The Landscape Architect’s Guide to

Washington, D.C.

Anacostia / Deanwood / Mahaning Heights

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

The Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens are a tranquil oasis located on the Anacostia River in northeast Washington D.C. The distinctive 8-acre gardens were established post-Civil War on marshy lands purchased by war veteran Walter Shaw. As a hobby, he conducted extensive research on the cultivation of water lilies and eventually started a business showcasing and selling the hybrids he created. After barely averting a dredging plan in 1938, the gardens became part of the National Park Service and have remained relatively unchanged. 

Today, the gardens and adjacent marshes are home to a large variety of rare and native water plants, are a spectacular attraction for the city, and continue to contribute to the botanical research of water plants. 

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