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Brookside Gardens (Image: Paul Shapin)
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Wash away your winter blues with some colorful blooms

The end of winter is in sight, but it can't seem to get here fast enough! If you are over the gray skies, bare trees, and cold days, you might need a little dose of colorful blossoms.

Here are some places in the DMV and beyond where you can see bright blossoms before April showers bring May flowers.

Hillwood Estate Museums & Gardens

After those horrific winds toppled trees and snapped wires, I needed a little spring and plenty of sunshine. So I headed to Hillwood Estate & Gardens, once the home of Marjorie Merriweather Post to check out the greenhouses. Set on 25 acres adjacent to Rock Creek Park, Post had the greenhouses constructed to house her extensive collection of exotic orchids. Orchids were Post’s favorite, and today they certainly are the super stars in the greenhouse along with tropical plants that act as a lush backdrop for these delicate beauties. There are over 2,000 orchids and over 200 varieties in purples, whites, magentas, oranges, and maroons. You don’t have to worry about frizzy hair in this greenhouse - orchids like temperatures in the 50’s without humidity.

U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG)

Located on the National Mall, the Conservatory was constructed by the Architect of the Capitol in 1933. It contains 10 garden rooms under glass, totaling 28,944 square feet of growing space. The USBG is home to almost 10,000 living specimens, some over 165 years old. In 2001, the Conservatory re-opened after a four-year renovation and while it was completely rebuilt using 21st century building standards, the exterior remains unchanged from its 1933 appearance The U.S. Botanic Garden’s mission is to demonstrate the aesthetic, cultural, economic, therapeutic and ecological importance of plants to our well-being. Today this is more important than ever considering how our environment is being challenged. And in case you’re taking visitors, here is a little tidbit - it’s the most visited public gardens in the United States, with 1.2 million visits annually.

A treat for your senses, you’ll now see these blooms - yellow Iris, scarlet Hibiscus, African tulip tree, and Canary Bird. Until April 8, there is the Orchid Spectrum -- come see thousands of amazing orchid blooms arranged in appealing displays. Since you’ll be going through multiple climates, sorry no guarantees on hair.

Brookside Gardens

This 50-acre property in Montgomery County is composed of multiple elaborately designed gardens and two conservatories. The conservatories have a tropical plant collection and seasonal plant displays. There is a small waterfall that plants frame and it provides a serene setting. Find a bench and enjoy the quiet of the garden. Starting April 18 through September 16, the South Conservatory is featuring a live butterfly exhibit with specimens from North America, Costa Rica, Africa and Asia. (Special fees apply)

Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens of Baltimore

Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens of Baltimore, better known as the Baltimore Conservatory, is a historic conservatory and botanical garden located in Druid Hill Park. Wander into the Mediterranean greenhouse where it replicates the dry summers and foggy winters of the Mediterranean basin and southern California and see geraniums, bay trees, and rosemary. The Tropical Forest greenhouse displays very tall trees, orchids and bromeliads. There is also an Orchid Room where the orchids are usually displayed only during their blooming period. At the conservatory you are certain to always see something blooming.

Macy’s Flower Show

If you happen to be around New York’s 34th street or getting off one of the express buses to the city, stop by Macy’s to see their magnificent flower show. It’s well worth it. I did it a few years ago and it blew me away. It’s always over the top--an extravaganza of colors and one-of-a-kind magnificent blossoms. Using millions of live flowers, plants and trees, this year Macy’s Flower Show promises to take you into a world of magic, imagination, wonder. This year Macy’s presents Once Upon Springtime. The store will be transformed into enchanted gardens where there will be princesses, evil queens, fairy godmothers and noble knights that lead you through a journey. The flowers will be on display from March 25 through April 8.

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