Across North America, plant lovers flock to botanical gardens for inspiration. With a phone in hand, garden enthusiasts snap photos of exotic plants. Then dreamy glazed pots overflowing with container gardens need a photo. And what can top a rose garden with a thousand bushes in full bloom? For some inspiration of your own, explore one of the best gardens in North America on your next getaway.
Best Gardens in North America
Gardens not only inspire, but they can also educate visitors on regional considerations and plant choice. Learn about xeriscaping, or planting for arid environments. Or see how garden designers use hardscaping to divide space into open-air garden rooms. Learn about rose cultivation and testing at a rose test garden. Enjoy our picks for the best gardens in North America.
New York Botanical Garden
In New York City’s northern-most borough of The Bronx, you can walk through the New York Botanical Garden, a 250-acre garden with more than one million plants. The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, a Victorian-age beauty, is also a New York City landmark. Find displays of orchids, palms, and desert-loving plants inside the traditional greenhouse.
The NYBG is a destination for residents and travelers alike. Walk along the herbaceous border with 150 different peonies scenting the spring air. Then explore the themed rooms of the perennial garden. And the rose garden offers 650 different rose varieties along with classical structures to showcase the flowers.
Make a day of it and enjoy lunch at Hudson Garden Grill, a full-service farm-to-table restaurant located across from the Ross Conifer Arboretum.
Located at 2900 Southern Blvd. in The Bronx, and accessible by public transportation, the NYBG is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. along with Monday holidays. Admission based on age along with discounted tickets for weekdays. Get details online at https://www.nybg.org/.
Montreal Botanical Garden
Walk through 75 hectares, or 190 acres, of themed gardens at Montreal Botanical Garden near Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. Originally opened in 1931, the Montreal Botanical Garden is a National Historic Site of Canada and offers 21,000 different species.
The Chinese Garden, designed according to the principles of the Ming Dynasty, features an artificial mountain. Using rock imported from China, this garden features a Chinese building as a centerpiece.
The Japanese Garden reflects in the koi pond and was designed by Ken Nakajima. Walk through the garden to learn about the Japanese tea ceremony in a traditional Japanese-style building.
The rose garden offers an escape for rose lovers. Enjoy 10,000 rose bushes in 900 different varieties.
Don’t touch while strolling through the toxic plant garden. And the medicinal plant garden offers an education as well. Find even more gardens to discover during your visit.
Located at 4101 Sherbrooke St. E. in Montreal’s Maisonneuve Park. Open most days from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with seasonal hours. Adult admission is $20.50 CAN with discounts for seniors, students, and kids. Get more information online at http://m.espacepourlavie.ca/en/botanical-garden.
What’s better than smelling roses? Smelling roses and chocolate at the same time. Catch a hint of chocolate wafting through the entire town of Hershey, Pennsylvania, when you visit the charming chocolate-inspired rose garden at Hershey Gardens.
The chocolate magnate, Milton Hershey, built a 23-acre garden for his wife, Catherine, and their community. Opening in 1937 it instantly became a favorite among locals.
Today the garden features a rose garden with more than 7,000 individual plants in 275 varieties. The American Rose Society even named a rose after Hershey, M.S. Hershey.
Along with roses, find a butterfly house with more than 300 butterflies in each stage of its life cycle. And the children’s garden is another jewel for families.
Located at 170 Hotel Road in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day during the summer season. Adult admission is $13.50 with discounts for seniors and kids. Get all the details online at https://www.hersheygardens.org/.
In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, the Biltmore Estate is the largest privately owned home in the U.S. Built by George Vanderbilt, it’s a French Renaissance Revival showpiece designed by Richard Morris Hunt.
The wows continue into the gardens. Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who created NYC’s Central Park, the Biltmore grounds encompass 8,000 acres. And as America’s first managed forest, it spurred the forest conservation movement.
Surrounding the house, walk through the Italian Garden and the Rose Garden with 250 different varieties. The white conservatory makes gardeners weak with envy. And the gardens evolve with the seasons.
