Take that, Big Apple! You're No. 2 — at least when it comes to horticulture.
The Best Botanical Garden in the country is our own Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, winner of the USA Today Readers' Choice Award. The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx finished right behind.
A panel of botanical garden experts and USA Today editors chose 20 nominees from around the country, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.
The Arb didn't even crack the top 10 in last year's USA Today 10Best list. Maybe those recently released photos of Prince enjoying the grounds made the difference this year. Or maybe Minnesotans are a busy, boostery bunch on social media. Arb director Peter Moe thanked social media fans, along with staff and Arb members, in announcing the win this morning. "We already knew we were the best but now the whole country knows it, too," he told staff.
The Arb, an outreach, research and education facility of the University of Minnesota, is undeniably one of the country's largest botanical gardens, with 1,200 acres of gardens, woods and prairies, 12.5 miles of trails and paths, and more than 5,000 plant species. Features include a Japanese Garden, a Daylily and Chrysanthemum Walk, a Kitchen Herb Garden, a Maze Garden and a Peony Walk.
The rest of the top 10:
3. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis
4. Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix
5. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, Fort Bragg, Calif.
6. The Dawes Arboretum, Newark, Ohio
7. State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Athens, Ga.
8. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, Mich.
9. Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta
10. Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago
Other nominations included Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Arizona, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Chanticleer Garden in Pennsylvania.