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Top 9 Botanical Gardens

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Nothing is better than spending the day outside surrounded in the beauty of nature. Nature can't get any better than Arkansas and Arkansas can't get much more beautiful than these public botanical gardens.

1. Garvan Woodland Gardens

Garvan Gardens
Amanda Galiano
This 210 acre park is located near Hot Springs National Park. The gardens showcase floral landscapes, free-flowing streams and waterfalls, as well as architectural structures in a natural woodland setting. There's also a Japanese Garden, lots of rare shrubs and flowers and rock gardens. Located at 498 Arkridge Road, Hot Springs National Park, AR 71913 (501)262-2711 or (888)530-6873).

2. Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts

Wildwood's gardens are located on 105 acres with a mission to celebrate the arts and nature. The gardens of Wildwood include The Pavilion Daffodil Garden featuring a spring daffodil and flowering tree garden, The Richard C. Butler Arboretum featuring natural woodland plants, the Bruce Garden featuring native perennials, ferns and grasses, the Doris Gay Asian Garden, the Hunter's Glen and the BOP Water Garden. The gardens are located in Chenal Valley, just a 20-minute drive from downtown Little Rock

3. Eureka Springs Gardens

Rose
This garden has 33 acres of hardwood trees, select native plants and ever-changing flora. They have woodlands, meadows, hillsides and rock settings. You can also see some native wildlife. Located at Scenic Highway 62 West (5 miles west of Eureka Springs), Box 362, Eureka Springs, AR 72632 (501) 253-9244.

4. The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

This 86 acre site currently includes seasonal plantings in a small area, a meadow where you can spot wildlife, a lakeside hiking trail and a self-guided tree identification tour. The master plan for the site includes a more impressive planted garden. However, it's worth looking at in its current state. Located at the Fayetteville-Springdale border on Crossover Road (Highway 265).

5. Historic Arkansas Musuem

While not a garden in it's purest sense, the Historic Arkansas Museum's tour has lots of great plants to look at. Most noteable is the medicinal herb garden. It features native and imported plants used by settlers and native Americans for healing. It is located outside of the Woodruff Print Shop. The Museum can be found at 200 E. Third Street in downtown Little Rock.

6. Mountain Valley Spring: Hydroponics

It's not your traditional garden! Leave it to a water bottling company to say, "Forget the soil." The Mountain Valley Spring Water company has some hydroponic gardens on their tour showing how plants can be grown in natural mineral water without soil.

7. State Capitol Rose Gardens

The Capitol grounds include many flowering plants but the most impressive are the rose gardens. The Capitol boasts over 1,500 rose bushes in two gardens.

8. 1875 Peel Mansion & Gardens

This is an interesting garden in that it's made to mimic a nineteenth century garden. Descendants of early settlers were interviewed and research was done on plants and garden style. Various vignette gardens are interlaced among curvilinear walks and large shade trees to create the mood for the historic mansion. Located at 400 S. Walton Boulevard, Bentonville, AR 72712 (501)273-9664.

9. South Arkansas Arboretum

The Arboretum is dedicated to preserving the native, rare, and economically important flora of the West Gulf Coastal Plain region of the United States. It's a great place for seeing lots of native trees, flowers and birds and a few exotic flowers and trees too. Located at Mount Holly Road and Timberlane (adjacent to El Dorado High School), El Dorado, AR 71731-7010 (870)862-8131.

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