Botanical Garden Secrets

Discover the hidden treasures from unique and lesser known American arboretums and gardens.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Alaska Botanical Garden

Photo By: Image courtesy of Alaska Botanical Garden

Photo By: Image courtesy of Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art

Photo By: Image courtesy of Dubuque Arboretum; photo by Ronald Tigges, Digital Dubuque

Photo By: Image courtesy of Dubuque Arboretum, www.dubuquearboretum.com, photo by Ronald Tigges, Digital Dubuque

Photo By: Image courtesy of Fort Worth Botanic Garden

Photo By: Image courtesy of Fort Worth Botanic Garden

Photo By: Image courtesy of Garfield Park Conservatory

Photo By: Image courtesy of Idaho Botanical Garden

Photo By: Image courtesy of Idaho Botanical Garden

Photo By: Image courtesy of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, photo by Don Williamson

Photo By: Image courtesy of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, photo by Don Williamson

Photo By: Image courtesy of Memphis Botanic Garden

Photo By: Image courtesy of Memphis Botanic Garden, photo by MKX Photography

Photo By: Image courtesy of South Coast Botanic Garden, photo by Jeannie Mutrais

Photo By: Image courtesy of Tohono Chul Gardens, photo by Josh Schacter

Photo By: Image courtesy of Tohono Chul Gardens, photo by Larry Parkhurst

Photo By: Image courtesy of Tohono Chul Gardens, photo by Larry Parkhurst

Photo By: Image courtesy of University of California, Riverside Botanic Garden

Photo By: Image courtesy of University of California, Riverside Botanic Garden

Photo By: Image courtesy of University of California, Riverside Botanic Garden

Photo By: Image courtesy of University of California, Riverside Botanic Garden

Suitable for Framing

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. 

Butterfly Panorama

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. 

Bamboo Immersion

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.

Wisteria Hideaway

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. 

Autumn Rhapsody

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. 

Cascading Waters

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.

Winter Glow

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. 

Azalea Grove

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.

Zen Zone

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. 

Art Smart

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. 

Sensory Garden

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.

Equestrian Epiphany

Made of recycled materials by Kenyan artist Kioko Mwitiki, the “Horse” is the main attraction of the Cactus Circle at Tohono Chul Gardens.

Desert Muse

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.

Alstroemeria Heaven

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.

Xerophyte Showcase

Feast your eyes on a spectacular array of xerophytes (low-water plants) in UCR Botanic Gardens’ Our Deserts of the Southwest section.

Exotic Bark

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.