Pennsylvania Tourism Workplace Sprouts New Backyard-themed Street Journey

The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh is one of the stops along the new “Best … [+] Buds: A Garden Trail “in Pennsylvania.

Paul G. Wiegman

The Pennsylvania Tourist Board has planted the seeds for a new road trip highlighting the most beautiful flora in the Commonwealth.

The “Best Buds: A Garden Trail” was presented in early June at the Philadelphia Flower Show 2021 in FDR Park and is designed as a self-guided road trip through the gardens and arboretums of Keystone State.

“Pennsylvania’s gardens and arboretums are steeped in history as well as beauty,” said Michael Chapaloney, executive director of tourism for the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, of the trail. “Our locations include the oldest botanical gardens in North America, arboretums built by America’s first US forester, and others associated with titans of industrial and cultural importance.”

As part of a new garden path, Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania offers over 1,100 acres … [+] Gardens and woods.

Becca Mathias Photography

With 21 stations, the “Best Buds: A Garden Trail” takes visitors along a route through four large areas in Pennsylvania. They are Philadelphia and the surrounding countryside, Pittsburgh and Central Pennsylvania.

Chapaloney noted that this burgeoning path coincided with a renewed public interest in nature amid the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2020.

“The timing was perfect, with interest in the outdoors at an all-time high that coincides with the fact that Pennsylvania has some of the greatest and most unique gardens in the country,” added Chapaloney.

The “Best Buds: A Garden Trail” includes well-known spots and lesser-known gems, the locations of which also lead visitors to absolute detours such as the Penn State Berkey Creamery in University Park and Tröegs Independent Brewing in Hershey.

Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Philadelphia is a well-known location along “Best Buds: A Garden”. … [+] Path.”

Elizabeth Felicella

Stops are Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square; Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden in Pittsburgh; Hershey Gardens, Chanticleer in Wayne; Ashcombe in Mechanicsburg; Bartrams Gardens in Philadelphia; Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, also in Philadelphia, Mount Assisi Gardens, on the edge of Saint Francis University, in Loretto, and the Allegheny Arboretum, at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana.

While all of these gardens are known for their visual plantings, their backstories have strong roots.

Pittsburgh’s From Slavery to Freedom Garden pays tribute to the transatlantic slave trade that forcibly brought thousands of Africans to North America on slave ships by highlighting how they used horticulture as a resource in this new country. This garden is adorned with plants from forests and fields that have been used for food and medicinal purposes. Vegetables from home gardens were also grown here.

Hershey Gardens opened in 1937 and was founded at Milton Hershey’s request to create a rose … [+] Garden.

Brian Tillotson

Gardens can also have offers that appeal to visitors of all ages. At The Arboretum at Penn State in University Park, little ones can take part in activities at Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden, with a hidden passageway that’s big enough for adults too.

Since this is a self-guided itinerary, Chapaloney found that the “Best Buds: A Garden Trail” encourages visitors to stroll through these garden stops at their own pace.

“Our road trips and trails are just a suggestion, especially in the case of gardens that have three, if not four seasons,” said Chapaloney. “Some places are so great that it would be unfair for someone to feel rushed.

As for when to go on the trail, Chapaloney advised starting with off-season locations and also visiting those hosting special events or exhibitions. “If flowering is your passion – tulips, roses or chrysanthemums – travel during the flowering period or explore your travels for festivals or other not-to-be-missed events.”

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