It's as easy as a walk in the park

LYSA ALLMAN-BALDWIN | 4/25/2012, 6:33 p.m.
  • Contact: (284) 494-2069,

Denver, Colo

Located on former cemetery grounds, the Denver Botanic Gardens encompasses some 23 acres with close to 20,000 plant species from around the globe including the Himalayas, Australia, South Africa and other locales. Recognized as one of the top urban and botanical gardens in the country, the property encompasses a wealth of spectacular garden features, including the new Mordecai Children's Garden, Japanese Tea Garden, Laura Smith Porter Plains, Water Garden, Roads Water-Smart and Dryland Mesa Gardens. You will also find two Denver landmarks on the property--the Boettcher Memorial Conservatory and the Waring House, the latter home to tropical and subtropical vegetation.

  • Contact: (720) 865-3500,

Shreveport, La

Located on the banks of the beautiful Red River, the Barnwell Garden & Art Center is a combination art and horticulture facility home to the 7,850-square-foot, domed Botanical Conservatory--one of the few classical plant conservatories in Louisiana--which highlights numerous native, tropical and seasonal plants. Delightful features here include the Fragrance Garden, outdoor patios, art studio and main gallery featuring exhibitions with the works of local, regional and national artists.

  • Contact: (318) 673-7703,

St. Louis, Mo

The Missouri Botanical Garden, situated just minutes from downtown, is a National Historic Landmark and maintains one of the world's leading programs in botanical research. The locals still refer to it as "Shaw's Garden," after prominent St. Louis businessman Henry Shaw, who decided to transform the property into an English-inspired (Shaw's native country) public garden. Each of the numerous gardens here--the Zimmerman Scented Garden, Mausoleum Garden, Milles Sculpture Garden, Bakewell Ottoman Garden and George Washington Carver Garden, just to name a few--has its own distinct focus and flavor. Large reflecting pools, the William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening--an 8,000-square-foot pavilion situated on eight acres of land with 23 distinct residential-scale gardens--and the Climatron Axis/Milles Sculpture Garden are also part of the exploration and fun here.

  • Contact: (800) 642-8842, (314) 577-5100,