New York Botanical Garden, Missouri Botanical Garden, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park also winners
Botanical gardens study, protect, exhibit and teach about plants. The best gardens boast extensive collections and stunning presentations, making them must-visits in their respective cities.
Desert Botanical Garden Phoenix
Phoenix's Desert Botanical Garden is considered one of the best collections of arid-land plants on the planet. The collection of some 50,000 flora come from desert climates around the world and are displayed along five themed trails, including the Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Trail -- a fascinating look at how humans have adapted to a desert environment. Photo courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden
The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens seek to preserve and display the natural landscapes of the region on its 270-acre grounds on the shorefront of mid-coast Maine. The gardens feature granite stone pathways winding amid rustic woodland, whimsical statuary and manicured and themed gardens, like the interactive Lerner Garden of the Five Senses. Photo courtesy of InAweofGod'sCreation / Flickr
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Grand Rapids, Mich.
The 158-acre Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015. The botanical and sculptural collections are divided among five themed indoor gardens, as well as several outdoor gardens, nature trails and a boardwalk. The five-floor Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory is the largest tropical conservatory in the state. Photo courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Richmond, Va.
More than a dozen themed gardens on 50 acres provide year-round beauty at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond. Outstanding features include a classic domed Conservatory with ever-changing colorful orchids and tropical plants and a Children’s Garden with wheelchair accessible Tree House. Photo courtesy of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Missouri Botanical Garden St. Louis
Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is the nation's oldest botanical garden in continuous operation and a registered National Historic Landmark. Its 79 acres of garden spaces include a 14-acre Japanese strolling garden, one of the world's most extensive collections of rare and endangered orchids and a scented garden for the visually impaired. Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Missouri Botanical Garden, Ian Adams
More than a million visitors stroll the exquisite grounds of Longwood Gardens each year, and it's easy to see why. Indoor spaces, like the tropical Conservatory and the Orchid House with its 500 fragrant plants, offer a slice of spring throughout the year and always have something blooming. The Flower Garden Walk, a springtime favorite, takes visitors through Longwood's first (and very colorful) flower garden. Photo courtesy of J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA
Based on 10Best reader votes, these are the 10 Best Botanical Gardens in the nation:
Lucinda A. Brockway is the Program Director for Cultural Resources at The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees), the nation’s first land preservation nonprofit and Massachusetts’ largest land conservation and preservation organization. A landscape designer for 25 years before joining The Trustees, Brockway graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a BS in Plant Science before training at Longwood Gardens and the Chicago Botanical Garden. An award-winning landscape designer and preservationist, Brockway served a national clientele and managed several projects for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Her work has been featured in Old House Journal, Victoria Magazine, Colonial Homes, Nineteenth Century and Accent as well as numerous professional and trade publications. Her work has been recognized by the Garden Club of America, the American Society of Landscape Architects, Preservation League of New York State, the State of New Jersey, the Massachusetts Historic Commission and others. She is the author of two books, A Favorite Place of Resort for Strangers (Fort Ticonderoga 2001), and Gardens of the New Republic (May 2004). A popular lecturer, Brockway is also an instructor for the National Preservation Institute where she teaches short courses in landscape preservation. In her role at The Trustees, Brockway is responsible for eleven public gardens from Martha’s Vineyard to the Berkshire Hills, including Naumkeag in Stockbridge; Ashintully in Tyringham; Castle Hill on the Crane Estate in Ipswich; Long Hill in Beverly; Stevens Coolidge Place in Andover; the Bradley Estate in Canton; and MyToi on Martha’s Vineyard.
Abby Hird is Program Director for Botanic Gardens Conservation International-U.S. With an office based in southern California, Abby works with garden partners throughout North America to provide information and tools to increase the conservation capacity of living collections and use of collections to grow, study and promote threatened plants. Abby facilitates public garden plant conservation efforts by improving BGCI's globally unique PlantSearch and GardenSearch databases, as well as tools such as the “Care for the Rare” threatened plant interpretation resources. Prior to joining BGCI-US, Abby completed the Longwood Graduate Program at Longwood Gardens and the University of Delaware, and worked as a Putnam Research Fellow at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. Abby's office is based in southern California. She currently serves on the Board of the Magnolia Society International, recruits for the American Public Gardens Association’s Plant Collections Network, and facilitates Earthwatch Expeditions.
Katy Moss Warner
Katy Moss Warner is currently President Emeritus of the American Horticultural Society (AHS), a national, not-for-profit, member-based organization with a bold vision of “making America a nation of gardeners, a land of gardens.” Katy is also actively involved with America in Bloom (AIB), a national not-for-profit organization that promotes nationwide beautification through community involvement.
Katy has traveled extensively hosting garden travel study programs for the American Horticultural Society in Italy, France, England, Belgium, Czech Republic, Argentina, Morocco, Spain, New Zealand as well as many destinations within the USA.
Katy has been featured in numerous books, newspaper and magazine articles. She co-authored the book “The Gardens of Walt Disney World Resort.” She is often asked to deliver presentations on various topics including the importance of quality landscapes to the vitality of communities, garden tourism and the power of flowers.