Can’t get enough of fresh blooms, colorful cacti or other greenery? Us either. The smell, colors and serenity that plants provide are one of life’s greatest little joys. That’s why we’re stoked that Monrovia, a California-based seller of premium plants, called out an amazing concept called “floratourism” in their list of top garden trends for 2017. Basically, floratourism marries blossoms with travel and inspires flower fans to seek out some of the world’s most beautiful botanical experiences. If you’ve already hit up the most Insta-worthy flower shops in the US or have heart eyes just thinking about being surrounded by succulents, keep scrolling for nine magical floratourism destinations.
1. The High Line, New York, NY: A mile-and-a-half long, this linear park in Manhattan was built on an elevated section of an abandoned New York Central Railroad line called the West Side Line. Designed as a collab between James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Piet Oudolf, the High Line’s flora design was inspired by the natural, self-seeded landscape that grew up around the abandoned tracks over 25 years after trains stopped running on them. As if that isn’t awesome enough, this gorgeous park features a mix of shrubs, trees, perennials and grasses chosen specifically for their sustainability and breathtaking beauty.
2. The Biltmore, Asheville, NC: Travel to the Vanderbilt estate to visit this garden designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (the same visionary behind New York’s Central Park). April and May are especially amazing times to visit, thanks to the seemingly endless array of blooming azaleas. In June, the rose garden erupts with over 200 varieties of fragrant and jaw-dropping varieties. Whenever you go, don’t miss the forested paths, geometric flower beds or the reflecting pools full of water lilies on your visit.
3. Ruth Bancroft Garden, Walnut Creek, CA: Recently featured in the gorgeous gardening book The Bold Dry Garden ($35), the Ruth Bancroft Garden is a nonprofit public dry garden that was planted by dry gardening pioneer Ruth Bancroft in 1972. The garden houses important collections of yuccas, aloes and agaves. Fun fact: Aeonium “Glenn Davidson,” the first succulent in Bancroft’s personal collection, still grows in the garden. First open to the public in the early ’90s, the diverse array of drought-tolerant plants will also totally inspire any gardener living in a dry climate.
4. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO: A must-see on any Midwestern road trip, this garden is centered around philanthropist Henry Shaw’s Victorian house and observatory. Look for a large Japanese garden, Turkish garden and a Climatron — a super cool geodesic dome that houses gardens representing Hawaii, Arizona and the Italian coast. As an added bonus, there are glass sculptures scattered across the grounds, among the 6,800 plant varieties.
5. Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle, WA: This 230-acre arboretum is a standout in the Emerald City. It has a dynamic assortment of plants, including some found nowhere else in the Northwest. Another neat thing to note is that you can experience this unusual and awesome destination from your car. A leisurely drive along the roads will give you views of blooming trees or colorful leaves, depending on when you travel.
6. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Cleveland, OH: This family-friendly conservator is actually an incubator for buckeye trees, Ohio’s official state tree. People of all ages adore the seasonal butterfly exhibit, and the garden’s hot shop is where visitors can watch local artisans blow glass. If you’re able to sneak in a visit after sunset, you’ll be able to see the John F. Wolfe Palm House’s 7,000 LED lights transform the park into a twinkling wonderland. Pure awesomeness.
7. Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, AZ: Established in 1939 by the Arizona Native Plant Society, this garden offers a super in-depth look at the unique plants, animals and people of the Sonoran Desert. The 140-acre garden in Papago Park has five different walking loops for visitors to experience herb gardens and desert wildflowers. Visit in spring, fall or winter to avoid baking in the Arizona heat.
8. International Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR: If you’re in Portland (AKA the Rose City), make time to stop at this swoon-worthy rose garden. A testing ground for new varieties of roses, it’s one of the few spots in the country that also tests miniature roses. In a nod to “keep Portland weird,” plots are named everything from Baby Boomer to Neil Diamond.
9. Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, MN: Even non-Minnesotans are likely to be familiar with the iconic cherry-on-a-spoon sculpture balancing on the edge of the pool in this Twin Cities sculpture garden. Having recently undergone a year of renovations, it’s finally slated to reopen in June 2017. Improvements will include a new entry pavilion, as well as upgrades to the entire 26-year-old garden (with hundreds of new trees!). Music fans, listen up: Bon Iver will headline the Rock the Garden concert held at the sculpture garden in July.
Have a fave place full of flowers that deserves a spot on the list? Show us on Instagram @BritandCo!
(Featured photo via Getty)