Last year, the pandemic closed the gates of many public gardens as spring came: According to a survey by the American Public Gardens Association, only about 4 percent of public gardens were fully open as of March 30, 2020. Once public, the gardens reopened months later and became places of natural tranquility for visitors, perhaps even more so than in the past.
These seven gardens across the country, which make up for last year’s lost spring, will be especially glorious this year, featuring an array of popular spring flowers, traditional botanical collections and fun outdoor spaces. When garden conditions change, it can be difficult to identify short-lived flowers. Therefore, plan in the garden for updates (more information can be found online at publicgardens.org) as well as for new protocols such as pre-reservations, schedules, open areas, and mask requirements. Annual members usually get free entry to the garden.
The Bronx, NY
Start spring with snowdrops, one of the early bloomers that have already appeared on the 250 acre grounds of the New York Botanical Garden. With their white petals, the flowers appear together with the purple spring crocus, the cornel cherry dogwood and the hellebore (also known as the fasting rose). Visit us again in April to see thousands of yellow and white daffodils on Daffodil Hill and the branches of the nearby cherry and crab apple trees should be covered with pink and white clouds. Mid-April is also the start of the season for the 500 species of lilac in the Burn Family Lilac Collection, which line both sides of the garden’s main street. For a different kind of spring renewal, the exhibition “Kusama: Cosmic Nature” by the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, which was originally planned for 2020, can be seen from April 10 to October 31. One of the installations, “Flower Obsession”, allows visitors to decorate a greenhouse installation with coral-colored flower stickers. Garden tickets must be reserved in advance for garden visitors from USD 22. New York City residents with proof of residence enjoy discounted entry and free entry to the site on Wednesdays. Tickets for the Kusama exhibition are available now.
Coral Gables, Fla.
About a 30-minute drive south of downtown Miami, the 83-acre Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, named after botanist and explorer David Fairchild, is working to grow and restore abundant native orchids to the area. March 21st is the last day of the Orchids in Bloom event in the garden, but thousands of orchids – both native species and orchids from around the world – can be seen year round. Of particular interest is Richard H. Simons’ outdoor rainforest, where orchids grow like in the wild, both on trees and in the ground. In April, look for many colors of the moth orchid as well as the delicate purple orchid, a pendant-style native orchid with a bouquet of flowers. In addition to orchids, discover the garden’s many tropical plants and waterfalls. In the Wings of the Tropics exhibition, butterflies flutter above them like the blue morpho and look like flowers in flight. Adult tickets cost $ 24.95; Active US military and veterans are free. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the garden opens early to older adults and other disease-prone people.
Kennett Square, Pa.
Philadelphia has been named America’s garden capital, and one of the region’s greatest gems is Longwood Gardens, which currently has 400 acres of gardens, lawns, and woodland. The goal is a glass conservatory that will display eye-catching blue poppies from the Himalayas at the end of March. In mid-April, 200,000 tulips and other spring-flowering bulbs will be in full bloom on the 600-foot flower garden path – the first garden created by founder Pierre S. du Pont in 1907. Colorful displays are the focus of this public garden, which is intended to inspire its visitors by presenting aesthetically pleasing combinations of plants. For those who want to achieve similar effects at home, the idea garden offers an additional 60,000 tulips as well as annuals, perennials and a decorative vegetable garden to encourage the creativity of the hobby gardener. When the weather warms up, stroll the three-mile trails through the meadow garden, where wildflowers keep popping up well into spring. The wisteria garden puts on a show with sweet-smelling purple and white flowers in May. Advance reservations are required for members and visitors. Adult tickets are $ 25. Discounts are available for active U.S. military, veterans, and qualified citizens.
