While the Sunshine State may be best known for its sun and sand, its pleasant climate lends itself perfectly to lush gardens overflowing with colorful flora and fauna. From a tropical oasis in the middle of the city to bubbling natural springs surrounded by wildflowers, these are some of Orlando‘s most picturesque garden scenes.
Harry P. Leu Gardens
Founded in 1961, the Harry P. Leu Gardens consist of 50 acres of lush greenery packed with both temperate and tropical plants. From flowering trees to majestic oaks to twisting vines, these gardens are outstandingly beautiful throughout. The winding pathways take visitors through the gardens, showcasing over forty different plant collections. This is also where you will find the largest rose garden in Florida, as well as an exciting butterfly garden. Guided tours of the gardens are available, or visitors can also stroll through themselves, using their smartphones to scan the QR codes on many of the plant signs for more information about that specific collection of plants.
Loch Haven Park
Covering 45 acres, Loch Haven Park is a scenic expanse of greenery in the middle of Orlando. The park is home to a number of museums, but, when you just want some peace and quiet in a garden, there are plenty of spots to go that you can have all to yourself. The area around the park’s three sparkling lakes make for some great walks, and is also where you will find The Mayor, one of the largest oak trees in Central Florida. For those wanting to relax with a picnic, the center of the park is covered with a lush lawn, and surrounded by majestic oak trees that provide just the right amount of shade.
Wekiwa Springs State Park
The Wekiwa Springs State Park is an idyllic oasis surrounded by the urban sprawl of metropolitan Orlando. The beautiful vistas that you will find here will give you an idea of what Central Florida was like when the Timucuan Indians used to fish and hunt in the area, and there are thirteen miles of trails for visitors to explore. Whether you walk, bike, or horseback ride, the natural beauty all around is awe-inspiring, and nothing beats cooling down by taking a dip in one of the crystal clear natural springs.
Mead Botanical Garden
A 48-acre urban oasis, the Mead Botanical Garden is situated near to the Harry P. Leu Gardens, making it easy to explore both on the same day. The Mead Botanical Garden is home to not only cultivated gardens, but also to many natural areas, such as the wetlands near Howell’s Creek, as well as the upland pine ecosystem. The Legacy Garden is where you will find a historic collection of orchids, begonias, cycads and much more, while the Camellia Garden is home to a Camellia collection that would impress just about anyone. Their two butterfly gardens incorporate both annual and perennial plants to naturally feed and shelter the butterflies, while the Native Plant Collections are definitely worth a visit, especially if you are looking for some ideas on plants that you can bring into your own Florida home.
Orlando is home to some incredible garden scenes, from the wild beauty of the Wekiwa Springs State Park to the manicured lawns of Loch Haven Park. The next time you find yourself in Orlando, do make some time to explore these stunning gardens – you definitely won’t regret it.
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