USA Botanical Gardens
Spring has sprung! Time to stop and smell the roses, no seriously, get outside for some vital vitamin D while enjoying the floral fragrant of the garden. Nature is inspiring and recharging, and visiting a garden is one of the most available and accessible ways to get immersed in it. America is full of gardens, locally, regionally, and internationally known. Here’s a look at some of the grandest gardens in America.
One of the best locations to maintain a lush garden year-round is the state of Florida—no surprise there. Florida has a number of impressive gardens, and one of them is the Naples Botanical Garden with a whooping one-hundred and seventy acres filled with ADA accessible paths and access into the “Birding Tower.” The state of Hawaii also has the perfect climate for consistently happy plants, though much more remote than Florida. If you happen to find yourself in Wahiaia, Hawaii, visit the Pineapple Garden, if only for the food alone. A pineapple-shaped labyrinth is displayed in the center and has firm gravel pathways, but if the maze is too much, then see it from afar on the train. The “family cab” on the Pineapple Express can accommodate one wheelchair, scooter, or power wheelchair; preboarding is at area P1, and though advanced notice is appreciated it’s not required.
In the Northeast, bask in the Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts. The garden has a convenient accessible drop-off area and about fifteen handicapped parking spots (half van accessible). For those seeking a low sensory, less crowded environment, doors open a half hour early on Wednesday mornings from 9:30am-10am. By April 2022, Tower Hill Botanic Garden will complete its wheelchair access expansion that includes several areas. Currently, there is about a mile of paved pathways, along with a garden designed specifically for visually impaired and mobility challenged guests. This “Garden Within Reach” uses universal design principles, the garden contains a tactile planter, tactile fountain, raised beds, movable beds, and a display of accessible gardening tools. Furthermore, Tower Hill Botanic Garden has partnered with the nonprofit organization, HMEA’s Autism Resource Central, to host “Sensory-Friendly Evenings” this summer (June 15, 6-9 p.m. | July 13, 6-9 p.m. | August 10, 6-8 p.m.).