Longwood Gardens wins Best Botanical Garden for second time

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum takes second place

April showers might very well bring May flowers, but at the public and botanical gardens dotting North America, there's always something in bloom. The best gardens and arboretums on the continent, like these 10 nominated by our panel of experts and voted the best by our readers, help to promote and conserve the plant diversity of our planet, all while showcasing their vast collections in stunning, visitor friendly ways. 

  • Longwood Gardens
    Kennett Square, Penn.

    The massive Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Creek Valley comprise more than 1,000 acres of gardens, woodlands and meadows divided into numerous indoor and outdoor named gardens. When it’s chilly outside, indoor options include a Banana House, Mediterranean Garden, Orchid House and Orangery, while outside, visitors can explore Canopy Cathedral, Flower Garden Walk, Rose Arbor, Peirce’s Woods and the Idea Garden, where home gardeners can find inspiration.
    Photo courtesy of J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA

  • Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
    Chaska, Minn.

    Visitors to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum enjoy more than 1,200 acres of manicured gardens, woods and prairies, accessible via 12.5 miles of walkable trails and garden paths. The vast space, divided into 28 named gardens and 45 plant collections, showcases more than 5,000 plant species and varieties. Highlights include a Japanese Garden, Daylily and Chrysanthemum Walk, Kitchen Herb Garden, Maze Garden and Peony Walk.
    Photo courtesy of Don Olson, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Photographers Society

  • Missouri Botanical Garden
    St. Louis

    The Missouri Botanical Garden, the oldest continuously operated botanical garden in the nation, was founded in 1859 as a center for conservation and education. Today, the 79-acre garden includes Henry Shaw’s original 1850 estate home, a 14-acre Japanese strolling garden and one of the largest collections of rare and endangered orchids on the planet.
    Photo courtesy of Flannery Allison / Missouri Botanical Garden

  • Vallarta Botanical Gardens
    Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

    This south-of-the-border garden in Puerto Vallarta comprises 20 acres showcasing 3,000 species of plants. Visitors can stroll through palm and rose gardens, a fern tree grotto, an orchid house and an excellent collection of native Mexican wildflowers and carnivorous plants. A river winding through the tropical dry forest serves as a popular swimming spot.
    Photo courtesy of Paul Hamilton / Flickr

  • Denver Botanic Gardens
    Denver

    With more than 34,000 plants growing there, the Denver Botanic Gardens prove just how colorful a xeriscaped garden in a dry climate can be. In spring, the Rock Alpine Garden showcases colorful wildflowers, while the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory –a Denver landmark – brings a year round taste of the tropics to an otherwise arid city.
    Photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens

  • Atlanta Botanical Garden
    Atlanta

    The Atlanta Botanical Garden comprises 30 acres of outdoor garden space, including a Children's Garden and Edible Garden. The Fuqua Orchid Center located within the Atlanta garden's Fuqua Conservatory houses one of the most important orchid collections in the United States. The Skyline Garden, a new addition in Spring 2018, will feature stunning views of the Atlanta skyline.
    Photo courtesy of Atlanta Botanical Garden

  • Desert Botanical Garden
    Phoenix

    A must-see in Phoenix, the Desert Botanical Garden includes 140 acres – 55 of them cultivated – showcasing more than 50,000 plant specimens in one of the world's most important collections of arid flora. Five themed trails facilitate exploration of the world's desert plants and the adaptations they have made to survive in these sometimes harsh environments.
    Photo courtesy of Adam Rodriguez / Desert Botanical Garden

  • Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
    Coral Gables, Fla.

    The warm climate of Coral Gables allows tropical plants to be grown outdoors year round at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden – one of the only places in the continental United States where this is possible. Exotic butterflies fly freely within the Wings of the Tropics Conservatory, while the Rare Plant House displays 450 species of rare and endangered tropical plants from around the globe. Other themed gardens include a Tropical Fruit Pavilion, Palm Glade, Tropical Flower Garden, Succulent Garden and even a display of the dry forest plants of Madagascar.
    Photo courtesy of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

  • Brookgreen Gardens
    Murrells Inlet, S.C.

    Founded in 1931, the 300-acre Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet is part sculpture garden, part wildlife sanctuary occupying the site of four former rice plantations. The National Historic Landmark houses one of the best figurative sculpture collections in the world. Highlights of the botanical collection include 250-year-old live oak trees, a butterfly garden and a Palmetto Garden named after South Carolina's state tree.
    Photo courtesy of chucka_nc / Flickr

  • Bloedel Reserve
    Bainbridge Island, Wash.

    The Bloedel Reserve just outside of Seattle comprises 150 acres of natural woodlands, manicured gardens and the former Bloedel estate home. While spring brings a fabulous display of rhododendrons and azaleas to the garden, it's the Japanese maples that truly steal the show each autumn.
    Photo courtesy of Bloedel Reserve

The top 10 winners in the category Best Botanical Garden are as follows:

  1. Longwood Gardens - Kennett Square, Penn.
  2. Minnesota Landscape Arboretum - Chaska, Minn.
  3. Missouri Botanical Garden - St. Louis
  4. Vallarta Botanical Gardens - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  5. Denver Botanic Gardens - Denver
  6. Atlanta Botanical Garden - Atlanta
  7. Desert Botanical Garden - Phoenix
  8. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden - Coral Gables, Fla.
  9. Brookgreen Gardens - Murrells Inlet, S.C.
  10. Bloedel Reserve - Bainbridge Island, Wash.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Cindy Brockway (The Trustees), Mommy NearestKyle McCarthy (Family Travel Forum), Eileen Ogintz (Taking the Kids), Abby Meyer (Botanic Gardens Conservation International-U.S.), and Katy Moss Warner (American Horticultural Society) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of America's botanical gardens.

Congratulations to all these winning gardens!

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Cindy Brockway

Cindy Brockway

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Kyle McCarthy

Abby Meyer

Abby Meyer

Katy Moss Warner

Katy Moss Warner

Mommy Nearest

Mommy Nearest

Eileen Ogintz

Eileen Ogintz