Gardens Galore: Plan Your Next Trip To Some Of The Most Beautiful Gardens In The World..By: Anne Valgoi



     Springtime, for me and many others, is symbolic of blossoming flowers and magnificent gardens.  Let’s explore some of the most beautiful gardens in the world and consider planning a spring or summer trip to visit several of these impressive wonders.

     Most gardens are carefully planned and uniquely designed; in fact, many gardens are not solely about flowers but can be built around stone, structure, and often beautiful greenery.  Gardens located in different countries can also exhibit features unique to their culture and natural habitat. 

     France is known for fine fashion, delicious food, and wine as well as some of the grandest gardens in the world.  No visit is complete without experiencing The Gardens of Versailles (Versailles, France).  The gardens were originally commissioned by King Louis XIV in 1661.  The current landscape was designed by gardener, Andre Le Notre and is indicative of beautiful formal French gardens which “cover nearly 2,000 acres with hundreds of acres of flower beds, forest, as well as 300 statues and 600 fountains.” Truly this is a delight to experience. 

     Also, on my list of treasured places to visit is Claude Monet’s Garden located at his home in Northern France (Giverny, France).  The French impressionist painter designed the garden which is most famous for the beautiful, brilliant flower garden and lovely water garden featuring a Japanese bridge.  “Willows, wisterias, and climbing roses” also grace this beautiful space.  Monet described his own garden as his “most beautiful work of art.”


     If your travel takes you to London, and if you are a gardener, make time to visit the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens.  The Kew Gardens house the “largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world.”  The garden was built is 1759 and was originally designed by the mother of King George III, Princess Augusta.  Additionally, botanist, Lord Bute, and gardener, William Aiton, were involved in its initial development.  The garden boasts several greenhouses and has over 50,000 species of vegetation which include desert plants, carnivorous plants, and various types of orchids.  



     One of the largest flowers gardens in the world, and my favorite, is the Keukenhof, located in Lisse, Western Netherlands.  This garden is only open between the months of March and May and possesses a spectacular spring bloom.  Annually, over 7 million bulbs are planted, and they include tulips, lilies, bluebells, colorful narcissi, hyacinths, and daffodils.  To provide interest, the garden fosters a different theme each year.  This garden is so stunning in the springtime that many stateside garden clubs as well as prominent florists schedule international visits to experience this iconic wonderment.  



     My dear friends recently visited the Butchart Gardens in British Columbia, Canada and loved it!  Did you know it is not only a beautiful garden but also a national historic site?  It was designed by the owner and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Pim Butchart.  The lovely garden features exotic flowering plants with 26 greenhouses and 700 types of plants.  Additionally, thousands of birds and butterflies are inhabitants of the gorgeous garden and grounds.  



     Another garden that made my elite list is the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden in Pattaya, Thailand.  I hope to visit this year while reuniting with my daughter, son-in-law, and sweet grandson who will be living in this area of the world for the next two years!  This garden presently covers 500 acres and was originally purchased to develop a fruit plantation back in 1954.  Later, Pisit and Nongnooch Tansacha changed their plans and instituted a wildlife conservation project that included the planting of tropical flowers as well as a focus on Southeast Asian, Tropical American, and Central African species of Cycads (an ancient and endangered plant group).  Today, tourists can also attend religious ceremonies, martial art performances, and exotic elephant shows but I look most forward to experiencing a massage in this beautiful delight of a garden. 



     Located right in our backyard is the exquisite Atlanta Botanical Garden.  “An urban oasis in the heart of Midtown, the garden includes 30 acres of outdoor gardens, an award-winning Children’s Garden, the serene Storza Woods highlighted by a unique Canopy Walk, and the picturesque Skyline Gardens.”  The garden also houses a conservatory, a famous orchid collection, and many grand fountains.  It also plays host to lively music concerts, gorgeous cocktail parties and romantic weddings.  It is one of my “happy places” in Atlanta!



     Likewise, a trip to the alluring Gibbs Gardens will also bring a smile to my face.  Located in the mountains of North Georgia (less than an hour from Atlanta), the gardens consist of 16 lovely areas including 3 feature gardens: the Manor House Gardens, the Japanese, and Waterlily Gardens.  “The property is 376 acres, and the house and gardens include 300 plus acres; it is one of the nation’s largest residential estate gardens.”  Jim Gibbs purchased the property and designed the gardens to include 24 ponds, 32 bridge crossings and 19 waterfalls.  “The native azaleas, dogwoods, and mountain laurels provide additional seasonal interest, and the springs are surrounded by millions of naturalized ferns.”  The Gibbs summer home, located on the property, is a mix of European architecture and boasts beautiful views of the North Georgia mountains and the spectacular water gardens.  The visit is an absolute must.



     My fellow flower lovers and gardeners, I hope I have inspired you to visit one of these beautiful gardens both locally and throughout the world.  Consider planning a destination vacation around these magnificent wonders.  Explore the gardens uniqueness’ with regards to culture, design, and natural habitat but most importantly , enjoy the artistry that surrounds you. 


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