Despite its location in the heart of northern Virginian suburbs, few know about this wonderful garden oasis.
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens is part botanical garden, part sculpture garden (there are a number of striking sculptures around the grounds, part arboretum.
There are pretty little ponds with lotuses and waterlillies, and other water plants growing in and around them.
There's the elegant Korean Memorial.
There are numerous quaint garden rooms and nooks to hang out in for a while, to enjoy the peaceful serenity of this suburban oasis.
There are mysterious ruins, reminding us that this used to be a working farm!
There's a giant green frog.
There's even a log cabin.
Have I mentioned that Meadowlark is kid-friendly? There's a fairy garden.
There's also a special little interactive garden, just for them. But frankly, we saw kids having way more fun exploring the rest of the gardens!
Back when Vienna used to be rural farmland, Dr. Gardiner Means and Dr. Caroline Ware landed in Washington DC as part of Franklin D Roosevelt's New Deal Administration purchased land, some 75 acres of Virginia's rolling Piedmont countryside, and farmed it, falling in love with it over the years.
By the 1970s, suburbia began surrounding their farm, where they raised sheep dogs and wheat, and planted their flower gardens. That was when the couple began thinking their farm would be a good public park.
They gave their farm to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) in 1980; NVRPA added a contiguous 21-acre parcel and started planning a public garden.
The result is Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. A beautiful suburban oasis filled with blooms, butterflies and bees and birds.
You’ll find different sculptures around the garden and concentrated near the beginning of the Native Tree Trail.
As with most botanical gardens, there's something different each month.
- March & April- Daffodils, Bulbs, Tulips, Magnolias, Flowering Cherries, Potomac Valley Native Wildflowers, Rock Garden, Conifers Collection, Lenten Rose.
- May- Scillas, Azaleas, Rhododendron, Dogwoods, Lilacs, Siberian Irises, Bradford Pears, Flowering Plums, Butterfly Garden, Crab Apples, White Garden, Tulips, Potomac Valley Native Wildflowers, Peonies, Alliums and Flowering shrubs.
- June- Hosta Garden, Hydrangeas, Herb Garden, Daylilies, Wildflower Meadow, White Garden, Butterfly Garden, Native and Non-Native ferns, Alliums, Perennials.
- July & August- Hosta Garden, Herb Garden, Perennial Garden, Butterfly Garden, White Garden, Bold Garden, Salvia Collection, Hydrangeas, Container Plantings, Crepe Myrtles, Ferns & Fern Allies, Annual Plantings, Aquatic Plants, Grasses.
- September- Hosta Garden, Herb Garden, Ferns, Butterfly Garden, Container Plantings, Grasses, Chrysanthemums, Annuals, Salvia, Early Fall Color, Cancer Garden.
- October- Chrysanthemums, Grasses, Conifers, Pansies, Perennials, Virginia Native Trees, Fruits on Native and Ornamental Trees & Shrubs, Salvias, Fall Color Peak.
- November thru February- Conifer Garden, Hollies, Grasses, Lenten Roses, Indoor Plantings, Red Twig & Yellow Twig Dogwood, Heaths, Nandinas.
Hours: The gardens usually open at 10 a.m. Closing times vary by the season. Please check the website for more details.