10 PA Gardens Worth a Winter Visit

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks
— John Muir
Trillium nivale - Courtesy of jeffreyamos.wordpress.com

Trillium nivale - Courtesy of jeffreyamos.wordpress.com

1. Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve

www.bhwp.org - The Preserve's director, Miles Arnott, recommends visits during snowfall when the 134 acre woodland can be viewed from a unique perspective.  Bowman's Hill is home to 80 rare and endangered species of native Pennsylvania plants as well as species such as snow trillium (Trillium nivale), American hazelnut (Corylus americana), and American winterberry (Ilex verticillata). 

1635 River Rd.
New Hope, PA 18938

  Snowdrops - Courtesy of www.topwalls.net

  Snowdrops - Courtesy of www.topwalls.net

2. Jenkins Arboretum

www.jenkinsarboretum.org - While hiking the peaceful trails on this 46 acre arboretum, one might encounter native plants such as : Witch hazel (Hamamelis spp.), Snowdrops (Galanthus spp.), Maples (Acer spp.), and early rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp.).

631 Berwyn Baptist Rd.
Devon, PA 19333

3. Haverford College Arboretum

www.haverford.edu/arboretum - This arboretum has 204 acres that include an 18-acre pinetum, which features 300 species of conifers and is part of a 2.2 mile long trail encircling the campus.

370 Lancaster Ave.
Haverford, PA 19041

4. Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens winter lights Photo Courtesy of www.pigmentsky.com

Longwood Gardens winter lights
Photo Courtesy of www.pigmentsky.com

Mostly recognized for its Christmas lights spectacle, Longwood Gardens has much more to offer even after the lights have been taken down. Visitors can expect live music, fountain and light shows, fireworks and theatrical events throughout the year on this massive 350 acre property. In addition to the entertainment, Longwood Gardens has a 4-acre heated conservatory where 5,000 blooming orchids are displayed from January 25 to March 30.  Other indoor displays include the Mediterranean Garden and the Estate Fruit House, while outdoors The Topiary Garden boasts 50 yews trimmed into 20 geometric shapes.  

Route 1
Kennett Square, PA 19348

5. Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Steel giant, Henry Phipps, generously donated this land to his city in 1893 and today it is one of the countries oldest and largest Victorian "glass houses."  Highlighting this property is the Tropical Forest India exhibit, which includes an Ayurvedic healing garden accompanied by spice and tea market displays.

1059 Shady Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

6. The Scott Arboretum

This 330-acre arboretum is located on the Swarthmore College campus.  The main highlights of their winter garden are the highly textured bark of River Birch (Betula nigra) and my personal favorite, Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum).  Visitors can explore the garden by themselves, or take one of the tours that is free and open to the public.

500 College Ave.
Swarthmore, PA 19802

Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum) - Courtesy of www.rbge.org.uk

Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum) -
Courtesy of www.rbge.org.uk

7. The Morris Arboretum

www.upenn.edu/arboretum - The official state arboretum, it is located on the University of Pennsylvania campus. During your visit you might encounter various plant species from 27 countries, an Asian inspired temperate species display, or beautiful Victorian architectural elements.  Among some of the plant species on display are : 157 witch hazels (Hamamelis spp.), dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), and Koehne holly (Ilex x koehneana).

100 E.Northwestern Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19118



8. Temple University Ambler Landscape Arboretum

www.ambler.temple.edu - First established as the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for women in 1910, now the 187-acre campus has a unique mix of planned and natural scenery.  The newly added Albright Winter Garden displays plant species which create seasonal interest from November to March.  Some of them include the fragrant sweet box (Sarcococca ruscifolia), Oregon grape holly (Mahonia spp.), and (Sedum spp.).

580 Meetinghouse Rd.
Ambler, PA 19002

Oregon grape holly (Mahonia aquifolium) - Courtesy of www.goingtoseedinzone5.wordpress.com

Oregon grape holly (Mahonia aquifolium) - Courtesy of www.goingtoseedinzone5.wordpress.com

9. Tyler Arboretum

www.tylerarboretum.org - If you're an avid hiker, this is the perfect place for you. With 20 miles of woodland trails sprawled over 650-acres, you might need more than one day to explore this PA garden. Bring your binoculars because the National Audubon Society has designated the land as an important bird area. In addition, the arboretum has some of the oldest trees in the region, including nine state champions.

515 Painter Rd.
Media, PA 19063

10. Winterthur Museum and Gardens

www.winterthur.orgAlthough it is situated just across the PA border in Delaware, this garden is close enough to home to warrant a visit.  Mostly known for the large collection of American antiques in the museum, it also offers picturesque landscapes and serene gardens to explore.  

5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE 19735