As UK and Ireland botanical gardens and National Trust parklands are gradually re-opening, Visit The USA shines the spotlight on some of their magnificent botanical gardens
This spring, home gardens have been utilised like never before. Tending to flowers, borders and plant pots has been a form of escapism for many, and this rediscovery of gardening is likely to increase the popularity of botanical garden daytrips at home and abroad in the future.
Here are five American horticultural hotspots for travellers to keep in mind when planning that long awaited USA getaway.
Chicago Botanic Garden, Illinois
This vast botanical garden, located 20 miles north of Chicago in Glencoe, Illinois definitely needs repeat visits. Boasting 385 acres and more than 2.6 million plants, the Chicago Botanic Garden encompasses 27 enchanting gardens, surrounded by peaceful lakes. The garden is perhaps best known for its annual Orchid Show, which runs in February and March where more than 10,000 blooms are illuminated and exhibited in other extraordinary ways. There is also an acclaimed bonsai collection, which includes 200 bonsai trees and the geometrically designed Heritage Garden. www.choosechicago.com
Atlanta Botanical Garden, Georgia
Established in 1976, Atlanta Botanical Garden is a 30-acre urban oasis in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, comprising renowned plant collections, beautiful displays, shady woodlands, spectacular exhibitions and much more. In the Storza Woods visitors can walk among the treetops, along the Kendeda Canopy Walk and to the Skyline Garden, which features spectacular views of the Atlanta cityscape. The Cascades Garden features an otherworldly Earth Goddess installation, the romantic Rose Garden consists of over 100 different varieties of roses and the Dorothy Chapman Fuqua Conservatory is home to rare and endangered tropical and desert plants. www.exploregeorgia.org
Desert Botanic Garden, Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden proves how spectacular arid ecosystems can be. Placed directly in the Sonoran Desert, enclosed by the red rocks of the Papago Buttes, this 140-acre garden displays the world’s finest collection of arid plants from deserts of the world in a unique outdoor setting. The garden has more than 50,000 desert plants on display, including giant cacti and 180 species of agave, throughout five thematic walking trails that illustrate topics such as conservation and desert living. www.visitphoenix.com
Missouri Botanical Garden, St Louis, Missouri
Founded in 1859, St. Louis’ Missouri Botanical Garden is America’s oldest continually operating botanical garden and a National Historic Landmark, with 79 acres of gardens and historic structures. Despite the garden’s age, it has certainly kept with the times, constructing the futuristic looking Cimatron in 1960, a giant geodesic dome acting as a conservatory, housing a tropical rainforest. Other highlights include one of the largest Japanese gardens in the country, the Stephen and Peter Sachs Museum, the English Woodland Garden, which has 300 rhododendrons and azaleas and an extensive orchid collection. www.visitmo.com
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
Founded by industrialist Pierre du Pont in 1906 and situated roughly an hour’s drive from Philadelphia in Kennett Square, Longwood Gardens has become world-famous for its commitment to botany, design, education, and art. Set over more than 1,000 acres of gardens, meadows, woodlands and elaborate horticultural displays, Longwood boasts over 11,000 varieties of plants. The site includes four-and-a-half acres of indoor gardens, serene lily ponds, a variety of fountains, an orangery and a meadow garden that has three miles of trails. www.visitpa.com
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