Quick! Get out while you can! The weather is perfect for walks in the park and gallivanting in the garden. Below we’ve highlighted six spots to put some spring in your step.
The Garden District
The name says it all. When it was originally laid out in the early 1800s, the city’s “American sector” was designed with only a few houses on each block, leaving the rest to expansive gardens. Now more densely populated, the area (technically bound by Louisiana Avenue to Carondelet Street and Josephine and Magazine streets) still wows with its giant oaks, oversized azaleas and gorgeous grounds. The St. Charles streetcar affords great views, but don’t just sit; get out and walk. The neighborhood’s beauty is best experienced up-close and on foot.
This 1,300-acre green space claims the world’s largest collection of mature live oak trees. The park’s Botanical Gardens feature more than 2,000 different plants from around the globe, along with the New Orleans Historic Train Garden, a miniature railroad exhibit with local landmarks constructed from botanical materials. At Roosevelt Mall and Marconi Drive, you’ll find massive wildflower fields.
The 1930s estate of Sears heiress Edith Stern and her philanthropist husband Edgar is just minutes from downtown—and a world apart. The Classical Revival mansion, a National Historic Landmark, is home to eight acres of pristine gardens and manicured grounds, designed by Ellen Biddle Shipman, the “dean of American women landscape architects.”
Erected on what was once crumbling wharves, this 1.4-mile riverfront promenade provides a nature escape on the edge of the French Quarter. In addition to sweeping views, the park offers a variety of native plantings, including irises, oaks and crepe myrtle trees.
With its numerous statues devoted to the city’s many music greats, it’s easy to overlook Armstrong’s Antique Rose Garden. To the right of the main entrance, over the lagoon, are more than 100 heirloom varieties, such as Fewell’s Noisette, Mary Washington and Alliance Franco-Russe.
Houmas House Plantation and Gardens
Again, it’s all in the name. “Our method of gardening is ‘jewel box,’” says Craig Black, who has been planting and pruning the stunning grounds of “the crown jewel of River Road” for more than four decades. “At every turn another gem is offered.” Spring and summer visitors will find the historic property a riot of color with angelonioa, begonias, blue daze, bromeliads, coleus, duranta, impatiens, orchids, salvia and zinnias in full bloom.