A long overdue trip to see the outstanding George Bellows show at the National Gallery of Art http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/bellowsinfo.shtm also reminded me of how gardens enhance any outing.

Washington, D.C. has abundant public parks and planters everywhere. On this trip we happened upon a memorial I’d never seen before, one to those fallen in law enforcement. Simplicity and elegance of design featured a reflecting pool flanked by curved sidewalks and allées of linden trees.

Chrysanthemums, the omnipresent sign of autumn, filled many beds around street trees, while summer flowers, like hardy vinca, still flourished in massive containers used for security in Washington. I do love it that plants have become a part of homeland security.

Before going to the Bellows show, we tried to have lunch at our perennial favorite, the Pavilion Café, overlooking the reflecting pool and fountain at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. http://www.nga.gov/feature/sculpturegarden/general/index.shtm. The popular National Book Festival sent crowds pouring into the restaurant, so we walked the gardens admiring sculpture, design and plantings, which included white Japanese anemones and native black-eyed Susans. How I wish I could find a place in our garden anemones like.

I wish Baltimore had a courtyard garden as compelling as the one inside the National Gallery. It always makes me want to sit and read. Blue delphiniums, tough to grow in Washington heat and humidity, thrived inside along with fragrant pink-blooming abelia, dwarf nandina and ferns. Hostas there were also not eaten by roaming deer, the way ours right near Cold Spring Lane had been munched this summer.

While people and landscape, more than individual plants, were subjects of George Bellows, New York parks and Maine coasts were dynamically captured in his paintings. Their images played a slideshow in my mind as walked past more “security” plantings en route to the Metro.