ORANGE, Texas — Wednesday, March 20th marks the first official day of spring in 2019, and the gardens at Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center are in full bloom. 

The director of Shangri La, Rick Lewandowski, said the gardens are open year round, but spring is their best season. This spring has been the best they've seen in a long time. The azaleas have been in bloom since early March, as well as early spring wildflower and perennials. 

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For those looking for more low maintenance blooms, Lewandowski suggests perennials, phlox, and bulbs such as daffodils. 

Hundreds of evergreen azaleas surround the pond of the blue moon at Shangri La. Irises, daffodils, jonquils, wildflowers, spider lilies, phlox and other bulbs are also beginning to bloom in the gardens. 

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Lewandowski said when planting gardens at home, it's important to learn about the shade and sun requirements. 

"We like to say in gardening that no plant is there forever, if it doesn't look good where it is you can dig it up and move it again." 

Lewandowski invites people to come out to Shangri La and learn where plants grow best, or simply come enjoy the ones they have growing. 

Shangri La is open Tuesday-Saturday 9 am - 5 pm at no charge. Coming up on the 13th of April they'll be hosting an "Eco-Fest and Butterfly Release." The event is a celebration of earth week, and admission is free. They'll have activities and games for kids starting at 10:30, followed by the butterfly release at 3:30. 

Each year in April, Shangri La celebrates Earth Day during our Eco-Fest celebration. The day is full of family fun that highlights sustainability and natural history. Local and regional organizations and businesses host booths that provide information about earth-friendly products, services, and opportunities. Games, activities, and engaging presentations provide entertainment for the whole family.