Nothing says spring like the rows upon rows of beautiful plants and flowers. Kansas is home to several bountiful gardens open to the public to enjoy. And for those with a green thumb who enjoy caring for their garden, there are plenty of plant stores to inspire their landscapes.
Get lost in the stunning beauty of nature as you tour over 18 acres of plants and statuary at Botanica Wichita (701 N. Amidon). Even after several visits, you will discover something new every time you walk through the gardens. Don’t miss the children’s garden and the Koch Carousel Gardens.
I love walking the paved paths as they wind through different thematic garden spaces. Keep your eyes peeled for Kansas native flowers and birds. Sculptures dot the landscape. You can walk through the gardens or schedule a seasonal tour or carousel experience here. Wear comfy shoes or inquire about golf cart personalized tours.
BARLETT ARBORETUM, BELLE PLAINE
Bartlett Arboretum (301 N. Line Street) is a 20-minute drive from Wichita in Sumner County. Popular events like the TreeHouse Concert Season, Tulip Time, and Art at the Arb keep die-hard fans returning yearly. It’s a natural wonderland for photographers hoping to catch colorful backdrops of tulips in the spring or fall foliage in the fall. Photographers are encouraged to schedule a Thursday evening session.
The nature sanctuary and historic landmark are seasonally open on weekends from 9 am-5 pm. Check the Facebook page to view updated information about craft workshops and events.
TED ENSLEY GARDENS, TOPEKA
What could be better than panoramic views of Lake Shawnee near a garden filled with nature’s vibrant colors? Ted Ensley Gardens (3650 SE West Edge Rd) are open to the public on nearly 37 acres of well-manicured land. Bring your camera, your leashed dog, and the entire family for a stroll through the gardens.
Over 1,500 species of flowers and plants, trails, and rock gardens are maintained by volunteers. Visitors will lose track of time as they meander through tulip-lined paths. Plan your visit from 6 am-11 pm during peak season, and don’t miss Tulip Time, a popular event.
During a visit to Pratt, I toured Giesen Greenhouse, filled with plants and cacti. The owner brings her plants to the retail store in Wichita, Grow (320 S. Market Suite S), with every kind of plant you can imagine. It’s a houseplant lover’s dream.
Think of Grow as a one-stop shop for succulents, houseplants, and cacti. She doesn’t sell the typical plants you’d find in a big box store but caters to green thumbs wanting unique plants. The shop is well-stocked with gifts for plant enthusiasts, from notecards and magnets to coffee mugs and jewelry. View the Facebook page to view the store’s hours.
VALLEY FLORAL CO., KECHI
In an inconspicuous warehouse building in the heart of Kechi sits one of the largest plant stores I’ve ever seen. Valley Floral Co. (6200 N. Oliver) is well-praised on social media for its vast inventory of every kind of plant imaginable. They were known as a greenhouse with rows of baskets and plants to sell to commercial stores, but now they also are open to the public for retail sale most days of the week.
Prepare your car with a blanket because you’ll leave the store with potted plants and flower baskets. It’s a nice place to shop for a gift for someone, especially for Mother’s Day. View their hours here before heading to Kechi.
FAMILY TREE NURSERY, SHAWNEE
Whether you’re a novice gardener or a plant expert, Family Tree Nursery (7036 Nieman Rd) is the place to shop for botanicals and garden tools. During the holiday season, the retail store becomes a winter wonderland with a magical display of decorated Christmas trees. Visit during their fall event to enjoy live music and food. Since 1981, the Shawnee location has attracted customers to the garden center. Café Equinox serves coffee drinks and locally baked pastries.
THE STONE CHIMNEY, MCPHERSON
If you’re someone who doesn’t like the upkeep of live plants, I recommend shopping at The Stone Chimney (1500 E. 1st St.). The popular McPherson store carries a large inventory of silk plants and flowers. They are known for taking special orders for silk floral arrangements.
The backroom is filled with high-end candles and more home decor. You’ll discover bath and body products, jewelry, and battery-operated candles and lanterns in the main retail spaces.
THE FLOWER SHOPPE, PRATT
A short jaunt from Main Street, I encourage you to visit The Flower Shoppe (201 E. 4th St.). Florist Lou Lynne Moss has been designing silk and fresh floral arrangements for happy customers for years. After you place your custom order, cruise through the shop to select from the beautiful decor.
Every store corner has something you’ll want to add to your shopping haul. It’s a delightful store! Don’t be surprised if you’re greeted with puppy kisses from the story’s mascot, Louie, the pug.
WORLDWIDE CACTUS AND EXOTICS, WICHITA
It’s a small space, but many plants are ready for a new home at Worldwide Cactus and Exotics (2630 E. Central). Specializing in “cool plants and good vibes,” the store has tiered rows of new arrivals.
The owners are generous and often give away free plants and cuttings. So check their Instagram or Facebook page for details before driving to the store to stock up on all your favorites. The store is open 11 am-7 pm Monday-Saturday.
This is a small sampling of the gardens and stores across the state where you can surround yourself with nature. Do you know of a scenic public garden that should be added? Where do you spend your dollars locally when shopping for houseplants? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
If you love plants but are not the best at keeping them alive like me, check out 10 Hard to Kill Houseplants You Can Leave While on Vacation. Never feel guilty again.