If you’re looking for a perfect place to “stop and smell the roses” per say, then you need to make a visit to the Mid-South’s most peaceful place, the South’s number one garden, Memphis Botanical Gardens. There are over 96 acres of sweeping vistas, encompassing lakes and woodlands, and display gardens like the renowned Japanese Garden of tranquility and the famous Sensory Garden, which was designed for people with disabilities. Take a walk along the Hosta Trail with your lover, or peruse around the entertaining children’s garden – The Big Backyard — with your family. The over 250,000 annual visitors love the fact that there’s something blooming at all times of the year here at MBG. There are a whopping 23 specialty gardens here; all provide a comprehensive look into various species of plants, flowers, & trees. In fact, many gardens make up the Top Ten Attractions at MBG list. List is based on visitor reviews, public tourist data & travel company feedback.
1. Anne Heard Stokes Butterfly Garden
The garden incorporates a variety of plants all designed to attract butterflies. Parsley, fennel and chives all act as food for butterfly larvae; and Passion Vine and Red Honeysuckle, known as “Mardi Gras,” polish the arbor for refined rainbow colors and graceful fragrance. A true sensory experience, the Butterfly Garden at MBG is one of the most popular in the country and blooms from early Spring through the entire Fall! Butterflies fill the area during that time as well.
2. Japanese Garden of Tranquility (Seijaku-En)
Created by a famous Japanese designer, the beach garden oasis displays real Japanese Koi, many Japanese plants, turtles and an impressive variety of Bamboo species and sculptures. Legend has it that if one walks by the lake at dusk in a Japanese garden, a water sprite will pop up to greet you. He’ll try to get you wet with water from his hat, but if you bow to him, he’ll bow back and all the water will drain from his hat! The beach garden is gorgeous during any season.
3. My Big Backyard Children’s Garden
Something for the tykes and tots, the children’s garden is ranked by many horticulturists and plant-fanciers as one of the top three in the nation. The little ones will enjoy many things here, birthday and campfire parties, art classes, Caterpillar Club, Fairy Camp, Weird Science classes (*MBG’s most popular attraction for kids) and more!
4. Adult Art Classes and Workshops
A hands-in-the-mud learning opportunity for adults to sink their teeth (and creativity) into, the art classes include everything from painting and drawing to oils and self-portraits, to horticultural therapy, photography and First Aid for Plants! All classes are taught by certified professionals!
5. Silver Jewelry Workshop
This adult program is constantly filled to the brim as jewelry-making has become the norm in so many a city across the country. With the birth of Troll beads and “beading,” as a new hobby, many women in particular patronize this pretty presentation.
6. The Holly Hike
The Holly Collection at MBG is one of the most extensive found in any public garden as it is actually the collection of Barbara Taylor, the former President of the International Holly Society. Situated on Audubon Lake, the Holly Hike features rare and exotic species as well as traditional ones.
7. The Prehistoric Plant Trail
Who would’ve thought you could actually still witness prehistoric plants in bloom? As mystical as they are beautiful, the trail’s collection includes the amazing dinosaur statues, a cave, dig pit, play structure and more for the kiddos, plus ferns, palms, magnolias and other prehistoric plants for the adults.
8. Wildflower Woodland
With woodland plants native to the Southeastern US, Wildflower Woodland is one heck of a sight. The blooming period is March through April so be sure you stop in during Spring.
9. Concert Series at MBG
Bringing in famous talent like Al Green is not uncommon at a botanical garden, at least not at any competitor of MBG. The Al Green show is famous here in Tennessee. Some of the other line-ups include REO Speedwagon and Diana Ross! There are tables available for purchase to get up close and regular lawn seats. It’s a great view no matter where you sit! Plus you can order from a full menu whatever you want to eat or drink! Talk about class!
10. W.C. Paul Arboretum
Another visitor favorite, the Arboretum is filled to the brim, practically overflowing with life’s most basic form of pure beauty and breathless air: trees.
Memphis Botanic Garden
750 Cherry Road
Memphis, TN 38117
Phone: (901) 576-4100