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From ancient palaces with sprawling gardens to modern day futuristic conservatories, the symbiosis of man and nature have undoubtedly created beautiful landscapes and retreats for centuries now. Here’s our round-up of 20 gardens around the world that you will never forget.
Also known as Lake Gardens, this is a lush, green lung in the heart of metropolitan Kuala Lumpur. From an orchid garden to a smattering of Stonehenge replicas, there’s plenty to see here.
Visit the exhibits or watch a show at the National Planetarium. There is also a deer park complete with a lake and a jogging trail. And if you have time to spare, check out the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, the world’s largest covered bird park with over 3,000 birds. Don’t be surprised if you spot some monkeys or reptiles even!
Who knew that a retired limestone quarry would one day become one of the world’s most beautiful and visited gardens? Soon after limestone deposits were exhausted by the Butchart’s cement manufacturing business, Mrs Jennie Butchart started a passion project to transform the quarry. Nine years later, the first of five gardens – the Sunken Garden – was complete.
No two visits here are the same. As the seasons change, so do the activities. In the warmer months, one can enjoy music concerts and fireworks. During Christmas, visitors can look forward to outdoor ice skating.
The idea of a moss-filled temple might bring to mind a derelict, abandoned structure, but the UNESCO World Heritage site is far from neglected – over 120 varieties of moss grow beautifully here, washing the temple grounds in varying shades of green.
Start your journey by sending a snail mail to the temple at least 2 months ahead to secure an entry pass. Once inside, you will be invited to participate in kito, a traditional Buddhist practice of chanting and copying scripture before you explore the gardens.
The widely photographed, futuristic Supertrees are just one of many stunning attractions here. The Gardens is also home to two record-breaking conservatories – the world’s tallest indoor waterfall sits in the Cloud Forest while the Flower Dome is the world’s largest columnless glasshouse – and an aerial skywalk offering stunning views of the Marina Bay skyline amid the Supertrees.
Just before you go, catch the Garden Rhapsody, a nightly 15-minute light and sound show at the Supertree Grove. New themes and choreography are introduced throughout the year so you can be sure each visit will be different.
Though only a short drive away from central Istanbul, Atatürk Arboretum remains relatively unknown even among locals. Home to over 2,000 plant species from all over the world, it functions as a living laboratory for researchers, scientists, architects and landscapers alike.
Visit in autumn and you’ll be greeted by a stunning landscape of fiery reds, yellows and browns from the oak trees – this will be a view you’ll find hard to forget.
Be awed by extravagant gardening and landscaping at the Dubai Miracle Garden, the world’s largest natural flower garden. It features over 100 million flowers planted into various structures like a giant clock, Rapunzel’s Tower and even an Emirates A380 aircraft – truly a miraculous sight in the middle of the desert!
In the centre of the Alnwick Garden sits the peculiar Poison Garden. Beyond its black iron gates is an exotic collection of 100 toxic plants specially commissioned by the Duchess of Northumberland for plant and drug education. You’ll want to avoid going too near to any of the plants here – some visitors have reportedly fainted after ignoring the no touching or smelling rule.
Don’t leave without exploring The Treehouse, one of the largest wooden tree houses in the world. It comprises a café, a function room and a bar and restaurant serving up local dishes and innovative cocktails.
The two villages here were relocated in 1936, creating the popular garden New Delhi enjoys today. Scattered around the garden are several 15th century monuments like the Shisha Gumbad and the Tomb of Sikandar Lodi, the few remaining well-preserved examples of Hindu and Islamic architecture in India.
Word has it that the Gardens is not only popular with students and yoga enthusiasts, but also politicians and the elite!
Also known as Edinburgh’s secret garden, this secluded retreat created by Drs Andrew and Nancy Neil in 1963 gave their patients a tranquil spot to enjoy and keep fit as they were encouraged to tend to the garden. Here you’ll find a large variety of plants, including a mixture of conifers, alpines, magnolias and azaleas.
Be sure to check out the Physic Garden, specially constructed as a memorial to the late couple in 2013. The plants here represent the couple’s various medical interests and areas of expertise.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Villa d’Este is most known for its Italian Renaissance gardens. Don’t be fooled by the humble, nondescript entrance to the 16th-century villa – its gardens feature over 50 fountains and 60 waterfalls!
