Posted May 12, 2021

Plants, Petals and Plumes: The Best Botanical Gardens Worth a Visit

Travel Tips

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”

– Henri Matisse

We love that there’s a unique language to flowers — different types symbolize unique messages and the best florists will be able to point you in the right direction. Artists from Georgia O’Keefe to Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet have spotlighted them (his multi-panel masterpiece of water lilies at The Met is one of our favs). They adorn our walls, plate ware and attire, and are one of the essential budget items for all kinds of festivities and remembrances. As we shake off our winter blues, these are the exquisite garden paradises that we’re booking our next trip around.

Conservatory of Flowers – San Francisco. CA

Tucked into the entrance of Golden Gate Park, the Conservatory of Flowers stops you in your tracks with its gleaming white domed structure set against colorful public gardens and swaying palm trees. Dating back to 1879, the historic Conservatory takes you through five galleries (potted, lowlands, highlands, aquatics and the West Gallery) of rare and noteworthy flora from around the world. You’ll have to set your alarm for 2028+ to brace yourself to experience their corpse flower, Terra the Titan, which blooms every seven to ten years.

Blossoms on the Mall by Jaleel Davis, Photo by @kidupandgo

National Cherry Blossom Festival – Washington, DC

Donated by Tokyo City back in 1912, DC’s blush and rose hued cherry blossom trees have been an annual viewing party for locals and visitors alike. Cherry blossoms have long been revered in Japan to usher in spring and renewal. At only a few weeks long, its peak bloom is fleeting so there’s a dedicated “Bloom Watch” to capture when Tidal Basin starts showing its petals. 2021’s festival focused on virtual and personal celebrations like a DIY Petal Porch Parade, similar to Mardi Gras’ creative shift to decorated house floats. In the future, you can dream of attending DC’s famous parades, art exhibitions and ceremonies.

Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden – Phoenix, AZ

With rarified blooms and resiliency you don’t see in other plants, desert flora is in a class of its own. Here at Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden, there are nearly 4,500 living species thriving in its hallowed collection including its comprehensive representation of cacti (cactaceae). The Hazel Hare Center for Plant Science is dedicated to conserving and studying an unprecedented spectrum of desert plants, many of which are critically endangered. Stroll through living trails and visit the Garden Shop for flowering lights and watercolor landscapes to safely remember the desert’s beauty by.

Bellevue Botanical Garden, Photo by Dan Achatz

Bellevue Botanical Garden – Bellevue, WA

The gardens here all tell a story – the Rock Garden has a symbiotic relationship with its neighboring Iris Rain Garden while the Yao Garden celebrates Bellevue’s sister city in Japan – Yao. The real star of the show is its annual Garden d’Lights which has been a beloved holiday tradition for over 25 years. Every winter, an enchanting display of lifelike designs from towering sunflowers to forest animals treat visitors to a spectacular light extravaganza.

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