Blue Star Museums Blog (Archive)

Great Gardens

Springtime comes to the Malott Japanese Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Photo by Robin Carlson

Let’s face it: there are some summer days too beautiful to stay indoors. Luckily, there are a number of gorgeous gardens and outdoor parks participating in Blue Star Museums, allowing you to enjoy the weather while making the most of the Blue Star program. Below are a few of our favorite options from around the country, so head outside and get ready to go green!

Chicago Botanic Gardens
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, Illinois 60022

Roughly 25 miles north of downtown Chicago, the Botanic Gardens are a 385-acre oasis of beautiful blooms and waterways. There are 24 different formal gardens to explore, including the forested oaks of McDonald Woods, the water lilies and lotuses of the Aquatic Garden, and the vibrant colors, textures, and fragrances of the Sensory Garden. The Botanic Gardens also have events and exhibitions throughout the year: Ruth Duckworth: Shaping Chicago will display the artist’s modernist sculptures through September 25, 2011.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
280 The Fenway
Boston, Massachusetts 02115

Born in New York City in 1840, Isabella Stewart Gardner went on to become one of Boston’s leading arts patrons. Today, her collection of 2,500 paintings, ceramics, rare books, illuminated manuscripts, drawings, and more are housed in Gardner’s beautiful estate, designed in the style of a 15th century Venetian palace. But the museum’s outdoor courtyard and gardens are just as remarkable as the art within. The courtyard blooms year-round with orchids, violets, hydrangeas, chrysanthemums, poinsettias, and fruit trees. The South Garden and Monks Garden are also original to the house, and are ideal for summer afternoon strolls.

The Sunken Garden at Filoli in the summertime. Photo courtesy of Filoli

86 Cañada Road
Woodside, California 94062

Listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Filoli is set 30 miles south of San Francisco on 654 acres of sweeping lawns and landscaped gardens. While the estate house is filled with 17th and 18th century English antiques, the grounds overflow with olive orchards, bonsais, magnolias, wisteria, camellias, and citrus trees. You can meander through the gardens yourself, or opt for a guided tour or nature hike. On select Sundays, you can enjoy jazz on Filoli’s outdoor stage.

Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens
4155 Linnean Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008

Founded by Post cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, the Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens is a quiet reprieve in the midst of Washington, DC. The estate itself houses 16,000 art objects, including ceramics, paintings, needlework, lacquer ware, and a number of perennially popular (and spectacular) Fabergé eggs. Outside, azaleas, roses, lilacs, and dahlias bloom alongside English hedges, French-inspired fountains, and a gently arched Japanese bridge. The gardens may be visited year-round, even in winter when evergreens keep things fresh.

Lyon Arboretum
3860 Manoa Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822

Located in a tropical rainforest, the University of Hawai’i’s Lyon Arboretum offers 194 acres of lush vegetation and spectacularly verdant landscapes. Visitors can admire more than 5,000 types of plant species in eight different gardens, ranging from the Zen-like Young Memorial Garden to the popular Herb and Spice Garden, featuring herbs from around the world. There are also trails to explore, and, for budding botanists, a range of educational classes. It’s a beautiful way to experience the natural wonders of O’ahu beyond the beach.


Add new comment