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In Search Of Exotic Gardens

(Gina Pace/CBS)
I like gardens as well as the next man, as long as somebody else is doing the gardening. Which makes me the perfect candidate for visiting, rather than tilling gardens. These last two weeks of summer are a fine time to visit gardens and enjoy a last shot of summer flowers and greenery before the clean-up crew that is fall starts to tear down the party.

The nation's official garden is the United States Botanic Garden on Capital Hill in Washington, D.C., where I'm happy to report that Aechmea fasciata, the Silver Vase Bromeliad, is presently in bloom. I don't generally fly across the country for bromeliads, even silver ones, but I might make an exception in this case if they don't require me to do any raking or weeding.

There are five National Tropical Botanical Gardens, three of which are on the Garden Island of Kauai. I have had several visits to the glorious Allerton Garden there, a former estate with waterfalls, streams, and amazing plantings. It is located on the west side of the island, not far from the Poipu resort area and next to the McBryde Garden.

But any great garden will do to remind us of the sheer beauty of summer. I'm thinking about Butchart Gardens, fifty acres worth of beautiful flowers and English-style plantings on Vancouver Island in Canada. And the International Rose Test Garden that sits high on a hill above Portland, Oregon and features amazing views of both petals and the city below. And the pretty, little Japanese garden in Manito Park in Spokane, Washington, with its koi pond and peaceful benches. And – what the heck, we can dream – Versailles and the castles of Scotland.

Can you offer some tips on gardens to visit in your neck of the woods?

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