Botanical Garden Secrets
Discover the hidden treasures from unique and lesser known American arboretums and gardens.
Photo By: Image courtesy of Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
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Color is big and bold at the Alaska Botanical Garden with stunning displays of monarda, ligularia, delphinium, thalictrum and eryngium during the brief growing season.
Red for Riveting
During mid-summer at the Alaska Botanical Garden, local artists fill the landscape with their original creations which accent nature’s beauty.
Situated in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks is a favorite destination for its nine themed gardens and the Klingaman Arboretum but one of its “best kept secrets” is the stunning butterfly house which is aflutter with pollinators during “Butterfly Days” every fall.
The name Nashville evokes images of country-western legends and the Grand Ole Opry but it is also home to Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art which is well known among the locals for 55 stunning acres of boxwoods, perennials, a sculpture trail, water features and other themed sections. One of the most alluring attractions is Shomu-en, the Japanese garden which includes a walk through a dark bamboo forest.
Landscape of Tranquility
Shomu-en, the pine-mist garden at Cheekwood Botanical Garden, is the ideal place to escape the outside world and immerse yourself in nature. Divided into four sections, the Japanese garden includes raked gravel paths, grassy courtyards, granite islands and a pavilion with views of the surroundings.
The sprawling grounds of Cheekwood Botanical Garden offer something for everyone and, for those who enjoy exploring hidden nooks and crannies, this private oasis under a wisteria arbor is the perfect place to escape the heat of summer.
Spectacular colors dominate the annuals garden at the Dubuque Arboretum during the fall season. Although there are more than 60 different gardens on display including rose, herb and English gardens, a trip to the annuals garden in autumn is a rare and unforgettable treat.
A Masterpiece in the Making
For almost two decades, the Japanese garden at Dubuque Arboretum has been evolving and growing. Under the guidance of designer Hoichi Kurisu, this serene green space now includes ponds stocked with koi, cascading streams, evergreen trees and shrubs, stone lanterns and a stone tower to create a calming and harmonious atmosphere.
Red Maple Fantasia
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden has its share of scenic attractions such as the Lower Rose Garden which is inspired by Italy’s renowned Villa Lante but most visitors feel the hidden jewel is the Japanese Garden. An ideal time to visit is in the fall when the red maples are at their peak.
The Japanese garden at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden features idyllic landscapes of cascading streams, ponds, ornamental grasses, bamboo and serpentine paths to lure you into its exotic beauty.
A Subject for a Painter
Located in the west side neighborhood of Garfield Park, the Garfield Park Conservatory is definitely worth a detour if you’re visiting Chicago. Featuring a variety of themed gardens, the Monet garden is a true gem and is inspired by Impressionist painter Claude Monet’s world famous garden at Giverney, France.
Playground for Koi
You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy the Children’s Adventure Garden at the Idaho Botanical Garden. A carnivorous plant display, the “Boys on the Swing” fountain and a koi pond (featured here) are among the featured attractions.
While the spring, summer and fall seasons at botanical gardens are always peak times for visitors, the Idaho Botanical Garden is a popular destination in the winter as well, thanks to its Winter Garden Aglow festival where festive lights illuminate the landscape by night.
The Lace House, a 19th century hard-carved gazebo, offers a peaceful resting spot amid blooming azaleas in the southwestern corner of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia.
Dramatic color is one reason to visit the Asian Valley section of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Autumn where you can enjoy the tranquil pond setting surrounded by Japanese maples and other colorful vegetation.
Conveniently located near the Visitors Center at the Memphis Botanic Garden, the Sculpture Garden with its unique mixture of sculptural elements and outdoor space is one of the garden’s best-kept secrets.
Designed by Tom Pellet, the Sensory Garden at the Memphis Botanic Museum allows visitors with special needs to enjoy nature in a wheelchair-accessible area that is highlighted by wind chimes, fountains, a pergola entry and new plantings.
Weddings in Nature
Located in Palo Verdes, the South Coast Botanic Garden is home to 87 acres of more than 200,000 plants, a variety of themed gardens and areas ideal for private celebrations and weddings complete with gazebos and the splendor of nature.
Living Desert Courtyard
A sculpture of a regal horned lizard by Dave Stone blends into the surroundings of the Living Desert courtyard at Tohono Chul Gardens in Tucson, Arizona, one of the best-kept secrets of this southwestern oasis.
Made of recycled materials by Kenyan artist Kioko Mwitiki, the “Horse” is the main attraction of the Cactus Circle at Tohono Chul Gardens.
If you’re traveling through the Sonoran Desert region, make sure you make a stop at Tohono Chul Gardens to experience the natural beauty of the Arizona landscape, plants and vegetation. The cacti at sunset are particularly awe-inspiring along the Desert View Nature trail which is an area dedicated to preserving natural open space in an urban area.
Prickly Pear Festival
Fall at University of California’s Riverside Botanic Garden means it’s time to enjoy the prickly pears (Opuntia species) and semi-leafless California Buckeye trees along the trail from the rose gardens to the North Coast.
A field of Alstroemeria brings bright color to the grounds of the UCR Botanic Gardens, nestled in the foothills of the Box Springs Mountains on the east side of the University of California, Riverside Campus.
Feast your eyes on a spectacular array of xerophytes (low-water plants) in UCR Botanic Gardens’ Our Deserts of the Southwest section.
One of the best-kept secrets of the UCR Botanic Gardens is their Australian section which features an array of unique species such as this eucalyptus tree with its distinctive bark.