Secret Gardens

DAY 1

Along the Potomac River and all throughout Fairfax County lies one of the best kept secrets and hidden attractions of Northern Virginia - a collection of gardens groomed by master horticulturalists that tell the story of the history and natural beauty of Virginia.

Begin your day at River Farm, located just off of the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway, where you will find a lovely array of blooming daffodils, tulips, azaleas, mountain laurel, dogwoods, lilies and herbs (especially in the months between April and June). River Farm is acclaimed for its magnificent vistas that stretch down to the Potomac River, as well as its children's gardens, beautiful four-acre meadow, and of course those colorful flowers. River Farm also functions as the home of the American Horticultural Society, so be sure to check the calendar for many special events happening here throughout the year. A bit of history lives here, too - River Farm was once owned by George Washington as one of his five original farms.

Further north, stop by Historic Green Spring Gardens, a must-see for garden lovers and also a national historic site that offers glimpses into a rich history with colonial origins. This "outdoor classroom" is ideal for families and kids to learn about plants and wildlife, or for adults to learn new gardening and landscaping skills. Green Spring is home to over 20 thematic demo gardens, has a greenhouse filled with tropicals, is surrounded by a wooded stream valley with ponds, and fabulous gift shops and libraries filled with items to bring home. Let Green Spring Gardens educate, inspire and delight you! Don't forget to stop by the Historic Green Spring Manor House for one of their popular tea programs.

Next, make your way up north to Vienna, home to one of the loveliest botanical gardens in the region - Meadowlark Gardens. With its recent addition of an authentic Korean Bell Garden - the only one of its kind in the Western Hemisphere - Meadowlark Gardens is truly a hidden treasure of Fairfax County. Walking trails, lakes, more than 20 varieties of cherry trees, irises, peonies, an extensive shade garden, native wildflowers, gazebos, birds, butterflies, seasonal blooms and foliage among 95 acres create a sanctuary of beauty and nature.

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