We can't all live in the San Francisco Bay Area or Santa Fe, New Mexico. We don't all have easy access to hiking trails with awesome mountains, redwoods, or coastal views. However, that doesn't mean we have to stay inside and play video games or watch television all day. Most cities (especially if there is a university near by) have botanical gardens.
I'm posting pictures from some of the incredible gardens I've been to for two reasons.
1. Because I've been pouting about living in a place where I don't have 12,000 foot peaks within 20 minutes of where I live (like we did in Santa Fe), and I needed a reminder that there is still natural beauty to be had in urban places (or other places where the highest "peak" within a 60 mile radius is 867 feet).
2. Because it's already grey and wintery here and I'm in need of some color today.
One of my favorite gardens is Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Philadelphia (also the mushroom capital of the world!). Unfortunately, admission is on the expensive side for a garden, but it's worth a visit. Students and seniors get a great discount and children ages 4 & under are free). Often when I visit my dad, we make an afternoon of it and get a lot of walking and talking in while enjoying the beautiful grounds.
Some other gardens that I have been lucky enough to visit or live close to are:
Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University (Durham, North Carolina)
Free admission; parking is reasonable. If you live in the area or are here in the summer, make sure you check out their Music in the Gardens series. Some great bands come and play outside for I think $15 a ticket (cheaper for Duke students). Shows are usually during the heat of the summer, so you will sweat, but it's so much fun. Bring a blanket and snacks and a bottle of wine or a couple cold beers, and enjoy your evening!
Getty Museum Gardens (Los Angeles, California)
Admission is free; parking is $10. They occasionally have concerts (we happened to be there for one and it was awesome!) and one of the best views of West Los Angeles can be had from the cactus garden.