L ouisiana’s subtropical climate and proximity to the Gulf of Mexico gives the state extended periods of warm weather and mild winters, creating an ideal environment for gardens. Spring is the best window for experiencing the sights and smells of the state’s flora.
Where better to experience Louisiana’s natural beauty than numerous botanical parks statewide? Visitors can see indigenous blooms such as magnolias (Louisiana’s state flower), irises, orchids, violets, Southern azaleas and wildflower species in a seemingly endless variety of colors.
Travelers will also find Louisiana gardens in both visually striking and organic settings such as formal gardens, Louisiana State Parks and antebellum plantation homes on the Mississippi River.
Discover a Sampling of Louisiana's Botanical Gardens:
Afton Villa Gardens in St. Francisville has more than 250 live oak trees and a large variety of azaleas.
The American Rose Center in Shreveport, the official home of the American Rose Society, has 20,000 rose varieties in 65 individual gardens.
• Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, a must-visit in Monroe is one of the most interesting Coca Cola museums and finest gardens in north Louisiana. Stop by for a $.05 Coke.
• Jungle Gardens on Avery Island is a 170-acre botanical park, part of the world-famous TABASCO® attraction (which has a new visitors’ center and restaurant). More than a garden, it is a bird sanctuary and egret rookery with live alligators, and a centuries-old Buddha statue.
• Longue Vue House and Gardens in New Orleans offers 14 garden areas featuring native and adaptable plant and tree varieties.
• The Louisiana State Arboretum State Preservation Area near Ville Platte has 300 acres of trees, plants and occasional wildlife that are indigenous to the state. Located within Chicot state park you can rent a cabin or a boat, or enjoy the view while fishing. Entrance is free.
• The New Orleans Botanical Garden at City Park features more than 2,000 plant varieties from around the world. Visit during one of their special events.
• R.W. Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport has a 15,000-plant garden, including 100 varieties of azaleas. Save some time to step into the art gallery for an extensive collection of art, from Americana to European. Admission is free.
• Rip Van Winkle Gardens is a series of gardens linked by paths that vary from 50 to 100 feet above sea level. The 25-acre area is located on Jefferson Island.
• Two antebellum plantations with extensive on-site gardens include Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site in St. Francisville and Houmas House Plantation in Darrow. Rosedown has a 28-acre maze-style garden that requires a map to successfully navigate. Houmas House has 38 acres of both native and exotic blooms, with numerous sitting areas for a more relaxed approach to enjoying the sights and aromas.
• Windrush Gardens at the Rural Life Museum in Baton Rouge offers 15 separate garden areas with a variety of native trees and plants amidst an acres-large museum of rural American life in the 18th and 19th centuries.