With the warmer weather upon us, nature is now in full bloom, making this the perfect time to soak up the beauty of the great outdoors.
If you want to see some of the most spectacular natural displays out there, here are ten of the most beautiful gardens in the world that you should definitely try to visit.
Claude Monet’s Garden – Giverny, France
Located about an hour away from Paris, Giverny is a small village that attracts more than half a million visitors each year.
What makes it so popular?
The fact that it is home to Claude Monet’s Garden.
Just about everyone knows this world-famous artist, who was one of the founders of the French Impressionist style of art.
In 1883, Monet moved to Giverny and built himself a small home, surrounded by a gorgeous garden. This garden then went on to serve as his inspiration for some of the artist’s most famous pieces, including his painting of the water lilies.
Want to know more about the garden?
It is split into two sections:
- Clos Normand – a beautiful cottage-style garden filled with an incredible array of flowers
- The Water Garden – the most famous garden with a Japanese-style bridge that crosses over a pond filled with water lilies
Wondering when to visit?
The garden is only actually open from April to November, and many would agree that it is at its finest from May to July. Of course, this is also when the garden is the busiest, and the crowds of tourists can often detract from the garden’s serene essence.
Summer Palace – Beijing, China
Considered to be the best preserved imperial garden in the world, the Summer Palace has been around since 1750, when it used to be a luxurious garden for royal families to entertain in.
While it may no longer be reserved for royalty, luxurious it definitely still is…
The Summer Palace has a wonderful old world charm about it, and consists of a small collection of gardens, lakes and palaces.
When it comes to recognition…
Not only is the Summer Palace listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it was also deemed, also by UNESCO, to be a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design.
There are several highlights within the garden, from Kunming Lake, which is at the center of it all, to the Garden of Virtue and Harmony, which features so many unique plants.
In addition to checking out the scenery, there are other activities available here. For those who want to soak up more culture, take a ten minute boat ride across the lake to visit an island temple, while those who need a retail therapy fix can explore the recreated traditional shops located along the banks of the river.
Butchart Gardens – British Columbia, Canada
The Butchart Gardens have been around for more than 100 years, and attract over a million visitors each year.
Because these 55 acres are home to some of the most jaw-dropping floral displays in the world.
The garden is constantly in bloom, with different highlights depending on when you visit:
- Spring – tulips, hyacinths and daffodils are in full bloom
- Summer – the rose garden, with over 250 rose varieties, is at its finest
- Late Summer/ Fall – the colors start to change, with the highlight being the Japanese maples
Another unique feature of this garden is the Rose Carousel, which is the only carousel on Vancouver Island.
The carousel is quite the artistic masterpiece, featuring thirty hand-carved animals designed specially for the garden.
Then time your visit for the evening, as open-air concerts are hosted in the garden every night, complete with a fireworks display on Saturdays.
The garden is about 20 minute drive from Victoria, which we also recommend to visit!
Keukenhof – Lisse, Netherlands
You have probably already seen Keukenhof featured on many different photographs, especially if you have ever seen photographs of the tulips of Holland.
Keukenhof, which is nicknamed The Garden of Europe, is one of the largest flower gardens in the world, with around seven million flower bulbs planted in the garden each year.
Since the focus of this garden is the tulips, Keukenhof is only open from the middle of March to the middle of May.
When are the tulips at their best?
Around mid-April, although keep in mind that this depends significantly on the weather.
Of course, there is plenty else to see in addition to the tulips, such as:
- The English Garden – with winding paths and charming viewpoints
- The Japanese Garden – a non-traditional garden with unique Japanese elements
- The Historical Garden – an enclosed garden that features older varieties of flowers
As you wander through the garden, you will also see a number of water features, from fountains to ponds, adding a whole new element to the beauty around you.
Dubai Miracle Garden – Dubai, UAE
Have you ever wondered where the largest garden in the world is?
Well, up until 2013, the answer would have been Keukenhof, mentioned above.
The largest natural flower garden in the world, as well as one of the most beautiful, is the Dubai Miracle Garden, with over 60 million flowers on display.
There are 60 different flower species planted here, with the floral displays changing each season so that repeat visitors will have something new to see each time.
Why is this garden called the Miracle Garden?
For a couple of reasons…
Firstly, the fact that there is this stunning floral garden slap bang in the middle of the desert is quite the miracle.
Wondering how all these flowers receive enough water to flourish?
Well, that’s the second miracle…
The entire garden makes use of a drip irrigation watering system that re-uses waste water, meaning that it is completely sustainable.
If all of that was not enough…
The Dubai Miracle Garden is also home to the Dubai Butterfly Garden, the first indoor butterfly garden in the world.
