Favorite Gardens in the West

See hydrangeas, tulips, roses, and more bountiful blooms.

Tulips bloom in Crystal Hermitage Gardens at Ananda Village in Nevada City, CA.
Tulips bloom in Crystal Hermitage Gardens at Ananda Village in Nevada City, California.
Kial James

March/April 2022 Issue

Crystal Hermitage Gardens in Nevada City, California, is exquisite year-round, but especially in springtime! The flowers, buildings, and views over the Yuba River canyon are breathtaking. You will find yourself enveloped in an overwhelming feeling of deep peace.” —Jyoti Spearin

“My favorite gardens are the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. As the story goes, this family had a quarry in their backyard, and one day the husband told his wife they had dug all they could from this area and were going [to mine] elsewhere, leaving an ugly pit next to the house. She turned that pit into what is called the Sunken Gardens—and then she built a Japanese garden, a beautiful rose garden, and a formal Italian garden. It’s the most impressive garden I have ever seen. Everywhere you turn, you see gorgeous flowers. I could spend hours there.” —Stacy Sheehan

“Beautiful trails wind through Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg, California, in a natural setting next to the ocean. There are interesting plants and trees that thrive in a salty climate and a stream going through. It’s a great place to visit!” —Tuulia Lowe

Filoli's sunken garden with waterlilies and the Garden House in the background.

Filoli's sunken garden with waterlilies and the Garden House in the background.

Liberte Reilly / Filoli

"The best time of year at Filoli in Woodside, California, is when the daffodils bloom in the meadow filled with fruit trees also in bloom. Or is it when the profusion of tulips are blooming? Or is it the rose garden? Or the blue, blue hydrangeas? There is something in every season, plus a mansion to tour, art shows in the main building, and events. It's a treasure.” —Diane Grindol

“A subset of the University of Utah, Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City features several unique style-specific sections. For me, the most engaging is the Water Conservation Area, located on the highest section of the garden, literally up against the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, with stunning views of the entire Salt Lake Valley. The conservation area features hundreds of plants—ground covers, cacti, agaves, succulents, shrubs, flowers, and trees—that thrive with very little water in our high-desert environment.” —Ken Kraus

Sherman Gardens in Corona del Mar, California, has a large variety of plants in both outdoor and indoor settings, [offers] a wonderful educational program for children, is easy to walk through, and has exceptional seasonal events and plantings.” —Suzanne Dandoy

The entrance to Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, California.

The Ruth Bancroft Garden celebrates the best of drought-tolerant foliage.

Olivia Smartt

“The Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, California, provides the desert garden wow factor for me. Combine that with the history of a woman who was a pioneer in the growing of cacti and succulents from around the world, a first-class nursery, and events, and this small garden is always a favorite for me.” —Katherine Murray

“My favorite is the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens! The San Marino, California, gem is part of the Huntington family legacy in early California: building wealth and influence during the Gold Rush, becoming instrumental in building the Trans Continental Railroad, and bringing art and culture to early Pasadena. They turned a family home into a marvelous place for us all to soak in the best of art, literature, history, and nature. The Japanese garden and Chinese garden and pools, desert garden, rose garden, children’s garden, and hot house with its famous stinky ‘corpse plant’—you can’t do it all in one day. Over lots of visits, it never gets old!” —Marlyn Hiroto