The half-acre Ripley garden is situated between the Arts & Industries Building and the Hirschhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden on a site that was originally targeted for use as a parking lot. Architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen created a curvilinear design featuring raised planting beds that provide a sense of enclosure and a welcome respite from the crowds that fill the National Mall. Mary Livingston Ripley was the instigating force behind the creation of the garden, constructed in 1978 and subsequently named after her in 1988.
I relied exclusively on my light-weight point-and-click camera on this trip so many of my photos aren't as sharp as I'd like but I hope they give you a feel for the space. I followed a roughly counter-clockwise path through the twists and turns in this garden, although I jumped around a bit when something grabbed my eye so I can't claim that my photos flow in precisely the same fashion as the garden.
|Allium, Echinacea, Nepeta, Santolina rosmarinifolia, and Verbena bonariensis were repeated at intervals in this section. Neither Alliums nor Echinacea do this well for me but they're common in SoCal.|
|I thought the coral Phygelius here nicely echoed the color of the flowers in the distance|
The center of the Ripley garden is occupied by a large fountain and an even larger circular planter.
|This was described as an antique Acanthus Fountain constructed of cast iron sometime between 1850 and 1900|
|Here's another Yucca rostrata! The other interesting plant in this bed is Solanum quitoense, which I've been tempted to try growing in my own garden. Its good-sized leaves have velvety purple hairs and purple thorns. It fruits too, although summers in my area may be too hot to support production.|
|This is the same bed, photographed from the other side|
Beyond the fountain, the path narrows and directs the visitor to the left along a curving path toward an exit in the back.
|This photo shows how the garden wends a winding path to another street on its far end|
At this point, I moved back in the direction of the front of the garden.
|This meadow-like space with an ample planting of pink yarrow also included a bug hotel|
|This photo shows the middle of the garden as I approached it from the back section|
|Soft yellows and lavenders punctuated many of the planting vignettes in the Ripley garden|
|A subdued but effective plant combination for a shady location. I'm not sure what that chartreuse shrub is but it provides just the right degree of contrast|
|Asarum splendens makes a great ground cover. Regrettably, I've not a chance of growing that.|
|This combination with the hosta and hydrangea is beyond my reach as well. I've tried planting Lonicera nitida, which I think is the plant hanging down over the planter's edge on the left, but it's remained puny in my garden.|
I certainly can't grow everything I saw in this garden but there was a surprising amount of plant material that is or could be perfectly happy in my area of Southern California. I loved the exuberant mix of plants I saw in the Ripley garden and it has me looking at my own plant combinations from new angles. And isn't that exactly the purpose of a garden tour?
|In closing, here are some close-ups of some especially pretty flowers, clockwise from the upper left: Lilium asiatica 'Soiree', Jacobinia chrysosthephana, Echinacea 'Leilani', and noID Aurelian lily|
There are many more Garden Bloggers' Fling posts to come as I slowly wade through the 900 photos I took. Stay tuned!
All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party