On the blog, you may have noticed that featuring local spots to explore, enjoying nature and spending time with family and friends is a key theme, and this month is no exception. Within the Suburban PA and Philadelphia area, one fantastic staple is all of the gorgeous arboretums and gardens easily accessible to visitors. Whether it be free, donation-based or even a membership opportunity to enjoy the beautiful blooms of every season, I have compiled a list of my top five favorites to visit. Keep reading for more information about each local garden and start planning your next weekend adventure!
Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens
Starting off strong with one of my absolute favorites to visit, is Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens, which opened in 2009 as a testimony to the love that the former property owners, H. Lawrence and Elisabeth Phillippe Jenkins, shared. It still boasts nearly 48 acres of magnificent gardens and a 1.2 mile trail for visitors to explore. Jenkins, which is considered a botanical garden, showcases everything from shrubs and wildflowers to ferns and towering trees. Their spacious observation deck is perfect for an afternoon picnic after a morning of enjoying the surroundings. They also are home to a world-class accredited collection of rhododendrons and azaleas. Admission to Jenkins is free; however, they do accept donations in favor of maintaining their grounds, staffing their garden shop and hosting classes through their education center. In addition to the trail that visitors can take as a self-guided tour, there are also events like Wednesday Walkabouts, which are led by staff and each feature a different theme relevant to the gardens. The walkabouts take place all year from the ‘Early Spring Wildflowers’ walks in April to the ‘Winter Tree Identification’ in January.
Morris Arboretum of The University of Pennsylvania
Originally founded in 1887 by brother and sister John and Lydia Morris, is Morris Arboretum of University of Pennsylvania. The land is located in the Chestnut Hill area of Philadelphia, and upon the original purchase was very barren with dry soil. John and Lydia then spent years learning and exploring the globe to enhance their property’s beauty and collect gorgeous artwork to include on the grounds. There are many options for those looking to visit ranging from regular adult, senior or children’s admission to annual membership. Students attending Penn have free admission with their ID card and students attending other universities see a drastic discount. In addition to the beautiful grounds that are open to visitors, Morris Arboretum also offers online and in person classes, lectures, conferences and even youth summer camp.
Often called one of the most romantic public gardens in America, Chanticleer Garden has been open to the public since 1993. The 47 acres of grounds are maintained by a group of seven horticulturists, who work throughout the seasons to continue to evolve and update the various spaces from year to year. Areas of Chanticleer Garden include the Teacup Garden and Chanticleer Terrace, which feature bold seasonal blooms, the Tennis Court, Ruin, Gravel Garden, and Pond Garden, which showcase perennials and herbaceous, and lastly the Asian Woods and Bell's Woodland, both shaded areas with large furniture for visitors to enjoy. Those looking to visit can either purchase a day pass or a seasonal pass, and members of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society receive a discount for entry. Much like the first two, Chanticleer Garden offers educational opportunities, such as ‘Garden Design Workshops’.
Conveniently located in Delaware County is Tyler Arboretum, who according to their website have a mission to, “Create and inspire stewards of the natural world.” Originally opening in 1944, but with deep roots leading back to the land’s original purchase in 1681, Tyler Arboretum has been enhancing the area’s knowledge of horticulture for more than 75 years. Those looking to vist the 650 acres of woodlands, meadows and stream valleys, can either choose to pay a daily admission fee, which varies depending on adult, senior or child, or they can choose to become annual members to save on both admission and other expenses. In addition to the trails located on the grounds, which can be accessed by any visitor, there are also opportunities for themed guided tours throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall months, which showcase different areas of the arboretum.
Last but certainly not least is the 1,077 acres known as Longwood Gardens, which boasts much more than just lovely outdoor garden spaces. Longwood Gardens is well known in the area for it’s indoor and outdoor displays, which are changed frequently to coincide with the season and include special exhibits throughout the year to enhance the experience of those who visit. With its original opening to the public in 1956, Longwood Gardens has long been known as a coveted location for proposals, photos and events. But in recent years, they have expanded their nearly 1000 acres to include gorgeous treehouses, green energy sources, fine dining experiences and seasonal beer gardens for visitors to enjoy. Those looking to visit Longwood Gardens have a wide variety of options for admission including daily admission, membership and even hotel package accommodations.
Hopefully you will keep this list in mind for your next local day trip and continue to support the gorgeous spaces near and dear to the area. Let me know if there are any other gardens or arboretums where you think I should stop by for a visit!
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