Visit These Four Gardens to Get Your First Taste of Spring's Bounty
Wherever you are in the United States, here's where to go to embrace the season's best feature—freshly-bloomed florals.
In addition to the return of warmer weather, blooming gardens are arguably spring's most cherished feature. Rejoice in both by visiting one of the United States' best floral jewels, which are, luckily, scattered throughout the country. Ahead, the very best gardens to stroll this spring, where you can take in sunshine, vibrant color, and fragrance of the season's freshest flowers.
As gifted with a spade as she was with a pen, Edith Wharton surrounded her Berkshires retreat, The Mount, with manicured floral beds and a linden-tree promenade. As you wander the grounds, it's easy to imagine the American author writing on the lawn, picnicking under the shade, or strolling through the gardens—just as we do, now. The property also boasts a rock garden, complete with molded grass steps cut into a sloping hill, a distinctly rare landscape feature.
San Simeon, California
Take in the breathtaking bougainvillea and sweeping stone balustrades overlooking the Pacific on Hearst Castle's 127-acre landscape. The original property, however, was much larger—in 1865, George Hearst purchased 40,000 acres of ranchland, which his son, William Randolph, upped to 250,000 after inheriting the estate in 1919. When his health deteriorated in the mid 1900s, he walked away from the unfinished retreat, which he called La Cuesta Encantada—Spanish for "Enchanted Hill." And that it is—with 165 rooms and gardens, terraces, pools, and walkways galore, it's an enchanting place to experience the turn of the season and view the former owner's legendary art collection.
Explore more than a dozen gardens at Stan Hywet Hall, the former home of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber family. Its 550-foot birch-tree allée will soon debut on a USPS Forever stamp. Also be sure to take in the English Garden, which was the matriarch's favorite outdoor space; it was brought to life by pioneering female landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman, who redesigned this part of the grounds in the late 1920s. The land was restored to her original design intent in the 1990s, and is one of the few intact Shipman gardens currently open to the public.
Just over 50 years ago, Delaware native Henry Francis duPont—an esteemed American horticulturist and collector of early American furniture—opened his childhood home, Winterthur, to the masses. The property's manicured gardens and his impressive decorative arts collections were quite a draw, and still are to this day. The grounds, in particular, are stand-outs: They aren't simple stretches of beautiful botanicals, but living pieces of art history with pristinely-preserved components.