Winter Garden

One of the secret gems of Norfolk Botanical Garden, the Winter Garden is situated between the Colonial Herb Garden and the Annette Kagan Healing Garden. Plants which flower or are showy through the winter are displayed along this shady path. Look for plants with interesting branches, foliage, fragrance or fruit as well as those that flower.


  • Spring: Dogwood, Epimedium, Fothergilla, Lenten Rose, Mayapple
  • Summer/Fall: Anise Tree, Bear’s Breeches, Tree Hydrangea
  • Winter: Oregon Grape Holly, Spike Winterhazel, Stachyurus, Winter honeysuckle, Witchhazel, Winter Daphne
Champion Trees

Norfolk Botanical Garden is home to many notable trees. There are 61 trees are now listed as state champions in the Virginia Big Tree Program that is with the NEW addition of  46 trees! Five trees are listed in the Remarkable Trees of Virginia Project.

Virginia Big Tree Program
(from VA Tech Website)

The goal of the Virginia Big Tree Program is to increase the care and appreciation for trees. Trees are ranked by total points based on a formula using circumference at 4.5 feet, height and crown spread. The top five trees for each species are listed in the database. Volunteers are encouraged to search for, nominate and update current trees every 10 years.

Click here for a complete list of the Garden’s Virginia Big Tree Champions.


  • Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)
  • Crabapple (Malus sp.) – an exceptionally beautiful tree
  • Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)
  • Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) – site of an American Bald Eagle nest
  • White Oak (Quercus alba) – the oldest tree in the garden
Conifer Garden

The waters of the canal reflect the varied texture, color and form of conifers that grow well in this region. Dwarf conifers and large specimens illustrate the variety of plants available to the gardener. In 2012, the NBG Conifer Garden was designated by the American Conifer Society as a Reference Garden for the Southeast.

There are more than 2,300 plants representing 350 different species and cultivars of conifers found in the Garden. A concentration of them can be found in the Conifer Garden. This is a good area to see the variety of conifers – to compare the sizes, forms and unique characteristics of plants in this collection. In this area we h ave combined conifers with companion plants such as as Agapanthus (African Lilies), Sedums, and ornamental grasses. Spring flowering Daffodils punctuate the perennial plantings in the spring.

Conifers are plants that bear cones. Conifers are part of the class of plants known as gymnosperms. These are plants that lack flowers and reproduce by seeds borne naked on a bract or sporophyll. In the case of conifers, this is the cone. In contrast to gymnosperms, angiosperms are flowering plants that produce seeds in enclosed in ovaries.

Most conifers are evergreen, but some plants like the bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) are deciduous.


The Garden is a member of the American Conifer Society.
The American Conifer Society has designated our Conifer Garden a Conifer Reference garden.

Plants to look for:

Arborvitae, Cryptomeria, False Cypress, Juniper, Spruce

Learn more about the beautiful Conifer Garden at Norfolk Botanical Garden in southeast Virginia. Les Parks shows you how Conifers are a great addition to your own landscape as they look stunning in all seasons! This Garden was designated by the American Conifer Society as a Reference Garden for the Southeast.

Hofheimer Camellia Garden

The Hofheimer Camellia Garden is located near Renaissance Court.

Norfolk Botanical Garden has more than 1700 camellia plants. Approximately 750 of those plants are found in the Hofheimer Camellia Garden, established in 1992 as a joint project of the Norfolk Botanical Garden and the Virginia Camellia Society. It is named in memory of Alan J. and Aline F. Hofheimer, founding members of the Virginia Camellia Society. This garden includes 500 different types of Camellia japonica, 40 different types of Camellia sasanqua and more than 180 other species and hybrids.

In 1997, the Garden’s camellia collection was named an Official North American Collection by the American Public Gardens Association’s North American Plant Collection Consortium (NAPCC). The Garden is one of only two NAPCC collections focusing on camellias.

In 2001, the Camellia collection received the Garden of Excellence Award from the International Camellia Society. There are currently only 11 gardens with this designation in the world.

Learn more about our camellias

Plants to look for:

  • Spring: Daffodils, Fortune’s Rhododendron, Kousa Dogwood, Lungwort
  • Summer: Pee Dee Gold Liriope, Wood Spurge, Yellow Archangel
  • FallCamellia sasanqua, Dogwood, Evergreen Solomon’s Seal
  • WinterCamellia japonica, Quicksilver Wild Ginger
Holly Garden and Turner Sculpture Garden

The Holly Garden, established in the 1950’s by the Lakewood Garden Club of Norfolk, is a 3-acre display of evergreen hollies set in garden “rooms.” More than 20 different types of American and Asiatic hollies and a dozen different English hollies are grouped by geographic regions. Hybrids developed from these hollies are also planted here. The garden contains 121 varieties of hollies. The sparkling red, orange and green berries of the Holly Garden provide especially beautiful displays in NBG’s winter landscape.

Local wildlife is captured in bronze sculptures by William and David Turner and are placed throughout the garden.

Plants to look for:

  • Spring: Grape Hyacinth
  • Summer: Magnolia
  • Fall: Holly, Windflower, Chrysanthemums
  • Winter: Holly
Sunken Garden

This tiny specialty garden is tucked away in a location that visitors to the administration building will be delighted to discover. Established by the Redwood Garden Club of Norfolk in 1963, the Sunken Garden features a small pool complemented by a variety of shade-loving and sun-tolerant plants. This garden’s intimate character emanates an ambiance of peaceful seclusion.

Tropical Display House

The Tropical Display House is OPEN! Come on in and enjoy.  

Be sure to check out the beautiful faux bois tree sculpture designed & created by artist Diane Husson. This realistic looking tree, set into a new raised planter of unusual succulent plants, is bedecked with a variety of silvery air plants called Tilandsias.

Lush foliage and bright flowers greet you in the Tropical Display House. Although not hardy to this region these plants thrive year round in the tropical rainforests around the world.

The Tropical Display House features a wide variety of interesting plants including begonias, heliconias, gingers, palms, bananas, giant birds of paradise and even a strangler fig!