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April is National Garden Month, and in case you’re wondering, 2017 has been designated the Year of the Daffodil. So this a great time to head out and visit one or more of our country’s amazing botanical gardens. They provide a peaceful oasis in a fast-paced world and many of them also offer special events like art exhibits and concerts. Keep in mind that gardens in some parts of the U.S. are only open on a seasonal basis, so be sure to check their dates and hours of operation before you visit. Here are a few gorgeous gardens to consider:
OREGON | Portland Japanese Garden
Spanning 12 acres, the Portland Japanese Garden is composed of eight different types of gardens that reflect the history and culture of Japan. Each of these gardens is designed to create a sense of peace, harmony and tranquility. Choices include the Flat Garden, the Strolling Pond Garden, the Tea Garden, the Natural Garden, the Bonsai Terrace and the meticulously-raked patterns of the Sand and Stone Garden. In late spring, the garden is enhanced by the blooms of azaleas, camellias and wisteria. The garden also offers a full calendar of lectures, workshops and special events and exhibits.
COLORADO | Denver Botanic Gardens
This 24-acre oasis in the heart of Denver is considered to be one of the top botanical gardens in the U.S. Its collections include specimens “from the tropics to the tundra.” The garden’s Summer Concert Series will run from April 3 through September 2 this year, and an exhibit called Calder: Monumental, a display of the bold steel structures by iconic American artist Alexander Calder will run from April 28 through September 24.
TENNESSEE | Cheekwood Estate & Gardens
Originally built as a private home in 1929, Cheekwood now serves as a 55-acre botanical garden and art museum. Located in Nashville, it is one of the finest examples available of an American Country Place Era estate. One springtime sight not to be missed at Cheekwood are the garden’s 150,000 blooming bulbs. Cheekwood also offers multiple gardens for exploring, including a literary garden, boxwood garden, color garden, dogwood garden, herb study garden and Japanese garden.
ARIZONA | Desert Botanical Garden
Located in Phoenix near the buttes of Papago Park, the 140-acre Desert Botanical Garden has more than 50,000 plants on display, including rare, threatened and endangered species from around the Southwest. The garden includes five loops: Desert Discovery, Plants & People of the Sonoran Desert, Sonoran Desert Nature, the Center for Desert Living and the Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Trail. It is also known for its special exhibits such as the popular Spring Butterfly Exhibit that is open through May 17.
MISSOURI | Missouri Botanical Garden
Dating back to 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis is the nation’s oldest botanical garden in continuous operation and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. Highlights include a 14-acre Japanese strolling garden, founder Henry Shaw’s country residence which was built in 1849, an authentic Victorian garden, a children’s garden, a conservatory housed in a geodesic dome called the Climatron, and one of the world’s largest collections of rare and endangered orchids. On April 30, the garden will host its 5K Tulip Trot with proceeds going to benefit the children’s garden.
PENNSYLVANIA | Longwood Gardens
Established by entrepreneur and philanthropist Pierre S. du Point in the early 1900s, Longwood Gardens is located 30 miles west of Philadelphia and offers more than 1,000 acres containing dozens of gardens to explore. A few examples are the Idea Garden, Topiary Garden, Fern Passage, Mediterranean Garden and a stunning indoor garden called the Orangery. Longwood Gardens also serves as a cultural center and offers numerous music, dance and theater events through its annual performance series. Visit the garden’s website for a complete list of performers and ticket information.
MAINE | Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Set on 270 acres of tidal shoreland in the Boothbay area, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens offers plenty to explore, including meditation, rose and perennial and hillside gardens, the Burpee Kitchen Garden and a children’s garden. There are also multiple trails to hike, such as the Maine Woods and Shoreline trails. Other visitor amenities include RV parking, a family education center and a dog walk trail. The gardens open on May 1 this year and the season runs through October 31. The permanent sculptures that the gardens have acquired over the past 10 years will also be showcased this year.
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