Natural beauty that inspires us to find beauty in our daily lives
BILTMORE ESTATE AND GARDENS — ASHEVILLE, NC
The priceless collection of art and antiques inside America’s largest private mansion certainly deserves a tour, but the real glories of the Biltmore Estate are its unrivaled gardens. Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead in the 1890s and still serving as a world-famous horticultural preserve, the meticulously landscaped grounds include a rainbow of blooms in the 15-acre Azalea Garden, seasonal flowerings like rare tulips in the Walled Garden and more than 250 varieties in the Rose Garden. A delightful contrast to the ornate Italian Garden, an entire tropical rainforest with orchids thrives year-round in the huge Conservatory greenhouse. The 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate also features 20+ miles of hiking paths, including wildflowers on the Meadow Trail, a working farm with orchards, and a winery offering complimentary tastings.
AIRLIE GARDENS — WILMINGTON, NC
Between downtown Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach is the 67-acre floral wonderland of Airlie Gardens. Established over a century ago around the centerpiece Arlie Oak that’s nearly 500 years old; the historic site is home to more than 75,000 signature azaleas beneath the shade of flowering dogwoods and magnolias. Walking tours led by volunteer guides include the formal Pergola Garden with its colorful camellias, jasmine vines, and outdoor sculptures in the Chapel Garden and the unique Tranquility Garden & Butterfly House. Seasonal blooms are highlighted by multi-colored hydrangea and delicate lilies, irises, and roses. In addition to year-round educational events, Airlie Gardens hosts an open-air Summer Concert Series, an October oyster roast, and Enchanted Airlie, a holiday tradition with thousands of Christmas lights illuminating the winter gardens.
BROOKGREEN GARDENS — MURRELLS INLET, SC
Just south of Myrtle Beach, America’s largest outdoor sculpture garden features beautiful blooms and artwork on a 9,000-acre site that’s also a protected wildlife habitat to explore on foot or by boat.
MAGNOLIA PLANTATION & GARDENS — CHARLESTON, SC
On the Ashley River west of Charleston, azalea and camellia gardens that are nearly two centuries old with serene walking trails on 400 acres of the wildlife-filled wetland preserve.
CALLAWAY RESORT & GARDENS — PINE MOUNTAIN, GA
A full-service destination resort in the Georgia countryside with a variety of flower gardens large and small, plus the famous Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, as its most popular attractions.
KNOXVILLE BOTANICAL GARDENS & ARBORETUM — KNOXVILLE, TN
A former private nursery that’s now a sprawling public garden with historic horticulture, floral displays that change with the seasons, and refreshing walking trails on 47 acres just five minutes from downtown Knoxville.
MARIE SELBY BOTANICAL GARDENS — SARASOTA, FL
Two bayfront sanctuary sites, anchored in downtown Sarasota with gardens devoted to orchids and other tropical flora, plus the Historic Spanish Point Campus showcasing native Florida plants and habitat.
DESERT BOTANICAL GARDEN — PHOENIX, AZ
More than 4,000 species of native desert plants that include giant cacti and vibrant wildflowers, with five distinctly themed walking trails and special events in every season to educate and entertain.
Reposted from an article in Ideal-LIVING Magazine, 2023 Summer Issue – Best Places to Live