Photo Ops Galore: Virginia’s Best Flower Locations

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens is a 95-acre reminder to stop and smell the roses. As well as the lilacs, dogwoods, irises, azaleas, wildflowers, and so many other petaled surprises. And that is only the springtime show. All year long there is a standing invitation at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens to spend an hour (or longer) recharging at this flora and fauna escape. Plus, there is a fairy tale garden at this Vienna, Virginia location. Talk about photos ops!

The setting is idyllic. There are two gazebos, an island bridge, cherry trees, an herb garden, and three lakes. Think of it as Mother Nature naming Meadowlark Botanical Gardens to the universe’s Best Dressed List.

Walking among the local flora, fauna, forests, and lakes

@AnnTran_ in front of red and white flowers with tall trees in the background.

This woodsy area is perfectly picturesque as is. But wait, there’s more! I saw this landscape change from a yellow carpet of daffodils one week to a bloom-filled field of hostas three weeks later. In the above photo, the shade loving hostas are right at home and serve as the perfect backdrop for the red and white flowers. As I write this, I’m sure more colors have emerged. Truthfully, I would not have been surprised to stumble across some frolicking fawns and a majestic unicorn basking under a ray of sunshine. It’s that kind of place. (Talk about a photo op!)

In actuality, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens’ wending paths offer views of the local flora and fauna, as well as the Piedmont hills, the Korean Bell Garden, and a restored 18th Century log cabin. Just as an FYI, you won’t believe the abundance of beautiful foliage along the lakes and through the woodlands

Where did you take this photo?

The author under a spray of cherry blossoms next to a lake.

The most frequent question I get asked on Instagram is “Where is this location?” I guess lots of us are searching for the perfect photo op. It might surprise you, but these delicate cherry blossoms make their home in Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. Don’t you love catching the cherry blossoms without the crowds traffic? Especially during COVID. Well, then my friend, you must make Meadowlark Botanical Gardens part of your viewing itinerary next spring.

Timing the flower trails

What I especially like about this park is the changing landscape, almost on a weekly basis. Best to go as frequently as possible to scope out photo ops. Timing is everything, but sometimes one cannot gauge Mother Nature’s schedule of blooms.

@AnnTran_ enjoying the view of peonies from her spot on a bench.

Plus, you will get a lot of steps in on the flower trails. (I aim for 10,000 per day.) If you are a flower lover like I am, you will love all the new flora and photo ops each visit.

Bridges to beauty

There are no shortages of benches and cute settings to take in Mother Nature’s show. A bridge offers the perfect place to ponder the beauty of it all. There’s something about running water that is mentally soothing as well as stimulating, and that’s a wonderful combination.

At first glance, you may think it a bit sparse. Upon closer look, you’ll discover so many unique flowers and designs at every turn. I couldn’t believe the deep purple of the irises. Don’t think I’ve ever seen such a shade. There are incredibly colorful birds that I have not seen in my garden, even though my backyard backs up to a forest. I wonder if the provided collection of fauna is intended to entice these fabulously feathered creatures. I will inquire with the staff on my next visit.

About that fairy tale garden

The author amid the ferns and hostas of Meadowlark Botanical Gardens.

You may love this backdrop of the fairy tale garden. When you have the opportunity to visit, Mother Nature will not only roll out the welcome mat she will surprise you with her other masterpieces of verdure and floras of different coastal regions.

Make it springtime

Spring is definitely the best time to maximize your tour here. What a great place for a stroll and to learn all about the horticulture. Not surprisingly, this is a popular wedding venue and spot for engagement photos. Other reasons to love Meadowlark Botanical Gardens include the easy parking, the spaciousness, and the extreme quiet at almost any time of the day.

Some small print

Since I visit here quite often, I have no problem paying the $50 entrance fee, which includes 2 passes plus 2 guess passes. I see it as a contribution to garden maintenance. They also have a box for you to contribute at each visit.

Looking for additional gardens to visit in the D.C. metro area? You may want to peruse my

10 Best Washington, D.C. Gardens – and When to Visit Them

What are some of your favorite public gardens? Do you have a favorite flower? Please share your insider info with us.


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