Spring in the garden is idyllic. Unfortunately, this year, most of us won't have a chance to see some of the world's most breathtaking botanical gardens. However, the wonders of technology give us an opportunity to experience these gardens from the comfort and safety of our own homes. Here are a few of our favorite gardens from across the country and how you can experience them from home. Be sure to check out Wander for some of our favorite gardens you can experience in real life in the future.
Filoli Historic House & Garden, California
I adore San Mateo County and Silicon Valley in California. It is one of my favorite places to explore. A highlight in the area is the beautiful Filoli Estate in Woodside. While I visited in the fall, this beautiful home with its gardens is beyond impressive. Of course, Filoli is closed during the coronavirus pandemic, but you can experience the beauty of Filoli at home using the garden's YouTube site. I recommend you start by exploring the spring gardens.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Texas
Since moving to the Dallas area two years ago, I've enjoyed my visits to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. It is truly a garden paradise. I've enjoyed each season that I've been able to visit, particularly the spring.
Since you can't go to visit right now, you can check out some of the colorful displays through a virtual visit of the Dallas Arboretum. There's a great video about tulips and I love the video of the Yoshino Cherry Trees and tulips that are blooming in the garden in March and April. I also love the tour of the Lyda Bunker Hunt Paseo de Flores. My photo above was taken in March 2019 along the Paseo.
New York Botanical Garden, NYC
When Catherine Parker wrote about her favorite gardens to visit across North America last summer, one of her favorites was the New York Botanical Garden. The 250-acre garden is an iconic NYC landmark. While NYBG is closed right now, you can take virtual tours of the gardens.
I love magnolias and you can take a spring walk among the magnolias. When you're feeling stressed and the outside world is a bit overwhelming, you can simply loop through this lovely walk to calm your heart, soul, and mind. This is just a short video—about 1 minute—and fills my heart with happiness. The other great tour by NYBG is a tour of the Orchid Show. This 20-minute in-depth tour highlights these beautiful flowers.
Descanso Gardens, Los Angeles Area
Several years ago, I toured botanical gardens across the Western US. One of my favorites was Descanso Gardens, a small garden in the Los Angeles area. Descanso was a refuge in the midst of the Los Angeles sprawl and it was really quite magical. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Descanso is closed, but the gardens are offering quite a few ways to explore at home through virtual tours and learning activities.
There are several great things available online, including:
You can also check out the website to see photos of what's in bloom at any time of the year.
Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado
The Denver Botanic Gardens was probably the first botanic garden I ever visited. It still holds a special place in my heart. Denver has done a great job of putting virtual tours online. You can customize a tour or take one of the tours that the staff created. There are more than a dozen staff-created tours to get you started.
Ever wonder what that weird flower is by your back gate? You can figure it out using the Denver Botanic Gardens' plant navigator. You can look it up by characteristics, or type in a common name to see details about the plant. Want to experience some specific feature inside the garden? You can check it all out on the navigator. There are pages of features that let you virtually experience the garden.
Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, AZ
I spent more than 25 years in Phoenix, so I've been privileged enough to visit Desert Botanical Garden many times. It offers such amazing views of the Sonoran Desert and explores the possibilities of desert living.
Right now, you can pay a virtual visit to DBG to check out the collection and learn about gardening, living in the Southwest, and conservation. The garden's YouTube channel has great videos that take you on walks through the blooming desert.
Many of the beautiful gardens across the country are offering similar virtual visits while you #shelterinplace. You can find more great gardens on Wander and most of the websites give information about virtual opportunities. Enjoy Spring this year in a unique way that lets you stay safe at home while supporting some of our country's most beautiful destinations.