19 Enchanting Secret Gardens in the U.S.


Giant water lilies, whimsical topiaries, and towering desert cacti—these are only a few of the belongings you’ll discover at our favourite secret gardens. While a few of these under-the-radar spots disguise in plain sight in cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle, others are tucked away in quiet small cities you have probably by no means heard of. Wherever you find yourself, just a few issues are for sure: You’ll discover contemporary air, stunning blooms, and loads of sun-kissed areas to walk. And for extra hidden locations in nature, try the 21 Swimming Holes So Magical You Won’t Believe They’re in the U.S.

Editor’s Note: Some of those gardens stay closed to the public on account of COVID-19. But learn on and take a digital tour of the finest secret gardens in the U.S.


With greater than seven million guests every year, the Met is not any secret, however do you know that there is greater than what lies behind the museum’s Beaux-Arts Fifth Avenue façade? Head north to Manhattan’s hilltop Fort Tryon Park and you will find one other department of the Met—The Cloisters, which is dedicated to the artwork and structure of medieval Europe. Accordingly, the museum’s three onsite gardens function period-appropriate flowers and medicinal herbs—all of which have been planted based on Middle Age literature. Unrivaled views of Hudson River and New Jersey Palisades do not damage, both. And for extra locations that may transport you, try the 17 American Towns So Beautiful You’ll Think You’re in Europe.

stone bridge and walkway surrounded by fall foliage at washington park arboretum in seattle
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This hidden Seattle gem cozies as much as the glittering shores of Lake Washington. The arboretum’s 230-acre collection is thematically organized with a Woodland Garden, Pacific Connections Garden, and Winter Garden, amongst others. With its hardy honeysuckle, witch hazel, dogwoods, and paperbark maples, the latter is an actual spotlight from November by March.

garden and mansion at lotusland in california
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This gorgeous Montecito property as soon as belonged to Madame Ganna Walska, an eccentric opera singer, socialite, and backyard fanatic. While Walska spent 43 years curating the whimsical 37-acre Lotusland, it did not open to the public till 1993, practically a decade after her loss of life. Today, the totally natural botanical backyard (the first in the U.S.!) honors Walska’s aptitude for the dramatic with greater than 3,000 plant species and distinctive panorama design. Highlights embrace the bromeliads (AKA pineapples) and cycads, cone-bearing crops that have been frequent throughout the Jurassic Period. And for extra opulent mansions, try the 23 Castles So Jaw-Dropping You Won’t Believe They’re in the U.S.

indoor garden at longwood in pennsylvania
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This 1,100-acre attraction harbors extra than simply meticulous gardens—there are additionally decorative fountains, artwork galleries, and a grand ballroom that homes a ten,010-pipe symphonic organ. Before Longwood was a public backyard, the grounds have been residence to Pennsylvania’s Lenni Lenape tribe after which Quaker farmers. You can discover the space’s native crops in the Meadow Garden, a semi-recent addition that spans some 86 acres. As for different displays, there’s the Waterlily Display, Rose Arbor, Italian Water Garden, Banana House, and Orangery, simply to call just a few.

flowers and waterfall in a garden in portland, oregon
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Portland’s Japanese Garden will get the lion’s share of consideration each on-line and in-person, that means the metropolis’s Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden flies rather more below the radar. It’s a disgrace, too, as the seven-acre woodland backyard has an unimaginable assortment of rhododendrons, azaleas, and different lesser-known, uncommon crops, which may be seen by means of idyllic bridges and shady paths. Birdwatchers will need to maintain their eyes peeled as nicely; the backyard is residence to greater than 90 chook species together with Great Blue Herons and Bald Eagles. And for extra awe-inspiring cascades, try the 15 Waterfalls So Magical You Won’t Believe They’re in the U.S.

Biltmore Estate in Asheville North Carolina
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Versaille has the Jardins du Château de Versailles, St. Petersburg has Peterhof Palace, and, would not you already know it, Asheville has the Biltmore Estate. While George Vanderbilt’s turn-of-the-century 250-room château is usually what attracts company, we might argue the gardens are a fair prettier sight. The lush grounds embrace a proper rose backyard, rhododendron loop, and pool- and sculpture-laced Italian backyard, all designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the very man behind Manhattan’s Central Park.

garden and pond at the huntington in california
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Believe it or not, this lush, 120-acre botanical backyard lies simply 12 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. Sixteen themed gardens—together with the Camellia Garden, Shakespeare Garden, and Australian Garden—foster an astonishing assortment of 15,000 completely different plant varieties. Curate a path to your liking, however do not miss the Rose Garden as there you will discover The Huntington’s satisfaction and pleasure: a hybrid pink and yellow rose—AKA “Huntington’s 100th”—which was devised by the backyard’s personal curator.

stone building on a pond in the tea garden in san antonio
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San Antonio is residence to lots of top-notch sights together with the River Walk, the Alamo, and the Pearl District. Of course, we might be remiss to not point out this underappreciated city backyard, which the metropolis gave a $1.5 million facelift in 2008. Now, San Antonio’s lush Japanese Tea Garden includes a 60-foot waterfall, koi-filled ponds, bamboo thickets, stone bridges, and an onsite restaurant. Best of all, admission is free since the park is publicly run. And in the event you’re trying to get away for the weekend, try the 17 Stunning Islands That Americans Are Allowed to Visit Now.

topiary garden in columbus ohio
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Columbus’s Topiary Garden holds a definite honor: It’s the solely park in the world primarily based solely on a portray. With dozens of topiaries, together with greater than 50 folks, a handful of boats, just a few canines, cats, and monkeys, and a small man-made pond, the 10-acre backyard is George Seurat’s iconic A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte come to life. For the most spot-on view of the grounds, head to the “As He Saw It” plaque the place you may see by the eyes of the artist.

