The people have spoken and Bok Tower Gardens has been ranked No. 3 among all botanical gardens in North America.
The news became official May 3 as USA Today announced its 10Best Readers’ Choice winners for Best Botanical Gardens. The announcement followed a month of voting by the public, from March 22 to April 22. Voters chose from among 20 botanical gardens across North America that were selected by a panel of experts.
Suffice to say, being ranked No. 3 on the continent is a pretty big honor for the local attraction.
"We are excited to join our fellow gardens on this prestigious list. Much of the honor goes to our team who tirelessly strive to make Bok Tower Gardens one of America's finest gardens each day, “ said Bok Tower Gardens President David Price. “Earning a spot on this list continues the legacy of our founder Edward Bok, who as an editor and journalist would have been thrilled to be a part of this national media contest."
Bok Tower Gardens finished third behind Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the overall winner, and Missouri Botanical Garden, the runner-up. This is the second time that the Chaska, Minnesota-based garden has won the contest.
The rest of the list from fourth through 10th includes, in order, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (Virginia), Vallarta Botanical Gardens (Mexico), Cheekwood Estate & Gardens (Nashville), Atlanta Botanical Garden, Chicago Botanical Garden, San Diego Botanical Garden and Montreal Botanical Garden.
As the list evidences, many of the other nominees were located in or near larger markets. Erica Smith, the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Bok Tower Gardens, noted when the garden was nominated that in addition to being in larger markets, many of the competitors nominated were just plain larger.
“One of the things I think about is the fact that many (of the nominees) are gigantic gardens and we are probably one of the smaller ones listed on that list,” Smith said.
Bok Tower may well be in a smaller market, but it clearly has an outsized fan base. After all, it was the people who helped Bok achieve its No. 3 ranking — and it is something Bok Tower staff are appreciative of.
"Our heartfelt gratitude goes to our members, fans and the entire community who voted and made this nation-wide recognition a reality," said Dr. Tom Bok, Bok Tower Gardens’ Chairman of the Board. "As a member of the Bok family, we have watched the Gardens grow and this is a wonderful way to pay tribute to the vision of my Great-grandfather, to make the world a bit better and more beautiful."
For more information on the contest and the other gardens awarded, visit 10best.com/awards/travel/best-botanical-garden-2019/.