What makes a great garden? Flower beds? Ornamental lakes? Quiet picnic spots? Sometimes it’s hard to define, but when you’re there, you just know. From Canada to China, and everywhere in-between, we’ve found the world’s top gardens. Here are the top 7.
1. Château de Versailles Located in Versailles, France
This historic garden is one of the country’s most visited tourist attractions, boasting everything from huge flower beds to quiet corners where you can sit, relax, and watch the world go by. Walking around this garden is like stepping back in time: you’ll notice classic statutes and even a canal that King Louis XIV once used for gondola rides. The garden is also pretty big – covering 250 acres of land- and is jam-packed full of plants and paths that need to be seen to be believed. The French landscaper Andre Le Notre created these gardens in the 17th century, and they lay south-west of the country’s capital.
2. The Master-of-Nets Garden in Suzhou, China
This mesmerising garden was designed between 960 and 1270 AD by the Song dynasty, and is full of music rooms, bamboo groves, and waterside benches. Tranquillity is the name of the game here, and you’ll be hard pressed to find another garden as quiet and beautiful as this one. Among the natural wonders, you’ll find tiny arched bridges, pathways, and even a small pavilion.
3. Kew Gardens In Richmond, Surrey
A city that’s famous for its busy streets and towering skyscrapers, you might think it would be hard to find a quiet garden in this metropolis, but that’s not the case at all. 10 miles from the capital lay the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in Richmond, Surrey. Here you’ll find 326 acres of landscaped grounds, as well as huge domes that house conservation and botanical science projects. The Royal Botanic Gardens boast the world’s largest Victorian-era greenhouse, as well as 150 year-old trees in the Bonsai House – one of the most visited areas of the gardens. Vanilla orchids and baobab trees are just some of the plants you can find growing here, and there are plenty of spots for a picnic with friends. If you’re looking for one of the top gardens around the world, this is a must-do the next time you visit.
4. Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. image: http://www.doaks.org/gardens
It’s located in a unique neighbourhood and is an estate like none other in the nation’s capital. Beautiful green spaces are surrounded by historic buildings, plants, and trees and perfectly cultivated gardens include fountains and seating areas. Sitting here is almost blissful – you wouldn’t believe you are only a stone throw’s away from the centre of one of the noisiest and busiest cities in the US.
5. Villa d’Este, Tivoli, Italy
It’s one of Italy’s most picturesque cities, famed for its landmarks, history, and culture. However, the Villa d’Este is one of the best places to explore if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city streets. Recently listed by UNESCO as one of the country’s many artistic and historic sites, the villa is surrounded by plants and flowers. However, it’s the fountain system which attracts the crowds – with basins that sprout water in imaginative and innovative ways. It’s something that needs to be seen to be believed!
6. Butchart Gardens Located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada
Butchart Gardens are the result of an impressive reclamation project and is built on land that used to be a quarry. The land was owned by Portland Cement, whose wife started to fill the space with soil from surrounding farms at the turn of the 20th century. Nowadays, visitors travel far and wide to experience this 55 acre green space, with more than 700 varieties of plants that bloom in the spring month’s right through to October. There are plenty of things to see, do, and experience for all age groups, and this relaxing space offers much in the way of greenery and nature.
7. Stourhead in Warminster, Wiltshire
This classic garden dates back to the 18th century and is one of the most historic gardens in the UK. There are ruins, statues, and classic buildings such as the Temple of Apollo – providing visitors with the perfect photo opportunity and the chance to soak up a bygone era. The estate also includes a Palladian mansion, farmland, and woodland.