October through early November and benefits from the light shade of a mature canopy tree.

Kamala Codrington-White, an ORISE fellow at the National Arboretum, shares plants of note at the Arboretum in this new recurring segment. Find these plants on your next trip to the Arboretum this fall. Photo by the U.S. National Arboretum.

Upcoming Events

Fall 5K

November 12, 9 AM

Run or walk through stunning fall foliage (Members use your discount code)

Details & Registration >

Winter Festival

December 2, 10 AM - 4 PM

Holiday market and free family activities

Details & Registration >

Christmas Tree Sale

December 2, 10 AM - 4 PM

December 3, 10 AM - 4 PM

Purchase Christmas trees & holiday greenery

Details & Tree Pre-Order >

Volunteer in Washington Youth Garden

Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays

Opportunities for individuals, groups, & teens

Details & Registration >

Forest Bathing Walks

Various dates and times

Meditation and mindfulness

Upcoming Dates & Registration >

The Arboretum is open every day from 8 AM to 5 PM except December 25th.

Check Our Website for Full Details >

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Friends of the National Arboretum
3501 New York Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002
FONA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization with the mission to preserve and enhance a vibrant public space and support experiential programming that instills a love of plants, nature and the outdoors in all who visit, while promoting the overarching research and education mission of the U.S. National Arboretum.

Since its inception, FONA has helped support the Washington Youth Garden, Capitol Columns, Flowering Tree Walk, horticultural and research internships, restoration of Springhouse Run, and much more.

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