12 Botanical Gardens that will leave you stunned by their beauty!

Botanical gardens are a terrific resource for gardeners, with plenty of inspiration and information. But even if the only thing you grow is mold in your fridge, you'll learn a lot about conservation, local history and more. They're a wonderful escape into nature for the entire family, and a fun way to sample the amazing diversity of the country.

1. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, ME

This is one of a very few waterfront botanical gardens in the U.S. Its 248 acres includes a mile of coastline, plenty of wild spaces and comfortable walking paths. Local artwork is carefully blended in to some of the gardens, and everything is labeled so you know what you're admiring. Visitors have also commented on its wonderful Children's Garden.

2. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY

Just north of the urban jungle of Manhattan lies 250 acres featuring 50 different gardens and over a million plants. Springtime is peak time, when 25,000 tulips bloom along the Seasonal Walk. The Holiday Train Show is a family favorite, as model trains zip through a recreation of New York - made entirely of bark, leaves and other natural materials. Locals know to come back repeatedly, as there's always something new to discover.

3. Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA

Although its amazing greenhouse houses over 4 acres of indoor gardens, visitors love two decidedly non-plant attractions. The Italian Water Garden anchors a gorgeous series of fountains inspired by those found in Europe. And the stunning 10,010-pipe Longwood Organ can be heard throughout the gardens.

4. U.S. Botanic Garden, Washington, DC

Since its establishment in 1820, the facility has expanded to include a conservatory that showcases plants from around the world. Step into a primeval forest or a desert-scape, then check out many rare and endangered plants. Outdoors, the First Ladies' Water Garden is an elegant showcase of their contributions, while the beautiful Butterfly Garden offers ingenious ways to help these vital pollinators.

5. Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta, GA

Some flower-lovers have described this place as their "Disneyland!" Artwork from the likes of Henry Moore and Niki de Saint Phalle are woven throughout the colorful outdoor exhibits. The Orchid Display House will take your breath away, and kids will enjoy the turtles, geckos and South American birds that live within the tropical conservatory.

6. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables, FL

Photographers love the dizzying display of colors and textures that make up this garden. Thousands of plants and trees from Central American, South America and Asia are on display throughout its 83 acres. Rare tropical flowers, climbing vines, unique palms and orchids dazzle, as butterflies dance among the nectar plants.

7. Memphis Botanic Garden, Memphis, TN

Visitors have described this garden's exhibits as "whimsical," inviting you to just set a spell and take in the Southern charm. Daylily Circle features over 500 different types, while the Michie Magnolia Trail showcases 80 different species of magnolia. Nature photographers will swoon over the garden designed specially for them, featuring 250 different plants.

8. Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL

Spread over 385 acres, this garden is one of the largest in the country. Nine islands are home to 26 display gardens and four natural habitats (which are big favorites among bird watchers - 255 species spotted so far!) It also boasts a renowned collection of 200 miniature bonsai masterpieces.

9. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO

One of the oldest botanic gardens in America (1859), it also boasts one of the largest Japanese gardens in the country. After wandering through its 14 serene acres of Asian plantings, trees, waterfalls and islands, step into an English Woodland Garden or an authentic Moorish walled garden. And don't miss their tropical rainforest, with one of the world's largest collections of endangered orchids.

10. Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver, CO

It's actually three gardens. The first (York Street) comprises 24 acres of themed gardens, including ones inspired by Japan and South Africa. The second location, Chatfield, is a working farm, with meadows that attract bird and butterfly watchers. Finally, the third one lets you observe alpine plants while hiking through the Arapaho National Forest.

11. UC Davis Arboretum, Davis, CA

These wonderful gardens are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round. So you can get your "nature fix" anytime the mood strikes. Stroll through the Australian Collection with its towering eucalyptus trees. The California Foothill gardens displays several 200-year old Valley oaks, while the Mediterranean Collection has an amazing array of medicinal and culinary herbs.

12. The Huntington Collection, San Marino, CA

Fourteen themed gardens will keep you engaged for hours, from the Chinese Garden to its Lily Ponds, Rose Gardens and more. The Japanese Garden includes a ceremonial teahouse and excellent specimens of bonsai trees. The location was once a commercial avocado grove, and several of the original trees still remain.

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