The period of March, before spring officially arrives, can be a great time to visit the region’s finer gardens and arboretums for a sprig of green to end your winter blues. Various mature shrubs and perennials begin responding, quickly, to the increasing daylight hours. Wooded hillsides and wide open meadows seem anxious for the chance to show the colors of their wildly sown flowers. Long-standing shrubs and trees quietly prepare seed heads in cocoon-like shelter before the formal opening and vault into spring. There are so many mature gardens in the area. It seems the real challenge is the knowing which is open in March, and, where is it reasonable for walking. While the Philadelphia region boasts being the garden capital, there is no real consistency with opening dates for early spring garden visiting. Many area gardens will not open until April or even May due to the garden and plant types to which they specialize. But worry not. Here are seven great regional gardens with plenty of greenery to chase your winter blues – even before spring truly arrives. March garden viewing may require hearty waterproof boots, but it also offers an insider view of the planning and preparation that makes a great garden successful. What a perfect time to snap some pictures and make note of the plants, support solutions, and alignment to other plants and shrubs, as chosen by the experts. With no crowds or related summertime challenges, exceptional expert garden ideas are yours to glean. These seven gardens of green will jump start a craving to garden and motivate your readiness for not just warmer weather, but also the emergence of colors, growth and vitality that is spring.
Winterthur is winter-green
Winterthur, a museum, garden and library, offers plenty of well-paved pathways for visitors to meander leisurely up and down the hillsides of this grand estate. Various garden sections with acclaimed plant collections are of variety for interest in all seasons. This vast 60-acre garden includes impressive vistas, woodlands, pines, and flowers, as well as, the quirky enchanted woods, sundial garden, quarry garden and more. Freshly re-opened on the first of March, Winterthur is again ready to treat visitors to the March Bank with some of the earliest to bloom of spring flowers in a wild array of colors and shapes.
Longwood Gardens, finely designed
Longwood Gardens is a year-round expanse of gardens, as well as, a four-acre conservatory which feature extraordinary designs and collections. Choose well-paved paths with slight incline throughout the formal garden areas or dress ready to explore the 86-acre meadow garden dotted with observation areas surrounding the rolling hills. The formal garden areas are especially helpful for gleaning techniques and planting tips while the gardens are quiet of crowds. Plan well and you may time with one of many walk and learn programs.
Bartram’s Garden, historic botany
Bartram’s Garden is open year-round with educational kitchen gardens, flowers and unique trees set with views to center city from its waterfront spot on the Delaware River. Woodlands and simple trails expand from the historic house and barn area with clever techniques in place for hundreds of years. Expanding trails are to connect Bartram to other recreational trails and will limit house tours. However, garden education and horticultural experience has been Bartram’s focus since back in the 1700s with its namesake, John Bartram, America’s first botanist. This is the place to glean plenty of simple garden tips and be encouraged to be curious in this oasis by the city.
Jenkins Arboretum, a woodland oasis
Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens is a tranquil woodland landscape wonderfully askew of the bustling roads of the Mainline. Open throughout the year, this arboretum specializes in rhododendron and azalea collections, as well as, native ferns and wildflowers amidst grand hardwood trees. March is ideal for a visit as, in addition to the emerging color to their specialty shrubs, the lack of tree leaves improves the impressive views to Valley Forge and King of Prussia. Bumpy pathways weave for just more than a mile between garden themes then steeply declining to a serene pond and hillside plantings before winding back up to the John J. Willaman Education Center .
Tyler Arboretum, tremendously grand
Tyler Arboretum makes use of its oldest and largest classification of arboretums in an appropriately expansive manner. Year-round access to paved and unpaved trail options among stately historic trees is especially enjoyed while the nine treehouses and butterfly house is still quiet. Diverse plant, tree and shrub collections offer enjoyment year-round. Tyler additionally features six trails that traverse its 600 acres of varying challenge levels. Stroll, explore or add fitness challenges to this garden visit.
The Scott Arboretum, garden themes
The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College is campus of garden themed collections coordinated around the college buildings and horticultural education enters. Four garden walk trails of distances from a half to just more than a mile are designed for self-guided tours, or focus in on just a select garden collection near the Wister Center where the massive Austrian Pines are as unique as the ornate Cunningham House and gardens that surround. Online access to trail maps and brochures are the key to appreciate all that this beauty arboretum features among its 17 gardens.
Morris Arboretum, vast views
Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is another vast space of gardens and woodlands planted long ago. Grandiose views and garden collections are well placed among the 92 acres of Morris Arboretum. Tree-top canopy classroom offers a birds-eye view, yet there is so much at ground level from paved pathways and wide open lawns. March visits keep visitors intrigued by the unfettered growth and color of many trees and shrubs. Learn from the experience and success of these experts and spring into the season cognizant of all the history that went into its beauty.