Dallas Arboretum, Dallas
The Dallas Arboretum can’t compete with the illustrious history of some of its older counterparts, but this 28-year-old gem’s array of meticulously planned plant life bring out more than half a million visitors each year and puts it on par with the best gardens in the United States.
The arboretum’s meandering main path, known as the Paseo de Flores, leads guests past mesmerizing collections like the Jonsson Color Garden, where spring brings daffodils, dogwood and tulips to mix with more than 2,000 varieties of azaleas that cover every color in the crayon box. The Jonsson’s fern dell, enveloped by a constant haze of refreshing, microfine mist, is especially popular in the summer.
Don’t miss the DeGolyer Gardens, named for founder Everette DeGolyer, where you’ll see rows of majestic magnolia trees and a charming gazebo that serves as one of the garden’s favorite spots for weddings.
Coming with the kids? Take them to the arboretum’s picture-perfect alley of crepe myrtle trees which lead to Toad Corners, where four bronze toad fountains spout 20-foot streams that offer a reprieve from the Texas sun.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Surrounded by the concrete jungle of New York’s biggest borough, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a 52-acre slice of nature that, for more than a century, has offered a mix of flora unparalleled anywhere in the city.
Come in through the Washington Avenue entrance and you’ll be greeted by the Shakespeare Garden, a quaint English enclosure rife with irises, primrose and other iconic flowers featured in the works of the Bard. Evoke Claude Monet’s masterpieces with a stroll through the Lily Pool Terrace, where 100 varieties of tropical water lilies and lotuses float weightlessly on reflecting pools, while the renowned C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum houses more than 350 tiny trees, some of which date back three centuries.
The highlight of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is the Cherry Esplanade, a field of lush green grass lined with two rows of cherry trees that, in soft-pink blossom, provide a serene setting for a photo op or a lazy afternoon lounge. April promises the start of Hanami, the Japanese celebration of cherry blossom season, when the gardens will showcase the largest collection of Japanese flowering cherry trees (more than 220 in total) outside of Japan.
Can’t get to the garden? Go to www.bbg.org/discover/cherries and check out the CherryWatch Blossom Status Map, which features the entire collection and provides daily bloom updates.