Beautiful Blooms: Where to See Gorgeous Gardens in Williamsburg

Gaze at these plantings throughout the area — from formal to wild.

Thomas Jefferson came to Greater Williamsburg as a student at the College of William & Mary and later as governor and a resident of the Governor's Palace. Gardens were already flourishing throughout the area and Jefferson cultivated a love of plants over the rest of his life. 

See Diversity in One Place

A wildflower meadow. A butterfly garden. Wetlands. An herb garden. Native plantings. All that and more is on tap at the Williamsburg Botanical Garden. It’s one of the area’s secret gems in Freedom Park, a two-acre ellipse. Bring a lunch and dine under the pavilion at one of the picnic tables. What could be more inspiring.

Sink Into a Country View

Look west from William & Mary's Wren Building and you'll see the Sunken Garden, a place for relaxation and recreation based on 18th-century English landscape design. Sweeping lawns are intended to uplift the spirit by leading the eye toward a distant, natural setting. As you look toward the Sunken Garden from the steps of the Wren Building, note two very large and stately oaks along the walk, a willow oak to the south and a water oak to the north — likely the oldest trees on campus.

Thrills Among the Flowers

Mix in some thrills with your love of green at Busch Gardens, named the World's Most Beautiful Theme Park every year since 1990 by the National Amusement Park Historical Association. More than 30,000 plants and flowers are grown in the park's greenhouses for transplanting in more than 150 acres of gardens, walkways and flowerbeds. 

Stroll the Best of the Past

Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area offers more than 90 acres of green spaces and gardens. Be sure to see the complex of gardens adjacent to the Governor’s Palace. More than 26 other well-known historic and pleasure gardens, as well as kitchen gardens make the area a fine place to take a walk. 

Glimpse a Stubborn Invader

See an invader to the New World if you're in the area during the late spring into June — tall onions, known as allium — growing along the Colonial National Parkway and throughout Yorktown. The Yorktown Onion, as it is known, probably made its way to the New World, like many other plants, by accident. Legend has it that the seeds came here during the Revolutionary War mixed with crop seeds or fodder. 

Get the Design, Down and Dirty

The 72nd annual garden symposium takes place April 14 and 15 at Colonial Williamsburg with a theme of "Ordinary to Extraordinary: Creating Landscape Designs that Reflect Beauty and Awe." Speakers will discuss how to integrate existing elements, effectively combine plants and hardscape materials, and create features of distinctive landscape styles.  

Take the Grand Tour

On April 24, take the annual Historic Garden Tour of Williamsburg that features a combination of historic and scenic residences including Lightfoot House, built circa 1730; Tayloe House (1755) in Colonial Williamsburg; an award-winning children’s garden at Matthew Whaley Elementary School; and four private homes and gardens.

If you've worked up an appetite after strolling those gardens, check out the best romantic meals and cheap eats. Start planning your visit to Greater Williamsburg today.