Wednesday, May 23, 2012

TOP TEN GARDENS: My 10 Favorite Botanic Gardens

I love botanic gardens -- for inspiration and reference material, and because they are beautiful places to walk around in.  The first six are places that I've visited -- sometimes, more than once.  The last four are gardens that I really want to visit.

1)  THE BUTCHART GARDENS -- Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

 These spectacular gardens began in 1907, in what used to be a limestone quarry.  They are known for their year-round display of flowering plants, in wonderful color combinations.  A feast for the eyes -- it was impossible to take a bad picture here.

"Butchart Sunken Garden", watercolor by Pat Howard





2)  HAWAII TROPICAL BOTANICAL GARDEN, a Garden in a Valley on the Ocean --

 A rainforest preserve on the Big Island of Hawaii.  There are 2,000 species of plants and flowers represented here!









3)  DENVER BOTANIC GARDENS -- Denver, Colorado

A Colorado favorite, as well as mine.  There is so much to see here with all corners of the globe well represented.  





4)  SONORAN DESERT MUSEUM -- Tucson, Arizona

A combination zoo, natural history museum, and botanical garden -- with a focus on the plants of the Sonoran desert.





5)  The GARDENS at QUAIL HOLLOW STATE PARK -- Hartville, Ohio

A small gem of a place in rural Ohio.  Lots of weddings take place in the beautiful herb garden on the back lawn of the Manor House.






6)  PIKE PLACE FLOWER MARKET -- Seattle, Washington

I realize this is not a botanical garden, and technically, it is not a garden at all.  BUT, it FEELS like a garden, with its countless stalls filled with the most beautiful bouquets of cut flowers.  It's just a very cool place!

"Pike Place Flower Market", watercolor by Pat Howard




7)  GIVERNY -- Claude Monet's home and garden in Normandy, France

I was not much of a Monet fan, UNTIL I saw his monumental Water Lilies at the MOMA in New York City a few years ago.  They were mesmerizing.  So now, of course, I need to visit his garden.





8)  KEUKENHOF GARDENS -- The Netherlands

Over 7 million tulips in the world's largest flower garden!!  I've seen pictures, but I have got to see this in person.





9)  US BOTANIC GARDEN -- Washington, DC

Located right next to the US Capitol, this is a must-see, I hear.  Lots of water features mixed in with an unbelievable variety of plants, including a dazzling orchid display.





10)  BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN -- Brooklyn, New York

I've heard about the Cherry Esplanade -- a double row of cherry trees -- which I'm sure is stunning to see. Supposedly, the most visited botanic garden in the United States, it also includes a fragrance garden for the blind -- lovely!


























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