The cottage was the first building on the property, and was once an assylum for old and disabled veterans (the Mexican War), then became more of a retirement home with additional buildings and dormitories constructed, most now over 100 years old. The funding for this first veteran's home mostly came from veterans themselves - not the federal government.
The cottage was a Camp David of the time, and Lincoln and Mary Todd were the first president and first lady to use it. Both wrote they liked the mountaintop retreat to get away from politicians, lobbyists, and the Washington summer heat.
Although not a well-known attraction for visitors, I was impressed at the history of the building. Equally impressive were some of the plants around the grounds - especially the large specimen trees that probably date back close to the property's origins.
The Beauty Berry (Callicarpa americicana) can get up to 9-feet high (1 m). This one was probably 10-feet.
Instant hydrangeas were unnaturally packed into the circle near the entry walk in an area probably reserved for annuals. But someone forgot to take responsibility for watering them. Has anyone heard of hydrangeas being used for landscape mass plantings as bedding plants? What a shame.
For scale, a 6-foot high friend stands before a 50-foot high holly (15 m). I know not what type. American hollies do not grow that large to my knowledge. The white stone circular structure is an old water tower.
Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) native to China, and a 'critically endangered' species. Although fossil records were known, it was not 'discovered' living until the 1940's. Turns out that it is deciduous!
About 50-feet in height (15m) this one did not look happy and healthy. One of the older buildings is being renovated, and this tree falls just inside the construction area as delineated by the fence. I am sure soil compaction by construction materials and damage to trunk and lower branches by construction is helping it grow better, right?
Hope you enjoyed a trip through a different type of 'cottage' garden.