Located at 1 Lodge St. in Asheville, North Carolina. Open every day year-round. Adult admission $70 with advance purchase and kids under 16 are free during the summer season. The Biltmore House is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the gardens remain open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Get all the details about visiting online at https://www.biltmore.com/. During your visit to Asheville and the Biltmore Estate, we recommend a stay at The Omni Grove Park Inn.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is on the shores of White Rock Lake. You can explore a 66-acre garden with rainbow-colored blooms throughout the seasons. Spring pops early with tulips and azaleas in a celebration of color.
With a mix of sculpture and hardscapes, each garden feels like a unique room that flows into another. The Sunken Garden is a favorite. And the Crape Myrtle Allée is a sight in full summertime bloom.
For fall foliage, the Maple Garden offers 80 varieties of Japanese maples. And the Pecan Grove is home to the Pumpkin Houses, fanciful gourd getaways.
Located at 8525 Garland Road. Open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission based on season and age You can get admission details online at https://www.dallasarboretum.org/. Be sure to check out Wander for ideas on what to do and where to stay when you’re in the Dallas area.
Japanese Friendship Garden
Inside of San Diego’s Balboa Park, find the 12-acre Japanese Friendship Garden. This garden opened in 1991 as an expression of friendship between San Diego and its sister city, Yokohama.
The Japanese Friendship Garden features 200 spring-blooming cherry trees, a symbol of Japan. It’s magical how the sukiya-style buildings reflect in the koi ponds. And the azalea collection is extensive.
Located at 2215 Pan American Plaza in Balboa Park, it is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. most of the year. Adult admission is $12 with discounts for seniors and students. You can explore the details online at http://www.niwa.org/.
The Huntington Botanical Gardens
The Huntington Botanical Gardens surround The Huntington museum buildings in San Marino, near Pasadena just outside Los Angeles. You can explore a labyrinth of themed gardens, sixteen in total. Covering 120-acres, find gardens for nearly every style of garden design.
The California Garden offers a lesson in xeriscaping for southern California’s dry climate. The whimsy of the Children’s Garden is a delight to all. The Conservatory makes traditionalists swoon in envy. And duck into the art galleries to take a break from the sun.
Located at 1151 Oxford Road in San Marino, east of Los Angeles. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Tuesday. Adult admission is $29 with discounts for weekday visits, seniors, students, and kids. Get all information about The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens online at https://www.huntington.org/.
International Rose Test Garden
Don’t let the name deter garden lovers. The International Rose Test Garden is a picturesque sanctuary for rosarians. In 1917 the American Rose Society worked with Portland, Oregon to establish a garden and showplace to test and promote roses in the U.S.
Located in Portland’s Washington Park, walk among 10,000 roses from 650 varieties. See climbing varieties, Floribundas, hybrid teas as well as shrub and landscape roses. And the garden still conducts tests on new varieties from growers along with displaying past winners
Located at 400 SW Kingston Ave. Open from dawn to dusk. Roses bloom from late May until October. Free though metered parking in the park. You can get details about the International Rose Test Garden online. Be sure to check Wander for where to stay, where to eat, and more to do in Portland, Oregon.
Starting in 1909, Jennie Butchart transformed the Portland cement quarry into a stunning garden in western Canada. With the help of garden designer Isaburo Kishida from Yokohama, Japan, Butchart Gardens is now a National Historic Site of Canada and attracts over a million visitors a year.
Start in the Sunken Garden, Butchart’s original section, and wander along the rock paths, to enjoy plantings that change with the seasons. Then head to the Ross Fountain located at the rear of the Sunken Garden.
Another must, the Rose Garden offers more than 2500 individual plants in 270 rose varieties. Swoon under one of thirty rose arches. Find rose blossoms dripping off the trellises as well.
The Japanese Garden offers blooming rhododendrons in the spring and Japanese maples ablaze in the fall. The Rose Carousel is a must for the young-at-heart.
Make it a day and enjoy lunch or afternoon tea in the Dining Room, the original Butchart family residence. Celebrate summer with Saturday fireworks in the gardens.
Located at 800 Benvenuto Avenue in Brentwood Bay, north of Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Open year-round with seasonal hours. During the summer, Butchart Gardens is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Adult admission is $33.80CAN with seasonal discounts and reduced admission for kids based on age. Get details online at https://www.butchartgardens.com/.
We love wandering through gardens. We hope you agree that these are some of the best gardens in North America. Be sure to check out all of the lovely gardens we have featured on Wander.