Historically, gardens have been spaces of contemplation, creativity, peace and beauty - a place to immerse yourself in the wonder of nature. From gardens of great estates that the aristocracy of the time built as an expression of wealth and power to modern parks and botanical research centres, the possibilities are endless. It is incredible how plant arrangement and landscaping can evoke a mood- anything from the romance of a quaint French garden to the calm and wisdom of a Japanese Zen Garden.
Here are our picks of some the most magnificent garden masterpieces that are well worth a visit.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, USA
Located in Mount Prospect Park, this 52 Acres garden was built in 1910. It contains 14,000 types of plants spread across multiple areas. The garden is famous for the springtime display of the cherry trees in its’ exceptional Japanese garden. Other features include a water garden, an English garden designed around plants named in Shakespeare plays, and a fragrance garden for the visually impaired.
Sanssouci Park, Potsdam, Germany
In the grounds of Sanssouci Palace, this baroque flower garden was built by the King of Prussia, Frederick the Great, as his summer retreat. The slopes of the castle contain about 3,000 fruit trees along with a vineyard terrace, hedge quarter, a Chinese teahouse, busts of Roman emperors and decorative statues.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town, South Africa
Located on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain in Cape Town, this UNESCO world heritage site was established almost a century ago to promote, conserve and display the exceptionally rich and diverse flora of Africa’s southern region.
There are more than 7,000 species in cultivation here, including many rare and threatened species.
Claude Monet’s Gardens, Giverny, France
Located at the site of Claude Monet’s home, this dreamy garden with water-lily ponds and a Japanese bridge, is still intact for visitors to enjoy year-round.
Created by Monet these vibrant gardens are said to have provided him with his greatest artistic inspiration and have made this charming Seine-side village one that is celebrated across the globe.
Villa d’Este, Tivoli, Italy
This 16th-century villa outside of Rome is known as one of the most fascinating garden and fountain complexes on earth. It is listed by UNESCO as one of the country’s major historical sites. The Renaissance garden offer an impressive concentration of nymphs, grottoes, plays of water and music.
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, Oregon
Known as the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan, this 5.5-acre oasis was created by the late landscape architect Takuma Tono. It contains five distinct gardens: Strolling Pond Garden, the Tea Garden, Natural Garden, Flat Garden and the Sand and Stone Garden.
Suan Nong Nooch Garden, Pattaya, Thailand
Renowned as the biggest and most beautiful botanical garden in Southeast Asia, Suan Nong Nooch features the largest variety of palms and cycads in the world as well as the most extensive selection of orchids in Thailand.
This fairy tale-like botanical garden features a cactus and pineapple garden, its own version of Stonehenge as well as other unusual sculpture displays. Thai cultural shows are hosted in pretty Thai-style houses and it is also a research centre dedicated to studying cycads.
Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
This century old beautiful oasis in Victoria, British Columbia is one of the top display gardens in the world. 55 acres of brilliant floral displays, which includes 26 greenhouses, is a dazzling example of a successful reclamation project. The land, once used by Portland Cement, was transformed by Jennie Butchart, the wife of the company’s owner.
Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England
This 326-acre botanical garden was originally designed by Princess Augusta in 1759 and later expanded by a subsequent monarch to its’ current standing. The garden is world famous for housing more than 50,000 living plants. It’s also an important centre for botanical research and an architectural masterpiece, thanks to the Temperate House, the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse.
It has 10 climatic zones that house plants from all parts of the world, a 59-foot high treetop walkway that gives astonishing views and Kew Palace a lavish royal retreat.
Spring Gardens Keukenhof, Lisse, Netherlands
This beautiful 32- hectare park of tulips, crocuses, daffodils and hyacinths is the world’s largest flower garden. Open annually from mid-March to mid-May for viewing of the spectacular colourful flower display.