Gardens Worth Traveling For
People travel for many different reasons. For some, it is the dream of ticking off their destination bucket list, while food lovers will happily travel across the globe for incredible cuisine. But garden lovers and nature enthusiasts are instantly mesmerised by the sprawling grounds and lush estates famously designed and perfectly maintained worldwide.
One visit to any of these spectacular gardens will leave you brimming with creative inspiration and motivation to transform your garden at home. You will be heading to your nearest hardware store for the perfect hedge trimmers in no time.
Gardens Worth Traveling for – Château de Versailles, France
During the 17th century, the famous French landscape designer André Le Nôtre created the lush gardens of Versailles, southwest of Paris, at the behest of Louis XIV. The Sun King, as he was known during his reign, wanted the gardens to highlight the beauty of his palace, which served as the ultimate monument to his ruling power.
The 250 acres are filled with winding paths that lead to flourishing flower beds, quiet hidden corners with classical decor, crystal blue ornamental lakes, and the very canal King Louis used for gondola rides.
The Master-of-Nets Gardens, China
The Master-of-Nets Garden, or Wangshiuan in Chinese, is a residential garden in southeast China. Originally designed during the Song dynasty, from A.D. 960-1270, the clever and intricate arrangement of pavilions, halls, music rooms, winsome bamboo groves, and waterside perches is a wonderful example of natural harmony.
The central area feels like a small world within itself, with large piles of yellow stones forming mini ‘mountains,’ complete with caverns and a small, arched bridge famously named the ‘leading to quietude,’ which crosses a pond to the small pavilion located right in the center of the entire property.
Villa d’Este, Italy
A prominent Renaissance cardinal decided to improve life in Tivoli by turning a dilapidated Benedictine monastery into a stunning villa known as the Villa d’Este. This beautiful location was further highlighted by including one of the world’s most fascinating garden and fountain complexes, which UNESCO has recently listed as one of Italy’s 31 most significant historical and artistic sites.
Any visitor to this fascinating destination should take in the Fontana del Bicchierone, where water pours from a large shell-shaped basin; the Rometta fountain, which features a minute Rom alongside a wolf-suckling Remus and Romulus; and the Avenue of the Hundred Fountains, where water flows from various animal heads, lilies, small boats, basins and more.
Sans Souci, Germany
In Potsdam, Germany, Sans Souci was the brainchild of Frederick the Great of Prussia, who built this splendid rococo palace as a summer escape, where he could live without a care in the world. The lavish gardens feature many beautiful flowers dotted with busts of Roman emperors, decorative statues, and a Chinese teahouse.
Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, England
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew are 326 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, with quaint greenhouses acting as a popular feature throughout the gardens. Underneath their easy-to-spot roofs, botanical science and conservation efforts come together in this spectacular setting just 10 miles from central London.
Located on the property, the Temperate House is the world’s largest Victorian greenhouse, while the Bonsai House has trees that are more than 150 years old. In the Palm House, visitors can experience ten different climatic zones, which grow baobab trees and vanilla orchids.
To the English folks of the 18th century, the more classical something could be, the more appeal it held. Stourhead, in Warminster, is a dazzling example of this refined fascination of the past. Henry Hoare II accented the sprawling grounds of his Wilshire estate with re-created ruins and classical buildings that defined the ancient world, including the Pantheon and Temple of Apollo.
Powerscourt Garden, Ireland
The gardens and grand Palladian villa found at Powerscourt, just south of Dublin, were initially designed and built in the 18th century. It is 47 acres of formal walled gardens and beautifully shaded ponds.
The grounds, tumbling waterfalls, parks, garden pavilions, and tree-line arbors were inspired by the Italian Renaissance and the majestic estates and gardens found in France and Germany. Picturesque terraces and formal landscapes are perfectly planned, surrounded by the imposing beauty of the Wicklow Mountains.
Dumbarton Oaks, United States
Dumbarton Oak is located at the north end of Georgetown, considered one of Washington’s poshest neighbourhoods. Here, vines tumble down the stone walls that enclose the Fountain Terrace, while Lovers’ Lane will allow visitors to stroll past a Roman-style amphitheatre built around a small, royal-blue pool.
Take your time admiring and experiencing the estate’s beauty, making you feel like you have stepped onto a Merchant-Ivory set in modern-day America.
Butchart Gardens, British Columbia
The Butchart Gardens are a spectacular example of a successful reclamation project. The land was used for years by Portland Cement, which had exhausted its value as a quarry by 1904. That was when Jennie Butchart, the wife of Portland Cement’s owner, decided to fill the space with soil collected by nearby farms.
Her vision and project quickly grew into a 55-acre tract filled with over 700 varieties of plants that bloom annually from March to October. For many, the chance to see so many different plants in one convenient location is easily the most significant motivating factor to visit this incredible site.
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