There is nothing quite like the peace and tranquility of a garden. Taking in all the scents of the native flowers like azaleas and magnolias enliven the spirit. Gardens remind us where we come from and in Louisiana that means camellias, oaks, and more. Here are 10 beautiful botanical gardens in Louisiana that have all those and more.
These gardens rest under the shade of the tall pines in northwest Louisiana and are known as “Louisiana’s Garden in the Forest.” Founded by A.J. Hodges Sr. and his wife Nona Triggs Hodges in the 1950s the botanical gardens and events held there have become famous across the region. Formal and natural gardens are all around the property that is connected with walking paths and trickling streams. Besides the gardens, a 225-acre lake hosts a 5.3-mile loop for guests to stroll around and enjoy the views, including much of the wildlife that inhabit the entire property.
Dedicated to horticulture education, research, and natural studies these gardens were created in the capital city in 1991. They have several favorite areas including the Crape Myrtle Garden, which is a vibrant display of southern plants mostly native to the region. In the Sensory Garden a variety of herbs and plants used for seasoning are grown to stimulate the taste, touch, smell, and hearing. Some other favorite gardens are the Rose Garden that hosts over 400 roses as well as the Daylily Garden that has over 800 species of the flower. Butterfly Gardens, a Louisiana Iris Garden, and Ginger Collection are just some of the other exciting features at this garden. Roll on over to Independence Park in Baton Rouge to experience these versatile botanical gardens.
Since the 1930s, New Orleans’ City Park has been proud to offer the citizens and visitors of New Orleans these carefully crafted botanical gardens. Today, it sits amongst the largest stand of mature live oaks in the nation and contains over 2,000 assortments of plants from all around the world. Even after suffering a serious blow to their plant stock after the winds and waves of Hurricane Katrina shut down New Orleans, the gardens stand as a source of pride for the Crescent City reopening a mere six months after the devastation due to the undying support of donors. Visitors can find gardens of aquatics, roses, ornamental trees, and more. Some of the featured gardens include the Yakumo Nihon Teien Japanese Gardens, New Orleans Historic Train Garden, and the Garden Study Center.
These gardens are in the Burden Museum and Gardens in the heart of Baton Rouge. Run the Louisiana State University Ag Center, these gardens help in the continued study of plants along with providing educational materials not only for the university but the community as a whole. This expansive garden offers collections of specialty gardens like the Rose Garden, Children’s Garden, and All-American Selections Garden. Other features include five miles of walking trails through the serene Burden Woods along with wetlands, woodlands, and arboreta.
Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., this 118-acre park is a rose lover’s dream. They have over 200,000 rose bushes with over 400 varieties of the novelty flower on display. Sixty-one separate gardens give guests a variety of arrangements and colors to take in while gently strolling amongst the roses. Being the headquarters of the American Rose Society these gardens are pristine and have tons of available information on hand all about roses.
These gardens are open daily to the public except for national holidays. The 170-acre semi-tropical garden stretches along Bayou Petite Anse with several attractions that are a must-see for visitors. The area is home to one of the oldest timber bamboo groves in the nation along with a Buddha shrine encased in an opulent garden where a Buddha statue dated at 900 years old resides. Camellias and Azaleas dazzle visitors along with the snowy egrets in Bird City, the bird sanctuary within the gardens. Developed in the 1920s by Edward Avery “Ned” Mcilhenny and the birth of Bird City predating that by over 20 years these gardens have been a sanctuary to humans and wildlife for many decades.
Nestled in the hilly town of St. Francisville, Imahara’s Botanical Garden is open to the public on weekends as well as for private events and special occasions. Varieties of azaleas, camellias, crape myrtles, magnolias, palm, oak, and fruit trees are just some of the attractions at these gardens. A “Little Mt. Fuji” overlooks nine reflecting ponds, Torii gates, and a zigzag bridge. The newest attraction is the Mom & Pop Garden that is dedicated to the Imahara parents in the heart of the gardens.
A project of the Cajun Prairie Habitat Preservation Society, this prairie is an example of what is today referred to as the Cajun Prairie due to the large number of Cajuns who settled in the region. Though the area receives much more rain than a normal prairie, about 50 inches of rainfall per year, it used to dominate the region between the Atchafalaya and Sabine Rivers the prairie today is only about 100 acres in total due to agricultural cultivation in the region. Still, the organization has developed the Eunice Cajun Prairie Site to have over 300 native species of prairie species that come into flower especially between May-October. It is known as the most authentic Cajun Prairie site in the country with big blue stem & switch grass, hairy sunflowers, yellow false indigo and so much more.
These botanical gardens were part of the home and treasure of Joseph A. Biedenharn who is first credited with bottling Coca Cola. Having built the home in 1913 the botanical gardens were the prize of Biedenharn’s collection. Known as Elsong Garden, named after Emmy Lou Biedenharn who had an opera career, the gardens have a vast number of differentiating flowers. Begonias, daffodils, daylilies, Japanese magnolia, tulips, azaleas, bachelor’s button, and sweet olive trees are just some of the varieties you can find at these gardens in Monroe.
These gardens sit along river road in a 38-acre display of lush Louisiana plants. The gardens reflect each season as the year goes by such as in summer when the huge oaks benefit from the cool air blowing off the Mississippi River and the subtropical climate make visitors feel alive in the moist air. Spring is the time when the garden explodes overnight in a vibrant display of color, fragrance, and beauty. Though even in fall and winter the gardens are alive and decorated to fit the atmosphere of the seasons. Sitting areas are provided in all the gardens that include the Hampton Garden, Upper Garden, Neptune Pavilion Fountain & Lawn, and the Fountain Courtyard.