Bloedel Reserve estate with the mansion and garden pond.

If you are in search of new methods to spend a day outdoors, give Bainbridge Island’s Bloedel Reserve a go. The 150-acre forest backyard, which fronts the Puget Sound, options 23 completely different pure and manicured landscapes. The backyard’s most important attraction adjustments seasonally; in spring and summer season, it is all about the azaleas, rhododendrons, and Chilean lantern bushes, whereas in fall, the Japanese maples gentle up in fiery autumnal hues.

red, pink, orange, and yellow roses with a forest in the background
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Portland, AKA the “City of Roses,” is a treasure trove for budding botanists—you simply must know the place to look. As the oldest continuously operating public rose test garden in the U.S., it ought to come as no shock that this spot sports activities greater than 10,000 blooms between its Royal Rosarian Garden, Shakespeare Garden, and Miniature Rose Garden. For future planning functions, the finest time to go to is May by September. Make certain your smartphone is charged up, too, as you will need to snap some photographs of the downtown and Mount Hood view.

gardens at vizcaya museum in miami
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This 50-acre Gilded Age property may be discovered in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, proper on Biscayne Bay. It’s arduous to think about now, however the Mediterranean Revival mansion was as soon as the non-public winter residence of businessman James Deering. Luckily—for these of us with out a trip residence—Vizcaya’s ornate fountains, elaborate Seventeenth- and 18th-century-inspired Italian gardens, and French-inspired parterres (geometric hedges) at the moment are open to the public.

asticou azalea garden in the fall with a reflection on the pond
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If you are aware of Maine’s rugged Mount Desert Island, it is probably you have been to Acadia National Park or spent a summer season weekend in Bar Harbor. If you are prepared so as to add one other tour to your subsequent journey, try the Asticou Azalea Garden. The serene, Japanese-style stroll backyard is brimming with azaleas, cherry bushes, and water lilies that may be admired by way of a raked gravel path.

palm trees reflecting on a lake in a botanical garden in florida
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If you reside in the U.S. and love mangos or nectarines, you’ve got one man to thank: David Fairchild. The esteemed American botanist, for whom this garden is called, launched a whole lot of unique crops to the States earlier than opening this 83-acre tropical backyard in 1938. Today’s guests will discover the world’s largest bamboo assortment, the solely rainforest in the continental U.S., large South American water lilies, and quite a lot of uncommon palms, orchids, and tropical fruits.

cacti at moorten botanical garden
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Roses and peonies not your factor? No drawback! At Palm Springs’ Moorten Botanical Garden, cacti steal the present. The intimate, one-acre cactarium is run by Clark Moorten, a second-generation cacti collector whose dad and mom did panorama design for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and even Walt Disney. Once you have adequately admired the geographically organized crops (there’s roughly a dozen biomes represented, together with South Africa and the Mojave Desert), remember so as to add to your individual assortment by hitting the nursery in your means out.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, VA

With 50 acres of themed collections, this year-round botanical garden caters to each age and floral predilection. The Children’s Garden gives hands-on enjoyable with bushes to climb, filth to dig, and butterflies to chase, whereas the 11,000-square-foot Conservatory—or “Jewel of the Garden”—wows with orchids, palms, and different unique crops. After you are accomplished there, you will discover 10 extra awe-inspiring spots, together with the lakeside Cherry Tree Walk, serene Asian Valley, and stylish Central Garden.

flowers and palm trees overlooking the water in maui
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Fun truth: Maui’s Garden of Eden owes a few of its conservation success to the Beatles’ George Harrison. Yes, actually! The guitarist simply occurred to be a neighbor of this North Shore arboretum, and he donated a bit of the backyard’s 700 species. That apart, the lush, tropical paradise begs guests to lose themselves in nature with 26 acres of palm-shaded trails, coursing waterfalls, and wide-open ocean views.

Woman photographing a cactus garden near Phoenix, Arizona
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Arizona’s arid Sonoran desert might call to mind dusty purple earth and bone-dry tumbleweeds, however at this Phoenix garden, there’s an abundance of greenery. To discover the 140-acre grounds, take to one in all 5 loops (every lower than a mile) as they cross such spots as the Hummingbird Garden, Edible Garden, and Cactus and Succulent Galleries. For the finest view, do not miss the Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail, which affords panoramic mountain views.

coast of kauai's mcbryde gardens
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Nestled on Kauai’s picturesque South Shore, the 50-acre Lawa’i Valley refuge has the largest ex situ (“off-site”) assortment of native Hawaiian flora together with towering palms, flowering espresso bushes, and vibrant coral bushes. The oceanfront gem is simply accessible by way of a 15-minute tram journey from the South Shore Visitors Center, however maintain your eyes peeled as you motor alongside the coast—you possibly can spot whales or dolphins earlier than your go to even will get going. And for extra gorgeous landscapes, try the 50 Beautiful, Obscure Places in the U.S. You Should Visit This Summer.


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