Nothing is better than spending the day outside surrounded in the beauty of nature. Walking through a botanical garden can be relaxing, invigorating and a fun, learning experience. Arkansas is the Natural State, and our mild winters allow us to have quite a few great botanical gardens. During the spring and summer, these places come alive with color and life.
Many botanical gardens feature native plants, so you can learn a little about the flora of the state while being surrounded by nature. A few of these gardens are in Little Rock city limits or close enough to make a quick trip. Garvan Gardens in Hot Springs is just a few hours away, but Wildwood Park is in the city. Even if you're staying in downtown, you can take a trip to the Arkansas Historic Museum and see their herbal garden. You could also consider the Gardens at the Old Mill.
The Old Mill, a replica of an 1800’s grist-mill most recognized as the last standing structure from the classic 1939 film, Gone with the Wind, is located in North Little Rock. While it's technically a city park, they have pretty impressive gardens on the property. The Old Mill is the sole award winner from Arkansas in TripSavvy's 2018 Historic Attractions category,
- Location: 3800 Lakeshore Drive, North Little Rock
- Phone: (501) 791-8538
This 210-acre park is located near Hot Springs National Park. The gardens showcase floral landscapes, free-flowing streams, and waterfalls, as well as architectural structures in a natural woodland setting. There's also a Japanese Garden, many rare shrubs and flowers, and rock gardens.
- Location: 498 Arkridge Road, Hot Springs National Park
- Phone: (501) 262-2711 or (888) 530-6873
This 86-acre site currently includes seasonal plantings in a small area, a meadow where you can spot wildlife, a lakeside hiking trail, and a self-guided tree identification tour. The master plan for the site includes a more impressive planted garden. However, it's worth looking at in its current state.
- Location: 4703 N. Crossover Road, Fayetteville
- Phone: (479) 750-2620
This garden has 33 acres of hardwood trees, select native plants, and ever-changing flora. They have woodlands, meadows, hillsides and rock settings. You can also see some native wildlife.
- Location: 1537 Co Road 210, Eureka Springs
- Phone: (501) 253-9244
The Arboretum is dedicated to preserving the native, rare, and economically important flora of the West Gulf Coastal Plain region of the United States. It's a great place for seeing lots of native trees, flowers and birds and a few exotic flowers and trees too.
- Location: 1506 Mt Holly Rd, El Dorado
- Phone: (870) 862-8131
Wildwood's gardens are located on 105 acres with a mission to celebrate the arts and nature. The gardens of Wildwood include the pavilion daffodil garden, which is a spring daffodil and a flowering tree garden. You can also find The Richard C. Butler Arboretum featuring natural woodland plants, the Bruce Garden featuring native perennials, ferns and grasses, the Doris Gay Asian Garden, the Hunter's Glen and the BOP Water Garden. The gardens are located in Chenal Valley, just a 20-minute drive from downtown Little Rock.
- Location: 20919 Denny Road, Little Rock
- Phone: (501) 821-7275
This is an interesting garden in that it's made to mimic a 19th-century garden. Descendants of early settlers were interviewed and research was done on plants and garden style. Various vignette gardens are interlaced among curvilinear walks and large shade trees to create the mood for the historic mansion.
- Location: 400 S Walton Boulevard, Bentonville
- Phone: (501) 273-9664
While not a garden in its purest sense, the Historic Arkansas Museum's tour has lots of great plants to look at. Most notable is the medicinal herb garden. It features native and imported plants used by settlers and native Americans for healing. It is located outside of the Woodruff Print Shop.
- Location: 200 E 3rd Street, Little Rock
- Phone: (501) 324-9351
The Capitol grounds include many flowering plants, but the most impressive are the rose gardens. The Capitol boasts over 1,500 rose bushes in two gardens. They also have beautiful cherry blossoms for a few weeks of the year.
- Location: 500 Woodlane Street, Little Rock
- Phone: (501) 682-3000
It's not your traditional garden, but leave it to a water bottling company to say, "Forget the soil." The Mountain Valley Spring Water company has some hydroponic gardens on their tour showing how plants can be grown in natural mineral water without soil.
- Location: 150 Central Avenue, Hot Springs National Park
- Phone: (501) 246-8017