N° 183 — January 24, 2024

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

Getting Ready for the Garden Fair

The annual spring Garden Fair & Plant Sale may not be until April, but we have already begun preparing for the event. In early January, our volunteer Garden Fair Committee attended the Mid Atlantic Nursery Trade Show in Baltimore, MD. Committee members collected hundreds of plants that were donated from nurseries in attendance. The plants will be included in the Garden Fair & Plant Sale on Saturday, April 27th.

We are grateful for plant donations from Adcocks Nursery, Foxborough Nursery, Hawksridge Farms, Manor View Farm, Monrovia, Pender Nursery, Piedmont Carolina, Pleasant Run Nursery, Rare Tree Nursery, and Youngblood Nursery. Huge thanks to Terry MacFarlane and his team for helping transport these plants back to the Arboretum!

Photo by Marie Joabar

The Garden Fair is a major fundraiser for FONA. These donated plants go a long way to helping us raise money to support our work at the National Arboretum.

More Garden Fair information is coming soon. Remember, FONA members get exclusive early access at the beginning of the plant sale.

Join or Renew Your FONA Membership to Gain Early Access to the Garden Fair >

Award-Winning Venue

For the third year in a row, the National Arboretum was named a "Best of Weddings" award winner by The Knot. This award is given to the top wedding vendors in the United States, and is based on reviews and ratings from couples, families, and wedding guests.

Top photo by Plume Photography, bottom by Photography by Brea.

But weddings aren't the only thing you can host at the Arboretum. You can also host a picnic for your company or big celebration! There are many options whether you want an intimate affair with 50 or so people, or want to host a larger event for over 1,000 people.

Read the Ultimate Guide to Hosting a Picnic at the Arboretum >

Weddings and other private events at the National Arboretum are run by FONA in partnership with MTG Hospitality. A number of 2024 dates are still available, and 2025 dates will be opening soon.

Request Information About Available Dates >

Plant Spotlight

Many pine trees are treasured for their texture and shape, but few are as lovely as the lacebark pine with its beautiful mottled bark. Pinus bungeana grows slowly and it takes around a decade before its bark starts exfoliating, but once it becomes well-established, the bark becomes a collage of whites, purples, greens, and grays. The population at the Arboretum has mostly been collected from China during various expeditions. Though there aren’t many mature lacebark pines on the grounds, several young trees have been recently planted in the Gotelli Conifer Collection and Introduction Garden. The beloved multi-trunked tree in the Morrison Garden courtyard was recently removed due to damage from ice storms, but more mature plants grow in the Asian Collections.

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.

Photos by the U.S. National Arboretum.

Photo by Urban Adventure Squad

Summer Camp Sign-Up

Urban Adventure Squad's outdoor learning programs return to Washington Youth Garden this August. Two different, week-long summer programs are available to rising 2nd through 8th graders, where they can explore local ecosystem interactions:

  • August 5-9: "Planting Seeds of Action in Your Urban Ecosystem"
  • August 12-16: "Artists Take Action: Protecting Your Urban Ecosystem"

Urban Adventure Squad takes participants on field investigations through the Arboretum and uses art and design projects to connect them to nature.

Registration opens this Thursday, January 25th at 8 PM. Registration is $435 per week, and scholarship rates and sibling discounts are available. Sign up soon! Space is limited.

Program Information & Registration >

Photo by Urban Adventure Squad

Upcoming Events

Native Plant Sale

Saturday, March 23

Local native plant vendors

Save the date — details to come

37th Annual Lahr Native Plant Symposium

Saturday, March 23

Native plant symposium hosted by the National Arboretum

Save the date — details to come

Spring into School Gardening

Saturday, March 23

Free resources for educators, in WYG

Save the date — details to come

Flowering 5K

Sunday, March 24

Run or walk through collections in bloom

(Members use your discount code)

Details & Registration >

Garden Fair & Plant Sale

Saturday, April 27

Plants, vendors, and activities

Save the date — details to come

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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