Readers Choice
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    Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

    Located in one of the only regions in the continental USA where tropical plants can be grown outdoors year round, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables seeks to conserve the natural diversity of Florida's flora with programs like the Million Orchid Campaign, all while offering visitors a uniquely Floridian garden experience.

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    Portland Japanese Garden
    Portland, Ore.

    While relatively small at only 5.5 acres, the Portland Japanese Garden is arguably the most authentic outside of Japan and one of Portland's most tranquil escapes. Divided into five smaller gardens, the space includes an authentic Japanese tea house, meandering walkways made from natural materials and an iconic Japanese maple that turns brilliant shades of orange and red in autumn.

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    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 75 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.

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    Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
    Boothbay, Maine

    The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens seek to preserve and display the natural landscapes of the region on the 250-acre grounds on the shorefront of mid-coast Maine. Open year round (and free during the winter months), 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.

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    Cheekwood Botanical Garden

    The Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art in Nashville features 55 acres of public garden space divided into a dozen themed areas. A recent near-million-dollar renovation revitalized the centerpiece of the estate, the Howe Garden, to include a state-of-the-art rain garden and added a completely new Sigourney Cheek Literary Garden with an amphitheater to host poetry and book readings.

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    Chicago Botanic Garden
    Glencoe, Ill.

    The brilliant Chicago Botanic Garden features 385 acres divided into 26 gardens and four natural areas, all located on nine islands with a total of six miles of shoreline. The Japanese Garden alone spans three separate islands, and the 185-specimen bonsai collection is considered among the nation's best public bonsai displays.

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    Callaway Gardens
    Pine Mountain, Ga.

    Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia sits on a 14,000-acre property, complete with a golf course, tennis center, spa, woodlands, lakes and elaborate gardens. During spring, some 5,000 varieties of native and hybrid azaleas begin to bloom in the 40-acre Callaway Brothers Azalea Bowl -- the largest of its type in the world.

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    Butchart Gardens
    Victoria, B.C.

    Located in Victoria, British Columbia, the Butchart Gardens have been blooming for more than 100 years on the site of an old limestone quarry. Today, they're considered one of Canada's best public gardens. The famous Sunken Garden features colorful beds of annuals, flowering trees and shrubs, and the Butchart Rose Garden houses one of the best collections in the world.

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    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 by Don Williamson

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    Longwood Gardens
    Kennett Square, Pa.

    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, always have something blooming. The Flower Garden Walk, a springtime favorite, takes visitors through Longwood's first (and very colorful) flower garden.

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