With its mild temperatures, Arizona attracts botany enthusiasts each spring. The Desert Botanical Garden, which was established in 1939 to study and preserve desert plants and their arid habitats, has its main flowering season in March and April. Walk along the wildflowers on the Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Loop Trail, which runs between penstemons, poppies, and marigolds the color of sunshine. The Palo Verde – Arizona’s state tree – burst with yellow flowers in April, which then covered the ground with lemony snow. Prickly pear cacti, covered with spines, show their softer side and produce delicate flowers in yellow, orange, pink and red. A later bloomer in May is the night-blooming saguaro cactus, which Ken Schutz, the garden’s manager, is considered to be one of the many “charismatic mega-flora” of the garden. The 140 acre garden has more than 1,100 saguaros and has collected more than 75 percent of all known taxa in the world. Visitors and members must reserve in advance (tickets start at $ 24.95 for adults). US military personnel can enter for free with a valid government ID
With 385 acres and 27 show gardens, it can be difficult knowing where to start at the Chicago Botanic Garden, which is located about 20 miles north of the city. Recognizing the sights, smells, sounds, and textures in the Sensory Garden can be a good start. Here the dwarf iris – there are around 21,000 of these onions – appears in deep blue in spring and blooms together with fragrant hyacinths and lightly scented witch hazelnuts. Hundreds of thousands of daffodils also appear in the garden in April, including impressive exhibits near the learning center and right in front of the English Walled Garden. Visit this particular garden weekly to see successive spring flowers bloom, starting with six species of snowdrop and later a particularly attractive saucer magnolia. In addition to many other magnolia trees, blossom lovers can also find that the 400 crab apple trees along the Great Basin offer a typical spring experience. Members and visitors must register online in advance. Entry to the garden is free and parking is $ 25 for non-members.
In February, the storms that hit Texas dropped snow and frozen waterfalls in the 66-acre Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. A month later, the tulips, daffodils and hyacinths on the Paseo, the main street of the garden, could make this frost seem like a distant memory. More than 500,000 bulbs are planted in this public garden on the shores of White Rock Lake each year for the Dallas Blooms Festival, which runs through April 11 of this year. In the Jonsson Color Garden, which also offers dark green lawns for picnicking, there are additional waves of color in the shape of tulips. Children and their families can enjoy the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden ($ 3 additional entry), which includes an elevated walkway through the canopy, interactive science activities, and a maze that leads to a secret garden. Members and visitors must reserve timed tickets and parking spaces in advance. Non-member adult tickets cost $ 17 during the Dallas Blooms Festival. Teachers and educators have free entry during the day.
When this 79 acre garden closed to the public last spring, most people could only see the garden’s floral highlights, like the Maritz Apple Allée, where crab apple trees were lined with bright pink flowers on either side of a petaled walkway. was on social media. This spring, before visiting the garden’s website in person, visitors can turn to an interactive map entitled “What’s in Bloom”. Year-round, visitors can spot flowers like crocuses and squill that bloom in March. Spring begins in the Japanese garden with weeping higan cherry trees and their waterfall of pink flowers. The Yoshino cherries and the Kanzan cherries follow shortly thereafter, with peak flowering usually occurring in mid-April. Whatever the season, the Climatron, a conservatory with a geodesic dome, is home to tropical plants, waterfalls and even resident geckos. Entry for non-members is $ 14. St. Louis city and county residents with proof of residence can visit for free Wednesdays and most Saturdays from 9 am to 11 am.
Bainbridge Island, Wash.
Tucked away at the north end of Bainbridge Island, a 35-minute ferry ride from Seattle, is this 150-acre adventure garden and forest reserve. The reserve has a one-sided, two-mile loop trail that passes through 23 different plant areas, including the early spring blooms of witch hazel, gooseberry, and western trillium. In March, rhododendrons glow in the Glen, an area planted with the favorite flowers of Virginia Bloedel, wife of the wood heir Prentice Bloedel. The couple bought the land in 1951 and turned it into a reservation. Another highlight is the Buxton Bird Marsh and Meadow, where more than 50 native wildflower varieties and nearly 50,000 onions are said to attract pollinators. A composer who recently resided at the residence conducted a “scent tour” and has instructions on the reserve’s website for visitors interested in a scent-focused walk, especially effective in this second pandemic spring. Tickets (starting at USD 17 for adults) must be booked in advance. As part of a free “Walks for Wellbeing” program, participants receive a six-month membership in the reserve and a guide with 12 self-guided hikes on topics such as forgiveness or gratitude.