Not so well in the rain and cold! But the warm weather has arrived, just a month past its due date. If you’re like me, you’ve been gardening anyway, dodging storms and frost. My grass has grown and everything is really green. Now its time for some serious inspiration! Our area is rich with stunning private gardens, behind split rail fences and stone walls. You might catch a glimpse of some driving on the back roads. Fortunately, I’ve found many public gardens within reach that inspire, teach and engage. Each of my favorites hosts holiday and event programming, but exploring the permanent gardens can kick any garden up a notch:

The Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Garden: 28 Deveau Road, North Salem

Seeking peace and tranquility in your life? Look no further than this gem! Created by world traveler Natalie Hays Hammond, the Japanese Stroll Garden was designed to promote global awareness, bringing together Eastern and Western culture through plantings and garden design. Over the years, classes, lectures, art, dance and dramatic performances have been added.

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Why I love it: Because the vibe is so Zen-like and restorative. Even kids feel their mood change walking through the stroll garden. There are great ideas for Eastern plantings that survive and thrive in our zone. The art exhibits, programming and tea house are just a bonus, making this a fantastic, accessible diversion.

Stonecrop Gardens: 81 Stonecrop Lane, Cold Spring

Another garden treat, formerly the private gardens of Anne and Frank Cabot. Becoming a public garden in 1992, it is a treasured resource for garden enthusiasts. The impeccable gardens include: woodland, water, grass, stone, a classic English-style flower garden and conservatory. Why I love it: At an elevation of 1,100 feet, it is a gorgeous slice of the Hudson Highlands. Self-guided tours are perfect for learning about plantings for our zone and how to garden creatively with stones and rocks, so prevalent in Westchester and Putnam Counties – and so challenging for the weekend gardener like me!

Lasdon Park & Arboretum: 2610 Amawalk Road, Katonah

So much going on here! Monarch Meadow, Lasdon Memorial Garden and the Lasdon Lilac Collection could be enough, but there is more: Chinese Friendship Garden, the Veteran’s Museum plus gardening tips abound through the extensive plant database, which helps home gardeners make smart choices for their garden and zone.

Why I love it:

Because who doesn’t love American Chestnuts? Lasdon has an entire American Chestnut Grove! And they are developing disease-resistant chestnut trees after near extinction in Westchester County—who knew?

Untermyer Gardens Conservancy: 954 North Broadway, Yonkers

This is a stunning classic garden brought back from near-ruin on the grounds of Greystone, Samuel Untermyer’s estate. A prominent lawyer and businessman, Untermyer was a passionate gardener who personally designed much of the landscape. In partnership with the City of Yonkers, the gardens were resurrected, and while still a work in progress, can inform and inspire gardeners of all abilities.

Why I love it:

Because I remember it in ruin and could not envision its past or future glory; and The Temple of Love, a restored rock garden and waterfall overlooking the Hudson River and the Palisades. The scale of this garden makes it more aspirational than most, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

NYBG--The New York Botanical Garden: 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx

Established in 1891, NYBG is quite simply the preeminent garden resource. A National Historic Landmark with over 50 gardens, including the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, Enid Haupt Conservatory and Daffodil Hill, this year around educational space can make an expert out of any weekend gardener. Why I love it: Because it’s easily accessed by car or public transportation and once there you feel like you’re a million miles from home. The Garden Conservancy: POB 219 Cold Spring, NY Not a garden to visit but a resource for garden education, preservation and volunteering.

Why I love it:

Because it’s a treasure in our local community, for our global community and when have we needed this more than now? They preserve gardens and facilitate Open Garden Days.