Even if you are not a gardener at heart, your soul cannot fail to be uplifted in the midst of all the beauty and serenity one find’s in strolling through a public garden, exclaiming over species of plants you have only read about or seen in books . And then, suddenly, turning a corner of the path you recognize a flower reminiscent of a special occasion ( an anniversary) or a place ( your grandmother’s flower patch). Your wanderings have become both a trip down memory lane and an exotic adventure. Eventually, your senses overwhelmed, you sit on the thoughtfully provided bench and stare in wonder at the beautiful world surrounding you, every breath laden with nature’s perfume. But …
No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden. ~Hugh Johnson
How true! Here are some vastly different gardens. And do not be disappointed if, on the day you visit while on your travels, the gardens are not the same as in the photo. Seasons change foliage, cold or dry weather can spoil a bloom. But a visit to one of these might still be the highlight of your vacation.
Butchart Gardens (Landscape)
The Butchart Gardens are a National Historic Site near Victoria, B.C. Started as a private Japanese garden by an affluent family, over the years since its inception, they have added a Sunken Garden, an Italianate Garden, and a Rose Garden, and recently a Children’s Pavilion. It is a famous example of a “landscaped” garden of which there are many you may visit around the world, such as the Monte Palace Gardens in Funchal. Butchart Gardens are stunning no matter the season. Plan a visit if cruising out of, or to, British Columbia on an Alaska adventure.
Jardim Botanico de Curitiba (Greenhouse)
Located in the city of Curitiba in southern Brazil is the Botanical Garden of Curitiba comprising acres of landscaped gardens in the French style, a massive conservatory, and a separate botanical museum. It is associated with the Federal University of Parana. Here you can walk outside through plantings of flowers with lakes, sculptures and fountains as additional interest, explore tropical plants in the greenhouse, or visit the large herbarium in the museum. There is also a separate museum dedicated to artist and conservationist, Franz Krajcberg. The Botanical Garden is a large (in area) and popular attraction so you should plan at least a half day’s visit. Another popular garden with a large conservatory is the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, England.
Ryoan-ji Zen Garden ( Dry )
This garden is considered one of the finest examples of dry landscape gardens in the world and is both a UNESCO World Heritage site and a Historic Monument of Ancient Kyoto. The garden is located at the site of a zen temple in Kyoto, Japan, and the pebbles of the garden are raked every day by the monks. There is much symbolism and history behind the artistry displayed. If you are a fan of this type of garden, or even if not, you will be in awe of the atmosphere the gardens invoke. In addition to the rock garden, there is also a water one, a teahouse garden and teahouse. This place is truly an experience.
Drummond Castle (Formal)
A good example of a formal garden is that at Drummond Castle in Perthshire, Scotland. Castles and villas in England, Ireland, France, Italy and so on often have formally laid out gardens that are a treat to visit as often the historic buildings are open, or partially open, to the public as well. If you like order and symmetry, then these are your type of garden. We suggest depending where you are visiting in Europe, a tour of the following formal gardens: Powerscourt Gardens in Enniskerry, Ireland; Villa Lante in Bagnaia, Italy; and the Versailles Gardens in France to name a few.
Gardens by the Bay ( Architectural)
This garden is easily recognizable by its signature huge structures resembling trees, the Supertree Grove, and is in actually a purpose built park to enhance the green space of the large city of Singapore. The enormous park , of which the Grove is only a very small portion,is divided into three waterfront areas of gardens, some of which are still under development. All are themed. There are also two massive conservatories one of which houses Mediterranean type flora( Flower Dome), and one (Cloud Forest) which houses plants found in cooler, moister climates such as high altitude terrain. This is not a garden one visits but one that you experience over days. The Supertrees are actually up to 16 storey tall buildings which serve a number of functions including housing orchids, fern and tropical climbers as well as a vantage point with walkway from which to view the surrounding gardens. At night they are colorfully lit.
Monet’s Garden (Artist’s)
Who has not heard of Monet’s Garden? Immortilized in his paintings and open to the public, this once private wonderland of the artist is an excellent day trip from Paris in Giverny, France. Visit on a land vacation, guided land tour or on a popular river cruise included excursion, this will make a grand memory. The paths are strictly regulated circumventing the gardens (no wandering to take photos from obscure angles) , and the garden is closed ( obviously) during the colder months of November through March. There are 2 gardens, one of which is a very informal planting of shrubs, ornamental and fruit trees, and both common and exotic flowers by color and size to be visually pleasing to the artist’s eye. The other is a water garden with weeping willows and waterlillies. The artist’s home may also be toured. Are you a budding artist? It is possible to arrange a painting holiday to come away with your own masterpiece.
Keukenhof Gardens (Tulip)
The Keukehhof Gardens, as we now know it, has only been in existence since 1950. The large landscaped area, converted to the dedication of tulips and other spring bulbs, has its base in the redesign of the 200 hectare grounds of the Keukenhof ( meaning kitchen garden) Castle in the mid nineteenth century. Today in the spring months of late March through mid May, you can wander the treed paths of the large park amidst the millions of best and most beautiful spring flowering bulbs on display. This park is also wheelchair friendly with rentals available. If you are planning a trip here take into account the short open season – this year you would be in for a treat as they celebrate Van Gogh . Tulip Time river cruises are a popular way to see the Dutch countryside and these spectacular gardens.
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (Sculpture)
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in Minnesota, U.S.A., is a joint undertaking of the Walker Art Centre and the Parks & Recreation Board of the city. It is a large park stretching over eleven acres and encompassing over forty pieces of sculpture. There is also a conservatory open and free to the public, and the Alene Grossman Memorial Arbor and Flower Garden. Another “sculpture” gardens you may wish to tour is the fantastical Garden of the Cosmic Speculation at Portrack House in Dumfires,Scotland.
Article originally written for The Travel Bucket.
Photos courtesy of pixabay.com and bigstock.com