These Botanical Gardens will show you that Mother Nature’s Garden is one that is bursting with variety…
A great Botanical Garden is bursting with life and variety, beautifully landscaped and clearly signed – so that you can easily decipher what plant is what. Visiting one is like stepping into a veritable Garden of Eden – utilising a mixture of glasshouses as well as the local environment to their advantages – professional gardeners transform acres of plain grounds into lush, verdant habitats that visitors can lose hours wandering around.
Here are the 6 Botanical Gardens that you must check out in your lifetime:
Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya, Kandy – Sri Lanka
Situated just a short drive away from the cultural centre of Kandy, the sizeable grounds of Sri Lanka’s Royal Botanic Gardens have been impressing visitors for decades. A huge variety of plants, endemic to the small island, are scattered throughout the easily traversable park (although there are powered scooters available to hire, for those not willing to spend hours on their feet). In addition to the stunning Orchid Garden and giant species of trees, there are also small troops of monkeys that patrol the grounds – providing ad hoc entertainment for the wandering tourists.
You won’t need to rely on good weather to enjoy Wales’ only Botanical Garden, as it’s home to the largest greenhouse in the world. The Great Glasshouse, designed by award-winning architects Foster and Partners, utilises biomass fuels to maintain a mild temperature that sustains life for the dozens of species of equatorial plants and flowers. Beyond the huge glass structure, there’s acres of wonderfully landscaped gardens to explore that can be viewed from a distance at the nearby 17th Century Mansion that lies on the estate – a must-see if you’re visiting Wales.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London – England
No trip to the Capital is complete without a day spent in the tranquil grounds of Kew Gardens. Run by a governing body of highly respected scientists that employs 750 people to continually research the plant life there, the Gardens make for a perfect day out for any visitors to London looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Work began on the Gardens back in 1759, as such there are a wealth of Grade I and Grade II listed buildings to compliment the massive variety of tropical, sub-tropical and English plants – all meticulously cared for by the RHS gardeners there.
Covering a massive 385 acres of land, Chicago Botanic Garden classes itself as a ‘living plant museum’ that is situated on 9 of the stunning islands in the Cook County Forest Preserves. Entrance is absolutely free, although you will have to pay $25 to park your car there – but it’s well worth it. A generous 25 display gardens are scattered across the huge open spaces, providing visitors with days of endless exploring where you can discover just some of the 2.5 million different plants on display there. On top of the plant life, there are research and science centres providing some variety and context to the relatively untamed wilderness.
If you’re visiting Hawaii then, chances are, you’re already surrounded by a tropical paradise – however if you’re looking for an even higher concentration of beauty then why not check out one of the youngest Botanical Gardens on this list. Opened to the public in 1984, what these grounds lack for in heritage, they more than make up for in beauty and accessibility. Winding pathways weave in and out of the thick tropical foliage, providing shade from what can be exhausting heat. Some of the fruit trees there have been growing for over a 100 years, so even though the garden may feel modern, the plants are anything but.
Giardino dell’Iris, Florence – Italy
Although Italy is rammed full of garden spaces, there are none more picturesque and timeless than Florence’s Giardino dell’Iris. A horticultural landmark of Italy’s prettiest city since the 13th Century, on a quiet day it can feel like stepping back in time. Specialising in the growth of iris flowers, it’s only open for 3 weeks or so every year in May – if you manage to make it there in time you won’t have to pay for entry and you’ll find the relaxing ambience of the garden a refreshing reprieve from the sometimes hectic city centre. Expect to be surrounded by flowers, with very little context – it’s the Italian way!