The Most Beautiful Public Gardens in the United States
Conservatory and Rose Garden at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden | Courtesy of Lew Ginter Botanical Garden, photo credit: Don Williamson
Fortunately, for those not granted with a green thumb, many of the United States’ most beautiful gardens are open to the public. Explore larger-than-life flower fests, Victorian conservatories, and canopy walks at these 10 gorgeous gardens.
United States Botanic Garden
Courtesy of U.S. Botanic Garden
Established nearly two centuries ago in 1820, the United States Botanic Garden is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the country. Grounded in Washington, D.C., just a stone’s throw from the Capitol, the garden comprises roughly 65,000 plants, including species which date back to the 19th century. Happily, for history (and horticulture!) buffs, the garden boasts free admission.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Lakeside Avenue | Courtesy of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, credit: Don Williamson
Elegance abounds at this Richmond, Virginia garden, where Southern charm is always in bloom. Comprising a classical domed conservatory, more than a dozen themed gardens, and an annual wintertime display featuring over half a million lights, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden makes every day feel like a special occasion.
Amongst New York City’s iconic skyscrapers and urban scenes lies the 250-acre oasis, New York Botanical Garden. A National Historic Landmark, the garden boasts a 1902-era conservatory and century-old conifers in addition to timeless touches, such as a winter train show and a rose garden featuring more than 650 rose varieties.
It should come as no surprise that one of the most stunning gardens in North America lies in sultry South Florida. Making the most of its hot habitat, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables cultivates a year-round collection of outdoor offerings, including a butterfly conservatory featuring close to 3,000 exotic butterflies and an assortment of rare fruit species, such as mangosteens and cacao. Occupying 83 acres, Fairchild provides visitors with the sights of summer year-round.
Home to the United States’ largest permanent display of orchid species, Atlanta Botanical Garden is a must-visit for fans of the famous flower. Offering plenty more to see, this Georgian gem boasts a 600-foot-long (182.8 meters) canopy walk, where horticulture enthusiasts are granted a bird’s-eye view of azaleas, hydrangeas, perennials, and more.
Working to promote the “enjoyment” of horticulture, Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden certainly succeeds. Larger-than-life installations—it is Texas, after all—are the main attraction here, where flower fests (the Southwest’s biggest) feature over 500,000 blooms, and a seasonal pumpkin patch packs in more than 50,000 pumpkins and gourds.
Founded by the Polish-born opera singer, socialite, and fine jewelry fan Ganna Walska, the 37-acre Lotusland brings a touch of magic to Montecito. Boasting a collection as multifaceted as its founder, Lotusland is home to more than 170 types of aloe, a “blue garden” showcasing only blue-gray foliage, a shady palm garden, and during the summer, a stunning selection of lotus flowers. Tip: be sure to call ahead when visiting this grand garden, which is open to the public by reservation only.
Courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden, credit: Adam Rodriguez
Think gardens and deserts don’t mix? The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona boasts a collection so stunning that you won’t mind being proven wrong. Here, 145 acres are devoted solely to desert plants—over 50,000 of them, to be exact. An annual butterfly exhibit, wildflower blooms, and a curious cacti collection infuse arid Arizona with life.
Why has one public park in Columbus, Ohio attracted visitors from around the country? Not your average city square, the Topiary Park boasts a garden so unique that it may very well be the only one of its kind. Modeled after Post-Impressionist painter Georges Seurat’s 1884 creation A Sunday on La Grand Jatte, the topiary garden is the world’s “only known topiary interpretation of a painting,” comprising 54 human figures, eight boats, and five animals, all made of yew.
Courtesy of Roman Johnston, Portland Japanese Garden
Thanks to this Oregon garden, serenity seekers no longer have to travel to Asia to experience an authentic Japanese garden. At Portland Japanese Garden, Buddhist, Taoist, and Shinto philosophies are all evident in the harmonious stone, water, and plant paradise. Welcoming more than 350,000 guests each year, the garden, with its bridges, pavilion, and authentic teahouse, is one of Oregon’s top tourist destinations.