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Region II Regional Meeting

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Sustainable SITES and Washington Highlights

Four stops, three tours, 200 years in the making, and one outstanding GWA meeting to experience it all! From American University and its William McDonough “Cradle to Cradle” sustainability initiative past Frederick Law Olmsted’s iconic design of the Capitol grounds to Beatrix Farrand’s historic design for Dumbarton Oaks, registrants to this day’s meeting will get a view to gardening in the nation’s capital that few have experienced. Photographic vistas will unfold for untold numbers of story starters. Education includes speakers from the U.S. Botanic Garden Sustainable Sites and the American University Arboretum’s director. Tours of the Capitol grounds and the landscape at Dumbarton will be led by senior staff members from those institutions. Networking opportunities will abound. And at the close of the day, there is the inevitable “trunk show” of plants and stuff that only a Region II meeting can provide. Bring your significant other, spouse, gardening friend or children and plan to expand the meeting into a full patriotic celebration of an unforgettable Memorial Day.


7:30 to 8:30am: Registration and Gathering Coffee: SIS Building

8:30 to 10:30am: PDF American University

Join us for a tour of the new SIS building, a LEEDS Gold design from the office of William McDonough, author of “Cradle to Cradle.” The project is in final review for what might become the first international, three-star Sustainable SITES landscape. Learn about the bench marking studies, application process and hear about the student-initiated Sustainability Program that is attempting to reduce their carbon footprint to zero. We will also tour their 84 acre arboretum that began its 120 year life from a design envisioned by Frederick Law Olmstead, Sr.

11:30am to 2:30 pm: PDF The United States Capitol Grounds

We will gather at the U.S. Botanic Garden and tour of the historic grounds of the United States Capitol. The 270 acres were planned by Frederick Law Olmsted for what is recognized now as America’s Front Lawn. In contradiction to the initial city plan by Pierre L’Enfant, Andrew Ellicott redefined the eastern exposure as the front of the building. After the implementation of the Olmsted plan, the focus was inverted to a grand set of terraces, fountains, trees and staircases on the north, south and west of the building. In keeping with the day’s theme, we will review the sustainability-enhanced maintenance program that has the grand lawn treated with only organic fertilizers and the beds top-dressed with compost and leaf mold. We will include a passing visit to the bright colors and formal plantings of the historic Bartholdi Park between the USBG and the Capitol Grounds.

3:00 to 6:00pm: PDF Dumbarton Oaks

A founding member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Beatrix Farrand designed 50 acres of naturalistic pleasure garden in the heart of Georgetown for Robert and Mildred Bliss. Today, these acres are split between a woodland maintained by the National Park Service and those more formal garden rooms surrounding the house and museum managed by Harvard University. The gardens will remain open after our docent-led tour for those wishing to experience the spaces at their own pace. The museum of Byzantine and pre-Columbian masterpieces as well as the associated gift shop will close at 5:00 p.m.


*Cancellations must be received in writing on or before the due date.


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