The gray pallor of winter has faded, birds are chirping and flowers are blooming. Now is the perfect time to take a stroll down flower-lined paths and enjoy the freshness of the outdoors.
Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve
1635 River Road, New Hope, Pa.
This 134-acre site offers nearly 1,000 species of native plants in a naturalistic setting. Walk along trails through woods and meadow, past a pond and creek. Enjoy wildflowers, shrubs, trees, birds and more, plus year-round educational programs. A visitor center offers exhibits, bird observatory, museum and free information for home gardeners and naturalists. Preserve open year-round from 8:30 a.m. to sunset daily.
Adults: $5; Seniors 62 and older and students with ID: $3; Children 4-14: $2 $2; children under 4: free.
170 Hotel Road, Hershey, Pa.
From its start in 1937 as a 3-acre rose garden, Hershey Gardens has blossomed into 23 acres of flowers, theme gardens, seasonal displays and more, including The Butterfly House—with more than 300 butterflies representing nearly 25 varieties. The garden is open April 1 and daily from April 6 through late October.
Adults: $10; seniors 62 and older: $9; children 3-12: $7; children under 3: free.
Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens
631 Berwyn Baptist Road, Devon, Pa.
As a botanical garden, the arboretum maintains a collection of trees, shrubs, wildflowers and ferns in a tranquil, naturalistic landscape, providing a sanctuary for a variety of native birds, insects and other wildlife. In addition, the gardens boast a diverse collection of rhododendrons and azaleas from around the world. Open year-round from 8 a.m. to sunset.
Kings Gap Mansion Garden
500 Kings Gap Road, Carlisle, Pa.
The mansion garden was used by the original owners of Kings Gap to raise vegetables. A restoration of the site began in 1992 by the Penn State Master Gardeners in Cumberland County to establish an educational garden, including a pond full of wildlife, herb gardens, grassy meadows and native plants. The garden is divided into three educational areas—a herb garden, wildlife habitat and compost garden sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Land Recycling and Waste Management. The site is maintained by the Master Gardeners and Friends of Kings Gap volunteers. Open year-round dawn to dusk.
Ladew Topiary Gardens
3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, Md.
Harvey S. Ladew was among the first Americans to recreate the English garden rooms—gardens devoted to a single color, plant or theme. He created 15 such "rooms" on 22 acres of his 250 acre property, including a Rose Garden, Pink Garden, Yellow Garden, plus more than 100 topiaries. The Garden Club of America awarded Ladew the Distinguished Achievement Award for "creating and maintaining the most outstanding topiary garden in the country without professional help." Open April 1-October 31, seven days a week.
Adults: $13; Seniors 62 and older/students $11; children 12 & under: $5.
1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, Pa.
Founded by Pierre du Pont, the 1,077-plus acre Longwood Gardens includes 20 outdoor gardens and 20 indoor gardens, plus a conservatory that houses more than 5,000 varieties of plants. In total, Longwood offers more than 11,000 different types of plants and trees, and many fountains and water features. Open daily.
Adults: $25; seniors 62 and older: $22; students 5–22: $11; children age 4 & under: free.
931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway, Charlottesville, Va.
Thomas Jefferson created a botanic showpiece—and an experimental laboratory of ornamental and useful plants from around the world in his gardens. From trees and flowers to more than 330 vegetable and 170 fruit varieties, Jefferson grew them all on Monticello’s grounds. Monticello interpreters lead 45-minute walking tours, offering historical background, plant identification and stories about the gardens along the way.
Adults: $24; Children 6-11: $8; children under 6 are free.
Oatlands Historic House and Gardens
20850 Oatlands Plantation Lane, Leesburg, Va.
Anchored by a mansion, George Carter developed what was a thriving wheat plantation into formal gardens, complete with terraces carved into the hillside to provide level areas for plantings of fruit and vegetables along with trees, shrubs, and flowers. Nearly a century later, in 1903, Mr. and Mrs. William Corcoran Eustis of Washington, D.C. purchased the property as their country home. Mrs. Eustis filled the overgrown terraces with boxwood-lined parterres full of fragrant tulips, peonies, irises and lilies. She also added a rose garden, planters, statuary, reflecting pool and teahouse. Open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Garden and grounds tour only: $8 per person. Garden and house tour:
Adults: $12 adults; Seniors 60 and older: $10; Students 6-16: $8; Children 5 and younger: free.
Trial & Idea Garden at Claremont Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
Army Heritage Drive and Claremont Road, Carlisle
These trial gardens are designed to show how well certain flowering annuals, perennials, vegetables and woody plants will grow under local conditions throughout the state. Each year, plants are grown and evaluated for reliable performance, ease of maintenance and beauty to provide home gardeners with a list of proven choices for their own gardens. During the growing season, most trial gardens offer brochures that describe the bed’s contents so that home gardeners can try their hands at successful planting.
Shofuso Japanese House and Garden
Horticulture Center, West Fairmount Park, Horticultural and Lansdowne drives, Philadelphia, Pa.
The traditional-style Japanese house and nationally-ranked garden in Philadelphia’s West Fairmount Park reflects the history of Japanese culture in Philadelphia
Shofuso was built in Japan in 1953 and moved to Philadelphia in 1958. The site includes a viewing garden with koi pond and island, a tea garden and a courtyard. Open weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. until May, then Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Adults: $6; seniors, students and children 3-17: $4; Children under 3: free.