If you only have time for one fountain, let it be The Fountain of the Organ. First installed in 1571, the 144-pipe organ can play four late-Renaissance music pieces operated entirely by hydraulics.
Originally intended as a fruit plantation, the founding couple decided to focus on tropical, ornamental plants as a conservation project after purchasing the land in 1954. Today, the Gardens is well-known for its beautifully landscaped gardens inspired by designs from France, Italy and the Stonehenge using a diverse array of plants and flowers, while larger-than-life animal sculptures and pagoda structures dot the landscapes. Daily cultural and elephant performances are also available for visitors.
Though owner Bum Young Sung started developing the garden from rocky wasteland in 1968, it was not until 27 years later that his garden suddenly gained international popularity after then-president of the People’s Republic of China Jiang Zemin paid the garden a visit.
Today, the garden is home to over 2,000 bonsai trees peppered with artificial waterfalls and several stone structures like ponds, walls and bridges all hand-built by Bum. You might just bump into the man himself as he continues to tend to his garden daily.
One of the most well-loved gardens in Britain, the UNESCO World Heritage Site sees more than 1.35 million visitors every year. It’s easy to see why: From housing over 7 million preserved plant specimens to the recently restored Temperate House, the largest surviving Victorian glass structure in the world, Kew Gardens is a royal record-breaker not to be missed.
You might spot officers from the Kew Constabulary patrolling the gardens. First introduced in 1845 when visitors started swelling in numbers, the Gardens’ own police force continue to possess the same powers and immunities as the main police force of Greater London within the Gardens.
The gardens open to the public from April to October, with a wide variety of lectures, tours, workshops and exhibitions lined up every year. It is also during this time many plot owners retreat to their little summerhouses and cottages here amidst the many plants, trees and flowers they have lovingly cultivated.
Opened on the 100th anniversary of the disaster, this is the only memorial in the world commemorating all 1,512 victims of the RMS Titanic, with each name inscribed on a 9m-long plinth.
The plants here have been carefully selected to reflect related elements to the disaster: white, silver and blues are used to mirror water and ice, while plants that do well in springtime were chosen to reflect the period of the disaster.
If you need a break from city life, just over an hour away from Berlin is Sanssouci Park. The sprawling grounds surrounds the Sanssouci Palace, the favourite retreat of King Frederick the Great and designed by the King himself.
A focal point of the park is the stunning terraced vineyard that cascades from the palace, where the king has been laid to rest at the top terrace. Don’t be surprised to find potatoes on his grave – he was widely known as the Potato King for his introduction of the crop to Germany.
A visit to Claude Monet’s garden is like walking through a living painting – exactly how Monet envisioned his garden to be. The French painter spent most of his days by the Water Garden, which along with its iconic lilies, is the main subject of his most famous paintings, the Nymphéas.
Over time, Monet developed a unique style of painting with light and mirror reflections from the water being a central element of his works.
Have a picnic, go on a trek and even enjoy a barbecue in the suburbs of Melbourne. Native Australian plants are the highlight of the gardens, and a variety of animals including rare and endangered species such as the Australasian Bittern can also be spotted here.
A must visit is the Red Sand Garden, reminiscent of the Australian outback. Best viewed from a height such as the Trig Point Lookout.
The largest surviving imperial garden in China, nearly all of the original design and landscaping of the 268-year-old gardens has been completely preserved, so you can be sure you are experiencing the same gardens the royal families from the Qing Dynasty did back in the 18th century.
Take a boat tour to maximise your day on the sprawling grounds. Travel across the magnificent Kunming lake to the front of Longevity Hill, a symmetrically-designed area with many intricate buildings and peaceful gardens to explore.
One of the largest and oldest parks in the city, the recently renovated park (formerly known as Mushrif Central Park) it is home to a children’s garden complete with wading pools, playgrounds and a petting zoo. Take time to admire the palm trees lining the promenades – over 200 of them were carefully preserved and replanted during the park’s refurbishment.
Aside from enjoying the spacious grounds and greenery, visitors can also look forward to the occasional open-air movie screening, weekend markets and even free yoga sessions.
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