Botanical gardens are great places to visit for several reasons: You can collect your thoughts while strolling through the gardens; walking in nature relieves stress and picks up your spirits. You may also learn a few facts about flowers and plants that populate the gardens, so why not take some time out from your busy schedule for a garden stroll in paradise?
Learn about five botanical gardens in the United States that you need to visit!
Desert Botanical Garden (Arizona)
Founded in 1939, this garden is located in the Big Butte area of Papago Park in the Sonoran Desert. There are 141 acres of outdoor space where you can see more than 4,400 desert plant species — some 400 of which are rare, threatened, or endangered. Also, you can encounter some exciting desert wildlife: lizards, birds, and coyotes.
The main route, Desert Discovery Loop Trail, is 1/3 mile long and boasts an array of diverse succulents and cacti, including agave, the organ pipe cacti, and saguaros of the American Southwest.
With over 2,000 butterflies from the Southwest, the Butterfly Pavilion is a must-see if you like flutter and color. It’s a 3,200-square-foot open-air facility offering an education program on increasing garden pollinators. There are also tips on creating a butterfly garden on your patio deck or in your garden.
Wander through Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Loop Trail during the spring for colorful blooms, such as poppies, lupine, and owl clover, that attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.
Whether you’re drawn to desert plants, wildflowers, or colorful insects, put this desert botanical garden on your bucket list!
San Francisco Botanical Gardens
These lush gardens are situated on 55 acres of land in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The gardens have more than 50,000 plants from geographic regions of the world, including, but not limited to, Chile, the Mediterranean, New Zealand, South Africa, and Southeast Asia.
The gardens have themes, so it’s easy for you to select an area to explore based on your interests. If you prefer viewing plants that thrive in cooler climates, the Cloud Forest collections are a must-see. Plants are native to Central and South America and grow in high altitudes in those areas.
San Francisco’s summer fog and cool, moist winters help these plants thrive. You can see ferns, mosses, and epiphytes. Try walking through the forest collections and relish being in a rainforest shrouded in greenery. You can immerse yourself amongst the towering Andean wax palms or beautiful flowers, including fuchsias, angel’s trumpet, and Chilean bellflowers. The best time to visit the Andean Cloud Forest is September and October.
But that’s only one garden on display! There are many more to explore, including Ancient Plant Garden, the Succulent Garden, and the Japanese Moon-Viewing Garden.
Chicago Botanic Gardens
The Chicago Botanic Garden is massive and covers 385 acres of land. It houses 2.8 million living plants. Here, you can explore many well-manicured gardens or choose the more natural wooded areas off the beaten path.
The Graham Bulb Garden is home to colorful tulips, onions, lilies, and bell-shaped purple fritillaries. These bulbs are in raised areas for easy viewing. Be sure to visit in early spring to fall to get the most out of these vibrant blooms.
Explore the wild side of the gardens by visiting the Dixon Prairie. Nicknamed “the prairie state,” Illinois was covered in windy prairie land in the 1800s. In these six gardens, you’ll get a feel of what the landscape was back then.
The garden sits on a small 15-acre site and is worth visiting because of the more than 250 native plants surrounded by water. Sights to see include thistle nectar, bluestem grass, and lavender blooms of bergamot. No wonder painted lady butterflies and eastern kingbirds call this place home.
Other highlights of the gardens include the Bonsai Collection, the Circle Garden, the English Walled Garden, and the Native Plant Garden — a pollinator area for native bees and butterflies.
With so many gardens to choose from populated amongst vast acreage, you would need days to explore all that Chicago Botanic Gardens has to offer, but it’s well worth your time.
New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden, established in 1891, has 250 acres of land. It boasts 50 specialty gardens that, together, are home to more than 1 million plants.
Enjoy the wintery landscape of the Arthur and Janet Ross Conifer Arboretum, which is a special place to visit, as the oldest evergreens were first planted in the early 1900s. It is one of the oldest garden collections in the botanic garden. There are more than 250 pines, spruces, and firs from the American west, Japan, and Alaska’s boreal forests.
The Ladies’ Border is a garden that contains plants not normally grown in New York. Some rarities on display include Japanese apricot, Peruvian lilies, and South African bulbs.
Other noteworthy collections at the NYBG include the Perennial Garden and the Native Plant Garden.
Atlanta Botanical Garden
This small yet beautiful botanical garden started in 1976 and sits on 30 acres of land.
One of the highlights of the Atlanta Botanical Garden includes the Fuqua Orchid Center. These two display centers opened in 2002; they showcase Asian slipper orchids, moth orchids, and Euglossine orchids. The center also houses carnivorous plants like Nepenthes and Heliamphora.
Not to be missed is the splendid camellia collection in the Southern Seasons Garden. Visit from fall to late spring to catch these vibrant blooms. If you prefer blue, pink, or white shade-loving hydrangeas, they are also in the Southern Seasons Garden and bloom in June.
Botanical Gardens for the Heart and Soul
Whether you prefer manicured gardens with accessible paths, strolling through a rainforest, or simply exploring the wilder side of untamed landscapes, these three botanical gardens have it all! They are great escapes from the bustle of city life, relieve stress, and are good for the mind, body, and spirit.
Will you visit one of these botanical gardens in the United States? Feel free to leave any tips or tricks in the comment field.