Essential Travel Experience #9 – Smell the Roses at a World-Class Garden

     Anyone who travels extensively knows that there are scores of gardens around the world. Some are small and associated with another attraction, perhaps a palace or other residence. Some, however, have evolved into a prime attraction in their own right and draw thousands or millions of visitors because they are the very best at what they do. My wife, Lee, loves gardens, and so I try to incorporate stops at notable gardens wherever we go (see a post in the archives entitled “Lee’s favorite gardens”).  Some of these gardens are ablaze with color since they focus on flowering plants; others are primarily landscape gardens, featuring trees and shrubs. Whatever the specialty, gardens are always places that convey a sense of calm and beauty, a place to pause, reflect and savor the solitude and peace. Below are some of the world’s best gardens:

   Butchart Gardens, located just north of the city of Victoria, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island, could be the most beautiful garden that Lee and I have ever visited. The “sunken garden” is a truly special place with its vibrant color and exquisite landscaping.

Sunken Garden

Other places in the gardens are also special.

Rose Garden

Another incredible garden is Keukenhof, in the Netherlands. This garden specials, as you might guess, in spring bulbs, such as, tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, etc. The displays in the spring are truly amazing.

Keukenhof Gardens

The extensive paths allow visitors to feel relatively isolated, even though the crowds are huge.

Keukenhof Gardens

The United States has some wonderful gardens too. Check out Longwood Gardens, about thirty miles south of Philadelphia

Longwood Gardens

and the Rose Test Garden in Washington Park, Portland, Oregon.

Rose Test Garden

On the opposite side of Canada from Victoria, in the province of Nova Scotia, lies Annapolis Royal, whose gardens attract many visitors throughout the year.

Annapolis Royal Gardens

One of the most famous landscape gardens in the world is found in England. Stourhead is a remarkably tranquil place with a beautiful trail around a lake, dotted with examples of classical Greek or Roman architecture.

Stourhead Gardens

A totally different garden experience is found in Eastern gardens. Here the emphasis is on water, rocks, and man-made structures which fit into the overall landscape. The city of Suzhou, about 100 miles west of Shanghai, has probably the most famous Chinese gardens in the world.

A Pavilion at Lion's Grove Garden

The Humble Administrator’s Garden is another exquisite example.

Humble Administrator's Garden

Japanese Gardens also incorporate rocks and bridges into their landscapes like this one in Boca Raton, Fl

Bridge at Morikami Gardens

and this one in Washington Park, Portland, OR.

Japanese Garden


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