Celebrate the sunshine and explore Albany County's stunning gardens! Many of these picture perfect gardens are hidden gems awaiting to be discovered by locals and visitors alike. Located on the grounds of historic sites, parks, and preserves, these gardens are filled with vibrant flowers and lush greenery. Scroll on for gardens to add to your spring and summer bucket list!
Ten Broeck Mansion, perched above Albany's Arbor Hill neighborhood, boasts stunning formal gardens. Cared for by the Cornell Cooperative Extension's Master Gardener Volunteer Program, the luscious gardens flourish throughout the spring and summer months. During the spring, tiptoe through the tulips and admire the daffodils, forget-me-nots, irises, lilacs, lily-of-the-valleys and more. During the dog days of summer, escape to the shady gardens to cool off among the roses, peonies, begonias and other blooms. The gardens are open for free from dawn to dusk.
The peaceful grounds of Shaker Heritage Society, the site of America's first Shaker settlement, are home to a beautiful herb garden. Throughout the summer months, the herb garden blossoms with the type of plants used and sold by the Shakers during the 1800s. Step through the gate of the charming white picket fence to admire roses, sage, daisies, lemon balm and much more! Visitors might even spy butterflies, bees and hummingbirds fluttering among the plants. Nearby, explore the 180-acre Ann Lee Pond Nature & Historic Preserve for wildflowers growing in the forest, meadows and wetlands. The grounds are open for free daily from dawn to dusk.
Operated by the Underground Railroad Education Center, the Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence was the headquarters for the Underground Railroad in the Capital Region during the 1850s. The grounds feature several gardens as well as blueberry bushes planted by participants of the Young Abolitionist Leadership Institute. There is a commemorative garden with tulips and other blooms for Dr. Thomas Elkins, a Black doctor and Underground Railroad activist in Albany. The Abram Johnson Garden celebrates the story of Abram Johnson who is understood to be the father of Harriet Johnson, wife of Stephen Myers. These beautiful gardens are used as a tool for telling the story of the Underground Railroad.
Nestled in Slingerlands, the 22-acre Pine Hollow Arboretum is home to 3,300 unique plants. Explore the tranquil walking trails to admire regional plantings from all over the world including Russia, China and Japan. Marvel at the blossoming magnolia trees, stunning azaleas, lush firs and pines and wildflowers scattered throughout the fields and near scenic ponds. The grounds are open for free from dawn to dusk, 365 days per year.
The Pruyn House, the country estate of Casparus Francis Pruyn, is tucked in Colonie. The idyllic grounds feature a lovely herb and flower garden maintained by the Fort Orange Garden Club. Designed to bloom from mid-May through Mid-October, the garden is filled with stunning flowers, bushes and shrubs and is surrounded by a charming white fence. Meander through the paths of the garden for a peaceful escape and to connect with nature. The grounds are open for free on Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
Washington Park boasts some of the most popular flower beds in the Capital Region. The gardens surrounding the King Memorial Fountain are the focal point of over 100,000 tulips in dozens of varieties each spring. The stunning sight, featuring tulips in all colors of the rainbow, is cared for by the City of Albany Department of General Services and the City Gardeners. After the treasured tulips fade, the garden beds are transformed by the City Gardeners into a lush oasis with an assortment of tropical plants. Beyond the gardens surrounding the fountain, there are many flower beds scattered throughout the urban park near the Birdhouse by Albany artist William Schade, the Henry Johnson Memorial and more.
Historic Cherry Hill, located on South Pearl Street in Albany, was home to five generations of the Van Rensselaer family. Over time, the historic grounds transformed from a Hudson River manor farm to an urban backyard. Emily Rankin, the final Cherry Hill descendant, extensively wrote in her diaries about gardening. Visit the grounds during the early summer months to marvel at the beautiful peony beds, dating back to the 1930s. Explore the reconstructed arbor and garden temples, as well as a formal flower garden and the site of a kitchen garden. The grounds and gardens are open for free starting on June 18 on Fridays from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM and Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
While the Albany Pine Bush Preserve is not a garden in the traditional sense, it is still a top spot to scout out bright blooms and wildflowers in Albany County. During the late spring, admire fields of wild blue lupines (look for the spikes of purple flowers!) and try to catch a glimpse of an endangered Karner Blue butterfly. The Albany Pine Bush is also home to New Jersey Tea, a shrub with clusters of tiny white blooms that appear in late spring through early summer. Hit the network of trails throughout the warm weather months to see woodland sunflowers, butterfly milkweed, wood lily, wild geranium and more.
Situated in Menands, Albany Rural Cemetery is one of the most historic cemeteries in Upstate New York. Founded in the 1800s, Albany Rural is the epitome of the rural or garden cemetery movement. The historic cemetery features meandering roads, enchanting wooded hills and exquisite burial monuments. Wander the winding paths throughout the 467 acres to admire a range of plants and flowers such as azaleas, hydrangeas, flowering trees, roses and more.
Looking to raise a glass while basking in a garden? Downtown Albany's popular Olde English Pub is home to an Insta-worthy garden and patio. Sip on a hand-crafted cocktail or savor seasonal eats among the lush greenery and twinkle lights. The charming pub expanded garden seating into Quackenbush Square this year. If the timing is right, dine al fresco with your friends underneath the cascading wisteria.