There is a museum on-site with butterfly displays, as well as a walk-through area where you can interact with the butterflies. The floral displays in this garden are designed to feed the butterflies, and there are several sculptures dotted about too that house butterfly food.
Hunter Valley Gardens – Pokolbin, Australia
Located in amongst the vineyards of Hunter Valley Wine Country, the Hunter Valley Gardens stretches out for 25 acres, and is home to thousands upon thousands of different plants.
There are ten separate gardens within Hunter Valley Gardens, and each one has its own distinct theme, such as:
- The Rose Garden – a corkscrew shaped garden enclosed by four pergolas, with thousands of different rose plants
- The Italian Grotto – a Mediterranean-inspired garden with everything from cascading geraniums to pink Wisterias
- The Formal Garden – inspired by the historic gardens of France and England, this one is the largest of its kind in the country
- Storybook Garden – especially popular with children, this garden features popular nursery rhyme characters
Another highlight of the Hunter Valley Gardens is their Lakes Walk, with about a mile of pathways to cover. This walk takes you past everything from a historic chapel to the Lakes Rotunda, accompanied by perennial borders that are colorful no matter the time of year.
Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden – Cape Town, South Africa
Internationally acclaimed for being one of the seven most magnificent botanic gardens in the world, Kirstenbosch was originally founded in 1913 to preserve the country’s unique flora.
With a focus on indigenous plants, this garden has grown so much since it first began, and is home to many plants that you will not see anywhere else in the world.
Want to know what you will see here?
So many different features, such as:
- A fragrance garden
- A medicinal garden
- a Protea garden
- A Braille garden trail
- The Botanical Society Conservatory
- A sculpture garden
- A tree canopy walkway
The garden itself is located on the slopes of South Africa’s famous Table Mountain.
Never been to Table Mountain before?
The garden is home to a number of different walking trails, one of which will take you right to the summit of Table Mountain.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens – San Marino, California
There are over 120 acres to explore in the Huntington’s botanical gardens, with a collection of plants from all over the world.
There are more than a dozen different themed spaces within these gardens, but three of the best are:
- The Desert Garden – one of the largest and oldest outdoor cacti and succulent collections in the world, with over 5000 species here
- The Japanese Garden – features an authentic teahouse, koi ponds, a Zen garden, bonsai collections and more
- The Chinese Garden – the largest Chinese garden outside of China
- The Rose Garden – boasts 1200 different rose varieties with over 3000 individual plants in total
Before you leave, don’t forget to stop off at the Huntington Library for a browse. While only a small portion of their massive collection is on display to the public, you will find everything from rare books and manuscripts to historic photographs and prints here.
Kenroku-en Garden – Kanazawa, Japan
Famous for being one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, Kenroku-en Garden has been around since 1871, and maintains many of its original features.
The garden has been designed around a Chinese landscape theory that states that there are six main factors that make up the perfect garden
- Abundant water
- Broad views
And yes, Kenroku-en Garden meets all of these criteria. With its numerous water features, teahouses, bridges, trees, flowers and hidden nooks and crannies, this garden is such a joy to explore.
Wondering when to visit?
This all depends on what you want to see:
- Mid February to End March – the plum blossoms are in bloom
- Mid April – the famous cherry blossom season
- Summer – packed with flowers and lush greenery
- Fall to Early December – gorgeous fall colors, with the best on the cherry and maple trees
- Winter – the garden’s large pine trees are showcased, with the snow giving the garden a completely different look
Unlike many of the other gardens on this list, Kenroku-en is open throughout the year, making it much easier to plan a visit to this natural spectacle.
Royal Botanic Gardens – Kew, London
With over 50,000 different plant varieties, the Royal Botanic Gardens in London boasts one of the most in-depth collections of plant life, along with information, in the world.
Originally designed in 1759, this garden has been expanded frequently since then, and today features ten different climatic zones that are home to plants from all over the globe.
Want to know exactly what there is to see here?
Well, the ten different zones include:
- The Palm House – with a 30 foot walkway to give you a closer look at palm tree crowns
- The Temperate House – the largest surviving Victorian glass structure in the world, featuring plants and trees from temperate regions
- The Waterlily House – the hottest of the ten zones, the focus of this house is the large pond packed with different water lily varieties
- The Bonsai House – home to a large bonsai collection
In addition to their various gardens, there are also a few unique features to be found here…
One of the highlights for many visitors is the treetop walkway, which stands at 60 feet off the ground. This walkway takes you through the canopy of the trees, giving you a birds-eye view of the gardens around you.
If you love nature, then each of these ten gardens will definitely impress. From the indigenous plants of South Africa to the succulents of California, there is no denying that these gardens boast some of the most spectacular plant collections in the world.