1561 Asylum Ave.
West Hartford, CT 06117
Elizabeth Park’s 101 acres straddle the Hartford-West Hartford town line and are covered with several stunning flower gardens. Its crown jewel is the 2.5-acre rose garden with 15,000 rose bushes. Created in 1904, Elizabeth Park is the oldest public garden in the country. Elizabeth Park also has a perennial garden, sections for tulips, irises and dahlias and a display with flowers arranged in the image of an American flag. When you are finished admiring all the flowers, stop in for a bite to eat at the park’s Pond House Cafe.
653 N. Salem Road
Ridgefield, CT 06877
Ridgefield’s Garden of Ideas is a peaceful eight-acre outdoor respite decorated with art sculptures and natural plant life set alongside a marsh. The year-round attraction is especially lovely to visit in the spring when the daisies, lilacs and tulips start to bloom. You can arrange a tour of the garden with owner Joseph Keller or take in the sights yourself at your own pace. The Garden of Ideas also hosts periodic children’s activities, healthy cooking classes and even yoga.
144 Oenoke Ridge
New Canaan, CT 06840
Among its many exhibits, the New Canaan Nature Center has multiple gardens for flower-peeping. The attractive wildflower garden is blooming with indigenous species like wild geranium, solomon’s plume and the colorful columbine, along with a few rare species. You’ll also spot Connecticut’s state flower, the mountain laurel. To get a peek at some monarchs and hummingbirds, walk over to the bird and butterfly garden, featuring black-eyed susans and coneflowers to lure the former and lupines which attract the latter. Finally, the herb garden has a section set aside for especially sweet-smelling flowers.
227 Mansfield St.
New Haven, CT 06511
Yale University’s botanical garden is located on the former estate of paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh, who donated his property to the school. Today, it is home to three greenhouses, for carnivorous, desert and tropical plants, and several outdoor gardens. The latter includes an array of wildflowers, as well as perennials such as gladiolus and calla lily. The garden also grows an assortment of Asian plants and flowers, such as the camellia, native to China and Japan. Although individual visitors are free to observe the collections themselves, The Marsh Botanical Garden also offers guided tours and occasionally hosts open house nights with refreshments and live music.
10 Oak Valley Road
Shelton, CT 06484
Situated on the grounds where the cabin of Herman and Lillian Eklund once stood, Eklund Garden is the prime spot to view flora particular to Connecticut. These flowers can be found in the main bed (the butterfly garden), which includes wild blue lupine, the sunflower species sneezeweed and the purplish daisy known as the New England aster. Climb the hill above the butterfly garden, and you’ll find the stiff-leaved aster, wild pink and the light blue wood Iris, as well as many berry-growing plants. Eklund Gardens has several trails for hiking and biking as well.
Related: Top National Parks Near Connecticut