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Flower Power: 5 Historic Hotels with Magnificent Gardens

Wednesday Apr 17, 2019
The Broadmoor
The Broadmoor  (Source:Historic Hotels of America)

Historic Hotels of America has announced its annual list of celebrated gardens among their collection of more than 360 legendary historic hotels. Here are our top picks.

Mohonk Mountain House (1869) New Paltz, New York
The formal ornamental gardens at Mohonk Mountain House, designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, were designed to fit into what was described as 'the picturesque or romantic style' of landscape gardening: irregular in form, with variety and boldness of composition, and a scenery of a more rugged nature.

One of the outstanding features of the gardens is the combination of sweeping lawns and open vistas with stately trees as focal points, surrounded by spectacular rocky cliffs. Various paths invite guests to wander beyond the formal area and into the rose, herb, and cutting gardens. Cedar-made pergolas, arbors, benches, and summerhouses handcrafted by Mohonk's rustic carpenters over the past 150 years, enhance the natural aspects of the Mohonk landscape.

In honor of the 150th anniversary in 2019, 20,000 tulip bulbs were planted and will be blooming April until mid-May. In honor of the anniversary, this year's show garden theme is "Garden Jubilation." It will be a study of classic Victorian cake tiered bedding style with a modern twist. Larger scale plants graduate to shorter bedding flowers in various sections of the garden. Both solid bed plantings and unique combinations are used throughout. Guests can view many classic Victorian annuals as well as many modern varieties.

Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan
Designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Grand Hotel's grounds feature over 25 planted gardens that account for over one and a half acres of maintained garden beds.

The tour of Grand Hotel's extensive gardens should always begin with the world-famous Front Porch. Measuring 660 feet in length, the hotel's Front Porch is the world's longest and completely lined from one end to the other with signature Americana red geraniums - 1,375 geraniums in 147 planting boxes and 12 yards of planting soil. Grand Hotel uses more than 2,500 geraniums in all its flower beds. Other gardens that can be seen from the front porch include the Tea Garden right below the hotel.

The Tea Garden is home to the beautiful historic English stone fountain, horse and carriage topiary and a historic meandering stone wall lined with cedars and gardens. The Wedding Garden is adjacent to the Tea Garden, and the rose walk lines the west path to the pool and wooded areas. The Triangle Gardens are viewed walking up the hotel and are the most photographed of all the gardens. Guests should walk and view the East and West Garden Beds, The Labyrinth which is hidden adjacent to the pool, and the Pool Gardens. Margaret's Garden serves as the hotel's flower shop and provides fresh flowers throughout the hotel and for special occasions daily.

The majority of the gardens and surrounding areas have matured over the 132 years Grand Hotel has been established as "America's Summer Place."

The Broadmoor (1918) Colorado Springs, Colorado
The Broadmoor's gardens cover 35 acres. The landscaping and flowering gardens encourage guests to experience several different types of landscape, and the original European theme throughout the resort. As guests drive up the entrance to the main hotel, they view a formal garden with the hedged boxwoods and junipers and a water feature with water lilies blooming on top of the water surrounding the 10-acre lake.

In the springtime, over 18,000 daffodils and 25,000 pansies are planted. In the summer there are over 35,000 annual and 12,000 plants scattered in pots and hanging baskets around the resort. In addition to the flowers throughout, Broadmoor Farms grows organic vegetables, herbs, edible flowers and fruits for the award-winning Penrose Restaurant and other restaurants. Honey is produced on-site by the Broadmoor bees.

Ojai Valley Inn (1923) Ojai, California
Margaret Sears, celebrated landscape architect created the original gardens for Ojai Valley Inn, dating back to the 1930s. Sears also was responsible for the landscaping in the classic movie, Gone with the Wind. In 2008, Leland Walmsley, grandson of Sears followed in her footsteps and created an expansion to the Inn's original gardens. Six gardens were added, creating a tropical oasis. Included in the expansion was an organic vegetable garden for the Chef whose restaurant overlooks the restored native creek-side habitat and two outdoor wedding sites.

One of the most noted herbs at the Inn is the lavender that is found throughout the resort. Often used in wedding bouquets, lavender can be found planted in numerous places on the grounds and perfuming the air in the award-winning spa.

Royal Palms Resort and Spa (1948) Phoenix, Arizona
The grounds at the Royal Palms Resort feature whimsical stone walkways, manicured courtyards, hidden gardens and fountains. There are many lush gardens that can be found at this historic resort, including the Alegria Garden. This private outdoor garden is enclosed by four stone walls and surrounded by vibrant flowers and fragrant citrus trees, making it a great location for celebrating significant milestones. The Jardin D'Amore (Garden of Love) is a sumptuous garden nestled in a quiet, intimate area of the resort with gorgeous views of Camelback Mountain.

Spring 2019

This story is part of our special report titled "Spring 2019." Want to read more? Here's the full list.


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