Published: May 2015
What's Growin' On: Five Gardens in the South to Explore  

No doubt about it, the South loves its gardens. Big or small, the region celebrates them all.

Whether you are looking to unplug for a couple of hours or spend some quality time outdoors, there is a garden for you to explore.

garvanIICheck out any (or all) of these five during your travels in the South.

Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, Ark., is one of eight woodland gardens in the U.S. Encompassing 210 acres on a peninsula on Lake Hamilton, it was developed into a garden in 1956 by Verna Cook Garvan (some say even today her spirit can still be felt here.) She was instrumental in selecting and planting the wide variety of blooms and trees. Upon her death, she gifted the gardens to the University of Arkansas. Be sure to stop by the Anthony Chapel as well see the Anthony Family Trust Carillon. When exploring the gardens, take some time to view Bridge of the Full Moon located in the Garden of Pine Wind. It is one of the most photographed places in the gardens.

Located Biedenharnin Monroe, La., is Biedenharn Museum and Gardens. The collection includes the historic home, of Joseph Biedenharn, the first bottler of Coca-Cola, Coke Museum, Bible Museum, and formal garden, ELsong. ELsong, located behind the home, was designed by Biedenharn's daughter, Emy-Lou. A little over an acre, the garden features different flowering plants, water features and sculptures from around the world. The focal point is the Wagnerian Fountain on the Ballet Lawn, and you’ll quickly see there isn’t a bad angle of this garden feature.

As one of the seven botanical gardens featured on the Alabama Garden Trail, the 212-acre Huntsville Botanical Garden in Huntsville is filled with various gardens and walking trails. Spend your time exploringHuntsvilleBotanicalGarden everything from a wildflower garden to an herb garden and more. Meander your way along the nature trail or the birding trail. Don’t miss the picturesque Damson Aquatic Garden with its Water Lily Pool. Also, give yourself enough time to spend in the Purdy Butterfly House, the largest open-aired one in the country.

Located near downtown Aiken, S.C., is the 14-acre Hopelands Gardens. The former estate HopelandGardensAikenSCturned public garden in 1969 includes century-old live oaks, fountains, a dollhouse and more. Located in the gardens’ 1900s carriage house is the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum, where you can learn more about the 39 champion thoroughbreds that have trained at Aiken Training Track.

It’s worth tearing yourself away from the beaches in South Walton, Fla., for a little while to visit Eden Gardens State Park. Situated on the shore of Tucker Bayou in Point Washington, the two-story mansion houses the second-largeedengardensst collection of Louis XVI furniture. Your eyes will be drawn to the 600-plus-year-old oak tree located on the grounds. Known as the “wedding tree” simply because around 98 percent of the weddings held on site happen under the tree. Check the Eden Gardens’ ornamental gardens, heritage rose garden and more. Explore along the one-mile nature trail.



photos courtesy of personal collection