Virtual Garden Visits: Explore Gorgeous Gardens from Home

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.

Virtual gardens

Filoli Historic House and Garden. Photo courtesy Filoli Historic House and Garden

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.

Dallas Arboretum

Tulips at the Dallas Arboretum. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

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.

best gardens in North America - NYBG Rose Garden

Just north of Manhattan, find New York’s Botanical Garden. Photo by Catherine Parker

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.

botanical gardens

The Japanese Garden at Descanso Gardens is in full bloom each spring. Photo by John Stanley, courtesy Descanso Gardens

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.

Desert Botanical Garden

There are five distinct areas to explore. Photo courtesy DBG

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.

The wonders of technology give us an opportunity to experience magnificent botanical 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 while sheltering in place during COVID-19.

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Written by Susan Lanier-Graham

Founder and publisher Susan Lanier-Graham has traveled the world for the past twenty years, filling a passport or two along the way. She has wandered through the jungles of Thailand, explored the mysteries of the Great Pyramids, and shared the night with a leopard in Zambia. She sailed in the Mediterranean, sipped her way through Burgundy canals and Champagne caves. She followed Rembrandt’s footsteps through Amsterdam. Susan found her center on the red rocks of Sedona and soaked up an exquisite sunset over the Indian Ocean in Bali. Susan is always looking for wow moments around the world or across the street to share with adventure lovers everywhere. She has authored more than 75 books and hundreds of magazine articles. Susan is an award-winning travel writer and member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA). She is a Certified California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS). Susan's work still regularly appears in print and online. Susan is an award-winning travel writer, a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and is a Certified California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS). Susan has worked as an ambassador for Travelocity and is currently a travel ambassador for Rocky Mountaineer. Her work regularly appears in print and online in a variety of publications. These include various AAA publications, Postcards for Travel Leaders,,,, So Scottsdale, Uptown, Green Living AZ, Life Refined, Modern Luxury,, WHERE Arizona, WHERE Traveler Phoenix + Scottsdale, and more.

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