Why I Wrote The Ultimate Guide to America’s Garden Capital

My name is Julicia, I’m obsessed with gardens, and I’ve traveled to all the gardens in America’s Garden Capital. The greater Philadelphia area is known as America’s Garden Capital because it is home to over 30 botanical gardens in a 30-mile radius. These gardens are spread out amongst three different states: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. There’s more gardens in this 30-mile radius than anywhere in North America. It’s pretty fantastic when you think about it.

Hortulus Farm, Garden, & Nursery

click to read the ultimate guide to AGC

My journey of touring the different gardens throughout America’s Garden Capital (AGC) began in 2019. It all started with Chanticleer. The AGC initiative had just began, and I saw little green booklets called passports at the welcome gazebo at Chanticleer. I picked up a passport, and I was in awe to see how extensive the list of gardens was. I never knew that there were so many horticultural gems in my area! I rifled through the passport – some of the locations, like Morris Arboretum, I had visited several times. But there were others, like Mt. Cuba Center that I had never heard of before. The little book encouraged me to “collect stamps, stickers, code words, and staff signatures” at every garden. I decided to do just that.

My AGC passport

As of June 2023, I’ve visited every single garden open to the public that was listed in the original 2019 AGC Passport. That’s 35 gardens! You can take a peek inside my passport as of May 2021 and view all of the stamps, code words, and signatures I’ve collected.

click to see my passport

More gardens are continually added every year, and I’ve visited most of the new ones as well. Over the years, I also become a Plantfluencer (plant + influencer 😉) for AGC. I’ve made friends with local horticulturalists, toured the grounds with experts, and I am blessed to have acquired a wide range of knowledge about botanical treasures in the Philadelphia area. I want to share everything I’ve learned and seen with you, my readers.

So, I feel excited to announce that today begins the start of a new blog series where I tell you all about my travels throughout America’s Garden Capital!

Chanticleer, a pleasure gardenChanticleer, a pleasure garden

Longwood GardensLongwood Gardens


Jenkins ArboretumJenkins Arboretum

I’ve posted photos of the gardens I’ve visited on Instagram. Yet, Instagram is so impermanent, and it’s not an easily searchable platform. I wanted to have one go-to resource on my website where folks who are interested in the gardens of AGC can get the information they need. Just call me the Millennial Monty Don 😉

I visited these gardens over the span of four years, from 2019-2023. I’ll always tell you the date that I visited a particular garden in each blog for your reference. Gardens change over time, so a place that I visited in 2021 may look very different when you visit in 2024.

When there’s an accompanying YouTube video or Instagram reel, I’ll add a link to it in the blog. But keep in mind that Instagram sometimes sporadically deletes creators’ reels or removes the audio for no apparent reason. I’ve lost a handful of reels this way before. It’s really irksome, but there’s nothing I can do about it. That’s why this blog series is so important to me. I own my website and the content on it. And my descriptions of the gardens won’t be limited to a teeny tiny Instagram caption box.

read the ultimate guide to AGC

I’ll be posting photos of all the botanical gardens I’ve visited except for one — Henry Botanic Garden. Photography is not allowed there since it’s technically a private residence. The owner asked that I not publicly post any of the photos I took, and I will be respecting her wishes. Instead, I did a watercolor sketch of that landscape, and I’ll describe my day at Henry Botanic Garden as vividly as I can.Barnes Arboretum at Saint Joseph's UniversityBarnes Arboretum at Saint Joseph’s University

Grounds For SculptureGrounds For Sculpture

Below is a list of all the gardens listed on the America’s Garden Capital website. After I publish a blog post, I will hyperlink the name of the garden so you can click that name and be taken right to the blog. I’ve already written a few blogs, which you can check out below. My plan is to finish writing each garden’s blog by June 2024.*

Enjoy, my friends!

click to read the garden guides

The Gardens of America’s Garden Capital

Brandywine Valley

1. Brandywine River Museum of Art

2. Hagley Museum and Library

3. Longwood Gardens

4. Mt. Cuba Center

5. Nemours Estate

6. Welkinweir

7. Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library

Bucks County

8. Andalusia Historic House, Gardens and Arboretum

9. Bowman’s Hill Garden Wildflower Preserve

10. The Gardens at Mill Fleurs

11. Henry Schmieder Arboretum at Delaware Valley University

12. Hortulus Farm

13. Tyler Formal Gardens

Main Line & Delaware County

14. Appleford

15. Barnes Arboretum at Saint Joseph’s University

16. Chanticleer

17. Haverford College Arboretum

18. Henry Botanic Garden

19. Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens

20. Scott Arboretum

21. Stoneleigh: a natural garden

22. Tyler Arboretum

Montgomery County

23. Ambler Arboretum
24. The Highlands Mansion & Garden
25. PHS Meadowbrook Farm

New Jersey

26. Barton Arboretum and Nature Preserve of Medford Leas
27. Grounds For Sculpture
28. Camden Children’s Garden – I suspect this closed after the pandemic. I have emailed and called multiple times and never received a response about hours of operation.

Philadelphia County

29. The Arboretum at Laurel Hill
30. Awbury Arboretum
31. Bartram’s Garden
32. James G. Kaskey Memorial Park
33. Morris Arboretum & Gardens
34. Philadelphia Zoo
35. Shofuso
36. The Woodlands
37. Wyck Historic House, Garden, Farm
38. Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion – Victorian House and Gardens

*Date updated

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