Despite only living 2 hours away this was my first visit to the Gardens. I went primarily to see the Mosaicultures. The addition of Garden of Lights led to me spending the weekend in the area and enjoying the Gardens over two days. One does need either a very full day or two days if there are special events going on. Weekends seem crowded even at day's opening. Lots of families attend early in the day and for evening events.
As I walked the main gardens I could see how one needs to come at least every season if not every month. The plans have been well developed to create pockets of intense interest for certain seasons, and continued interest in others. The Indigenous Garden attracted several bird species so if you are a birder, bring small binocs.
The garden map is a bit simplified making getting around a little difficult. The planted beds area is very extensive and requires some back and forth or several rotations. I never got into the main arboretum area in the top half of the Gardens.
If viewing early, restaurants don't open until 11am, so either bring snacks/coffee with you or expect machine coffee only.
Even without special events, the gardens and included buildings/greenhouses/displays are fantastic. I did actually visit the greenhouses one December and they were even nicer then in contrast to the snow outside.
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