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Best Botanical Garden (2020)

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Note from 10Best: Someday, we'll all be ready to pack our suitcases again and head out on our next adventures. In the meantime, we'll keep supporting the places that inspire us.

  • Mt. Cuba Center

    Mt. Cuba Center
    Hockessin, Del.

    The Mt. Cuba Center maintains a living collection of native and historic plants from the Eastern temperate forests of the United States, with a particular focus on the Appalachian Piedmont. Named gardens include a formal garden surrounding the historic estate, a research garden, a dogwood path and a meadow.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / igaguri_1

  • Fairchild Tropical Botanic 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

  • Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

    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 Jason Boudreau-Landis, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Photographers Society

  • Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

    Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
    Boothbay, Maine

    The Coastal Mine Botanical Gardens opened in 2007 to celebrate and display the natural landscape of the region. On these 270 acres of tidal shoreline in mid-coast Maine, visitors follow granite pathways snaking through rustic woodland, manicured and themed gardens, including the interactive Lerner Garden of the Five Senses. A planned expansion will include a restaurant pavilion, plant nursery, horticulture research center and glass conservatory.
    Photo courtesy of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

  • Missouri Botanical Garden

    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

  • Ganna Walska Lotusland

    Ganna Walska Lotusland
    Santa Barbara

    Lotusland occupies the former Montecito estate of Polish opera singer and socialite Madame Ganna Walska. The 37-acre property features an impressive collection of exotic plants, including cacti, succulents, ferns, bromeliads and palms. The site comprises nearly two dozen named gardens with something blooming no matter the season.
    Photo courtesy of Bill Dewey, Courtesy of Visit Santa Barbara

  • Bloedel Reserve

    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

  • Garden in the Woods

    Garden in the Woods
    Framingham, Mass.

    Garden in the Woods celebrates the native plants of New England. At the 45-acre property, located just west of Boston, visitors can explore a variety of plant habitats, from brooks and wetlands to woodlands and coastal sand plains.
    Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism / Lisa Mattei

  • UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley

    UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley
    Berkeley, Calif.

    The UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley proves that great things come in small packages. The garden's 34 acres are packed with more than 13,000 varieties of plants from around the globe, making it one of the most diverse plant collections in the United States. While nearly every continent is represented, the garden places an emphasis on the flora of mediterranean climates.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / Nicholas Motto

  • United States Botanic Garden

    United States Botanic Garden
    Washington, D.C.

    George Washington envisioned a botanic garden for the capital city of the country more than 200 years ago. Today, that vision is a reality in the United States Botanic Garden, established in 1820. This museum of living plants includes a state-of-the-art Conservatory where visitors can explore flora from the tropics and deserts of the world. The outdoor National Garden comprises three acres of gardens, including a regional garden, rose garden, water garden and butterfly garden.
    Photo courtesy of United States Botanic Garden

  • Mt. Cuba Center
  • Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
  • Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
  • Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
  • Missouri Botanical Garden
  • Ganna Walska Lotusland
  • Bloedel Reserve
  • Garden in the Woods
  • UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley
  • United States Botanic Garden

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 voted best in the U.S. 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. 

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

  1. Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, Del.
  2. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden - Coral Gables, Fla.
  3. Minnesota Landscape Arboretum - Chaska, Minn.
  4. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens - Boothbay, Maine
  5. Missouri Botanical Garden - St. Louis
  6. Ganna Walska Lotusland - Santa Barbara
  7. Bloedel Reserve - Bainbridge Island, Wash.
  8. Garden in the Woods - Framingham, Mass.
  9. UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley - Berkeley, Calif.
  10. United States Botanic Garden - Washington, D.C.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning gardens!

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Preethi Harbuck

Preethi Harbuck

Preethi Harbuck

Kyle McCarthy

Kyle McCarthy

Kyle McCarthy

Abby Meyer

Abby Meyer

Abby Meyer

Nicky Omohundro

Nicky Omohundro

Nicky Omohundro

Allison Taylor

Allison Taylor

Allison Taylor

Rob Taylor

Rob Taylor

Rob Taylor

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