PORTLAND -- Portland's Japanese Garden is in the running for one of the ten best public gardens in the nation.

The USA Today reader's choice award for the Best Public Gardens in North America features 20 candidate gardens. Voters can choose their favorite by going to the USA Today travel section. Voting ends at noon on March 31.

Photos: Finalists in Top Ten Public Gardens contest

The 50-year-old garden, nestled in the hills of Washington Park, has steep competition. Candidates range from the stately Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania to exotic National Tropical Garden in Hawaii to Los Angeles' vast Huntington Botanical Gardens, which also contains a library and art museum. Many of the gardens contain their own Japanese garden as one component of a larger horticultural complex.

Portland will need all its Rose City residents to pull out a win, especially since two other Pacific Northwest contenders, the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island and the Butchart Gardens in Victoria B.C., are also under consideration.

Candidates were selected by Cindy Brockway, program director for cultural resources at The Trustees of Reservations, the nation's oldest land trust, and author of the book Gardens of the New Republic.

Brockway said the candidates offered a mix of both botanical, scientifically focused, and traditional pleasure gardens.

So, now you know- start clicking.

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