The arrival of spring, which officially begins today, means more than the formal end of winter. It’s also an ideal time to begin thinking about the advent of springtime flowers and there are few better places to appreciate nature’s blooms than at a botanical garden.
In the past, I’ve written about some of North America’s best botanical gardens, as well as about popular gardens that thrive in the desert. There are also some pretty far flung botanical gardens, in such places as Alaska and Hawaii, that are not so easy to reach but are well worth a visit if you happen to be in the area.
National Tropical Botanical Garden, Hawaii
The National Tropical Botanical Garden was created via a Congressional Charter in 1964 in order to further research and protection of tropical plants in the United States. Today, it consists of four gardens in Hawaii and one in Florida. The national headquarters is on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, along with three of the gardens: the McBride, Allerton and Limahuli. There is also a Kahanu garden on the island of Maui, and a Kampong garden in Coconut Grove, Florida.
If you go to Kauai, you can spend time in the National Tropical Botanical Garden’s visitors center and also stroll through three different nature preserves. McBride was the first of these gardens to be developed and has an immense collection of native Hawaiian flora. Allerton was designed in part by an architect and artist and its landscape is adorned with sculptures, fountains and waterfalls. Limahuli focuses on the agricultural accomplishments of both ancient and native Hawaiians.
If your travels don’t take you to Kauai, then on Maui you can visit the Kahanu Garden. There, you’ll learn about the interconnected botanical history of Hawaii, Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia, and about how plants were distributed through the Pacific islands. Or, in Florida you can stop by The Kampong, with tropical trees, plants and fruits from the Americas, Caribbean and Southeast Asia.
Alaska Botanical Garden
For a completely different experience, head to Anchorage for a visit to the Alaska Botanical Garden. Granted, Alaska is not the first place one thinks of in connection with botanical gardens, but this facility has 1,100 species of plants over 110 acres of spruce and birch woodland. There is a rock garden, wildflower trail and nature trail, and you may even run into moose and other wildlife along the way.
You might also enjoy these articles:
- North America’s best botanical gardens
- Desert botanical gardens in Arizona and California
Photo credit: Daderot via Wikimedia Commons