Where do garden writers go on summer vacation? If you’re like us, summer travel includes spectacular garden destinations open to the public, offering lush landscapes, innovative designs, learning opportunities and some of the most beautiful gardens we’ve ever seen. HGTVGardens contributors share their summer travel plans.
The Hemingway House, Key West, Florida
I made a short stop in Key West last October, but it was far too brief. A tour of Ernest Hemingway’s home made me realize in addition to his writing talent and propensity for cats, Hemingway was a garden-lover with a gorgeous, lush space. I’d love to get back to Key West and spend more time with Hemingway’s flora…and kitties.—Felicia Feaster –
Charleston, South Carolina
This iconic Southern city is famous for its gardens of every stripe and though I explored many of them last year, I am anxious to return and photograph even more. There is a special blend of a Southern and European sensibility in these gardens, many of them walled, that always offers more inspiration than the eye can drink in.—Felicia Feaster
San Diego Botanical Garden, San Diego, California
Two of my best friends just moved to San Diego, so I’m planning a little West Coast excursion. The San Diego Botanic Garden is definitely on my agenda. Formerly known as Quail Botanical Gardens, the facility hosts over 3000 varieties of tropical and subtropical plants, including the nation’s largest bamboo collection. Featuring succulent gardens, desert gardens, a tropical rainforest and the largest children’s garden on the west coast, this 37 acre paradise has something for everyone.—Jessica Yonker
Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago, Illinois
HGTVGardens contributor Kim Visokey is “always garden hopping” and there are plenty of beautiful spaces to visit near her home in Winnetka, IL. Always a favorite, The Chicago Botanic Garden boasts twenty-six gardens and four natural areas and nine islands over 385 acres. Walking and tram tours are available and the facility hosts numerous events and workshops year round.
Monticello, Charlottesville, Virginia
I will be kicking off a book tour this summer and I’m booked for Monticello. Plantation grounds built by president and gardening innovator Thomas Jefferson, Monticello was a labor of love 40 years in the making. Jefferson’s dedication to gardening and the innovations he pioneered, is reflected today in the stunning ornamental gardens, fruit trees and the two acre heirloom vegetable garden.—Melissa Caughey
Epcot Center, Lake Buena Vista, Florida
HGTVGardens contributor Melissa Caughey will also visit Disney World for the Epcot Garden show this year. The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival features Disney-themed topiaries, special gardens, live music, informational events and lots and lots of flowers. For garden lovers, this annual event is the happiest place on earth.
Longwood Garden, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
Founded by William Penn in 1700, Longwood Garden
spans over a thousand acres, mostly containing local plants and landscaped to mimic a natural environment. Now owned by the DuPont family, the grounds feature a massive and stunning greenhouse and is a premier horticultural showplace not to be missed. —Ruth Meharg
Mt. Cuba Center, Hockessin, Delaware
Mt. Cuba is a botanical garden and historical preserve just a stone’s throw from Wilmington, Delaware. Founded by the DuPont family in the 1930’s, this gem focuses on the appreciation of native plants and ecosystems. Committed to the preservation of natural habitats, Mt. Cuba showcases native shrubs, trees and stunning woodland wildflower gardens designed as a beautiful and functional ecosystem to teach and inspire.—Ruth Meharg
Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, Wisconsin
We’re hoping to head up north this summer to visit friends in MN and WI. Along the way we will stop in Madison, WI to see the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Established in 1952 and operated by the City of Madison Parks Department and the Olbrich Botanical Society, this 16 acre facility features an English garden, sunken garden, rose and herb gardens and the only Thai pavilion and garden in the continental United States.—Mark and Debbie Wolfe
Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Georgia
Founded by Cason J. and Virginia Hand Callaway in 1952, Callaway Gardens is a 6,500 acre resort complex created as “a place to connect man and nature in a way that benefits both.” Featuring a renowned azalea garden, colorful hydrangeas, a butterfly center with over 1000 tropical butterflies, a dazzling horticultural center and extensive hiking trails, Callaway Gardens is a popular destination for nature lovers, boasting over 750,000 visitors annually.—Lynn Coulter
Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina
A North Carolina favorite and the site of the prestigious Biltmore International Rise Trials, the Biltmore Estate is the largest privately owned house in the United States. Honoring founder George Washington Vanderbilt II’s commitment to conservation, environmental protection and sustainability, the lush landscape features acres of spectacular gardens, including a fifteen acre azalea garden, a walled garden blooming with daffodils, tulips and hyacinths, the sensational glass-roofed conservatory and, of course, over 1400 roses, including those in competition.—Mick Telkamp
Huntington Library Botanical Garden, San Marino, California
HGTVGardens contributor Felder Rushing is heading to Pasadena to check out the succulent displays at the Huntington Library Botanical Garden. Spread across 120 acres, the grounds of the botanical gardens are divided into more than a dozen garden themes, including the Shakespeare garden, desert garden, herb garden, Chinese garden, rose garden, Australian garden, lily ponds, and a children’s garden. Tended by a curatorial staff and over a hundred volunteers, this beautiful site offers a chance to develop your own gardening skills with workshops and classes focusing on sustainable agriculture.
Dallas Arboretum, Dallas, Texas
Felder will also be in Texas this summer for the heat tolerant annuals trials at the Dallas Arboretum
. Sixty-six acres of flowers and trees, lush landscapes, statuaries and fountains set against the Dallas skyline, over 2400 types of azaleas and thousands of other plants and flowers. The trial gardens at the Dallas Arboretum are dedicated to the research and evaluation of plants grown to tolerate and thrive in challenging weather conditions.