Top 10 Best Gardens on the West Coast

By Dan Taylor | Jul 28, 2017

If you either live on the west coast or are planning a visit to the area, we have some great suggestions for the most beautiful gardens in the area.

10. Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Japanese gardens are among the most beautiful and unique creations and who can resist the gorgeous Japanese maples when they are at their most vivid color in autumn? Just pay a visit to the Portland Japanese Garden, in Portland Oregon. Here on five and one-half acres filled with Douglas firs, refreshing cedars and hemlocks you can relax and enjoy views of Mount Hood, and the downtown Portland area. The gardens have five different areas including The Natural Garden with 12 varieties of the beautiful Japanese maples who really do show off their best colors in the late autumn season. The crowning glory here is the 100-year-old "That Maple" in the Flat Garden, which is just inside the entrance. During the fall months, you can't miss the glowing orange leaves. Along the walking trails, you will find red, yellow and orange burning bushes alongside red deciduous azaleas.

9. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, Fort Bragg, CA
Native plants in their natural habitats can't be more beautiful than they are on this 47-acre site, that overlooks the Pacific Ocean, and includes canyons, a pine forest, and wetlands. Formal gardens offer heaths and heathers and be careful on the walking trails because the views will knock you off your feet. Fall is again the most colorful time for a visit, but the dahlias are in full bloom in summer and fall.

8. Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver, CO
When you've got the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, can you really go wrong? All 24 acres of Denver's Botanical Gardens fit that bill plus they offer themed Plains and Rock gardens. Their working farm is filled with sheep and chickens, and if you look up, you will find a wooden treehouse in the newest section, Deer Creek Discovery Children's Area. The Japanese Garden flourishes with autumn's fiery colors, aside the blooming crocus in Shady Lane. And if you feel a chill, the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory stays at a comfy 70 degrees. And don't forget to visit the banana palms and coffee plants.

7. The Getty Center, Los Angeles, CA
Alongside a sweet running stream, admire the azaleas, blooming dahlias in the recently refreshed Central Garden. You'll also fall in love under the fabulous bougainvillea trees, trained up rebar arbors.

6. Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, AZ
The Desert Discovery Loop Trail is less than one-half a mile long and borders a yucca forest, while the Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail is about a quarter mile sachet by beautiful organ pipe cactus. You'll be surrounded by red rock formations everywhere you look along with bristly head barrel cactus and spidery ornamental grasses.

5. Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA
Here you can enjoy art, dance, Matisse prints along with a beautiful sculpture garden, a lily pond filled with reeds hiding the Maillol nudes. Lavender, Bamboo, and daylilies surround the lifelike Sitting Cheetah by Gwynn Murrill, and in this setting, you might jump in fear when you see him! And there is a perfect little caf tucked away when you're ready to take a break.

4. Rancho Los Alamitos, Long Beach, CA
Once the home of the Bixby family, the barn has been restored where farm animals reside along with an occasional visiting blacksmith. There is a Cutting Garden, Cactus Garden, and the Native Garden, but you really can't miss the Oleander Walk lined with crape myrtle trees with burning orange leaves.

3. Earthbound Farm, Carmel Valley, CA
You can become fully immersed in this 30-acre research garden where you can harvest your own flowers, pick your own vegetables for the chef demo, or pinch your own herbs. Walk barefoot through the chamomile maze, take the kids to the children's garden to see tipi, tunnels, scented plants and peanut butter. Try the veggie lasagna, and partake of the fresh garden salad bar at the farmstand.

2. Market by Jean-Georges, Vancouver, B.C.
Stay at the Shangri-La luxury hotel located in the tallest building in British Columbia. From the small 61 story building, you get a magnificent view from the Market's terrace, and you overlook a Mondrian-inspired pattern of red, black and blue plants atop a nearby roof. Relax in the peaceful bamboo grove. Mondrian, a Dutch painter who was known for his use of primary colors, and intersecting perpendicular lines. His work had a tremendous influence on abstract art.

1. Kahanu Garden, Hana, Maui, HI
Hawaii is filled with so much beauty; it's hard to determine which places are the most glorious. This temple location has black lava landscapes with incredible views of the coastline. One of the largest state temples is Pi'ilanihale heiau, built from lava rock in the 13th century. And at the base, you can view the Canoe Garden, which is filled with plants first brought to the island via canoe. These include coconut, sugarcane, taro and ti leaves.

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