Get there: 77 miles from Baltimore at Route 141 (Powder Mill Road) and Alapocas Drive in Wilmington, Del.

Info: $15 and guests must be older than 12. Reservations are recommended. Call 302-651-6912 or visit nemoursmansion.org.

Winterthur

Three generations of the du Pont family lived and gardened on Winterthur's 1,000 acres, and all preferred a garden that made the most of the natural landscape. The last du Pont to live here, Henry Francis, selected the choicest plants from around the world to enhance the natural setting, carefully orchestrating a succession of bloom from late January to November. Even after he turned his former home into a museum in 1951, he kept his garden in private ownership until his death in 1969.

What's blooming: the Sundial Garden, originally the site of the family's tennis courts, is at its peak in spring with lilacs, viburnums, crabapples and spirea, all in shades of pink, white and lavender.

Don't miss: Enchanted Woods, a magical children's garden with treehouses and fairy houses.

Get there: 78 miles from Baltimore at 5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52), Winterthur, Del.

Info: $18 for adult nonmembers; $30 for admission and a one-hour guided tour. Call 302-888-4600 or visit winterthur.org

Mt. Cuba Center

Mt. Cuba Center is the former home of Lammot du Pont Copeland. The stately Colonial Revival manor house was built in 1935 and shortly after, the Copelands, enthusiastic gardeners, began to develop a series of gardens, a process that would continue for 30 years. Today, it is a center dedicated to the study and conservation of plants native to the Appalachian Piedmont region.

What's blooming: the Lilac Allee was designed in 1936 by Thomas Sears of Philadelphia, and it features 25 cultivars of French hybrid lilacs, at their colorful and fragrant peak in early May.

Don't miss: The Meadow Garden is in continuous color change throughout the year with native grasses such as little bluestem, broom-sedge, and Indian grass.

Get there: 72 miles from Baltimore at 3120 Barley Mill Road, Hockessin, Del.

Info: $5. Tours are guided and require a reservation. Call 302-239-4244 or visit mtcubacenter.org

Longwood Gardens

In 1700, a Quaker family named Peirce purchased the property from William Penn, established a working farm and, in 1798, began an arboretum. By 1850, the site held one of the finest collections of trees in the nation. The farm was purchased in 1906 by Pierre du Pont to keep the trees from being cut for timber. From 1907 until the 1930s, du Pont created most of what is there today, including the enormous conservatory and the 10,000-pipe organ.

What's blooming: Lilytopia, May 20-30. The East Conservatory will showcase of the newest varieties of lilies from the Netherlands. And there will be a display of more than 10,000 cut stems by Dutch floral designer Dorien van den Berg.

Don't miss: The fountains, including the 5-acre Fountain Garden.

Get there: 76 miles from Baltimore at 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, Pa.

Info: $18 for adult nonmembers. Call 800-737-5500 or visit longwoodgardens.org