Small, large or outrageously grand. Wherever you travel, a wander around a great garden can be a bonus for anyone. Getting away from the streets in a big city or town through a garden escape can have a most positive effect, regenerating the mood or calming after a long day of sight-seeing. Even when I was in the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown, New Zealand, I found there was a beautiful green space to help me wind down.
Spring and summer together with the hours of labor from green-thumbed souls can create color beyond colors — nature with art — laid out in vast splendor or pretty little corners. Different climates and different fashions of yesteryear have helped create some flowery artistic wonders around the globe.
Netherlands – Keukenhof Gardens
This is the largest ‘flower garden’ in the world, and so the least you can expect from the Netherlands is to be the largest exporter of flowers in the world. Do not think endless open fields of tulips, but flower varieties laid out in one huge garden area. Take in the English-style landscapes, water gardens and even an historical garden to see the bulbs and the way it was done in yesteryear. Keukenhof is situated in the town of Lisse and open from March to May.
Canada – Butchart Gardens
If a garden is so well visited and is given the honor of being a National Historic Site of Canada then you know it’s not going to be a shabby affair! More than a million people a year come to visit here on Vancouver Island. What once started out as a limestone quarry for the cement industry in the Butchart family has become a beautiful sunken garden.
France – The Gardens of Versailles
You want meticulous? Perfect lawns on an extremely large scale? The Gardens of Versailles offers almost 2,000 acres of both next to the Palace, and royal views made for kings. Millions of visitors a year come to relax and marvel at the splendor here. It’s one of France’s biggest draws, in fact, with sculptures and immaculate rows of trees. The gardens also have open grass with evidence of hundreds of years of what must be continuous hard work.
Italy – Villa D’Este
On a smaller scale but just as beautiful are the masterpieces of small gardens dotted around the world, inspired by classical ideals of the 16th century. The Italian Renaissance inspired new ideas about gardens. To the East of Rome at Tivoli is Villa D’Este, which features pools, fountains upon fountains, hanging trees and landscaping. Typical of a grand garden of its time, it’s the kind that went on to inspire French Renaissance gardens and even the English Garden.
Every city, and I am sure every town, wherever you go there will be a wonderful garden to relax in. So many to list. I will probably show more soon. What/where are your favorites?
(Main image: Laurence Arnold)
Read another blog post Paul wrote for Cheapflights: Reflections on the water of the world