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4 Midwestern Sites Worth Visiting on National Public Gardens Day

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Ever since 2008, the Friday before Mother’s Day is known as National Public Gardens Day. Here are four sites worth the drive, to commemorate this holiday—in case you need an excuse to get outside and enjoy the season’s milder temperatures and stunning blooms.

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Giant hedge lettering that spells out the name of Dawes Arboretum, when you visit this gorgeous, sprawling attraction in Newark.
Photo: The Cottage at Serendipity Creek

The Dawes Arboretum (Ohio)

Located about 37 minutes east of Columbus, the Dawes Arboretum provides approximately 2,000 acres of landscape to enjoy. This venue features an array of displays including the Japanese Garden, Woodlands, Dutch Fork Wetlands, and Dawes Lake. Make sure to peruse the collection of the rare Metasequoia (dawn-redwood) trees that are hard to find in the Midwest area.


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Photo: krystygo

Chicago Botanic Garden (Illinois)

Boasting 385 acres of landscaping, the Chicago Botanic Garden is sure to put you in a springtime mood. This site contains a Rose Garden, Sensory Garden, English Walled Garden, Aquatic Garden, Bonsai Collection, and Children’s Growing Garden, just to name a portion of the displays. If the weather turns rainy, simply head inside to browse the greenhouse species.


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Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve (Michigan)

If you prefer a wilder backdrop, head to Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve. This site is more nature preserve than garden, according to reviewers. The grounds are divided into three main realms—arboretum, nature preserve, and tallgrass prairie zones. You can also explore one of the many scenic trails.


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Photo: Jane Doe

White River Gardens (Indiana)

Adjacent to the Indianapolis Zoo, the White River Gardens offer a rewarding botanical experience for any plant lovers. This venue boasts over 1,000 species of plants and includes a water garden, shade garden, and summer butterfly exhibit. Its convenient location to the Zoo, as well as downtown Indianapolis, makes it an easy destination to add to your road trip.



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