Top Ten Gardens

Whenever I’m travelling around the world and visiting new places, I always make a point of seeking out any interesting gardens in the area; these provide some tranquillity and relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of travelling.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Cape Town
Kirstenbosch Gardens, Cape Town

Many of the better ones are national/regional botanic gardens or surround grand houses, but there are also some attractive small gardens to be found. The style and content of the gardens often provide an insight into the local history and culture.

So here, in no particular order, is my personal choice of Top Ten Gardens. Your own choices of top gardens are probably very different from mine, but all these ten gardens, each of which has its own unique features, have provided me with great pleasure and are ones which I will happily revisit whenever I get the chance.

  • Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Scotland. Situated on a hill to the north of the city – beautifully landscaped gardens and extensive glasshouses featuring plants from the world’s different climatic zones.
  • Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa. On the eastern slopes of Table Mountain 89 acres of cultivated gardens, with a conservatory, within a 1305 acre nature reserve. About 7,000 plant species, many being members of the unique Cape Flora.

    Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
    Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
  • Villa d’Este, Tivoli, Italy. A small 16th-century water garden, with many fountains and pools. This garden can be even more fascinating in the winter when sometimes the fountains and pools are frozen.
  • Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra, Australia. Sited on the slopes of the Black Mountain, these gardens are devoted to Australian flora. Interesting rock gardens and a swamp environment.
  • Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Florida, USA. Not far away from the hectic centre of Miami, a tranquil garden on the edge of Biscayne Bay with art being a key feature.
  • Ilnacullin Garden, SW Ireland.  This magical island garden, warmed by the Gulf Stream is a 10 minute boat ride from the mainland. Large collections of camellias and magnolias and great views back to the mainland.
  • Palmengarten, Frankfurt, Germany. A plant paradise nestling in the middle of large office blocks. This attractively set out collection of native, sub-tropical and tropical plants is the largest garden of its kind in Germany.
  • Naritasan Park, Narita, Japan. Small, but perfectly formed temple gardens, in easy reach of Narita International Airport.

    Palmengarten, Frankfurt
    Palmengarten, Frankfurt
  • Jardim Botânico de Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  A peaceful tropical garden not far from the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema and with views of Christ the Redeemer statue.
  • Wellington Botanic Gardens, New Zealand. A unique hillside landscape of protected native plants, colourful floral displays and views of Wellington. A tip for Seniors: take the cable car up to the top of the gardens and then stroll back down to the sea level.

As my travels continue this list may well expand to my Top Twenty Gardens, or even Top Hundred!

Please comment in About Us and let me know whether you agree with my selection. Which are your favourites gardens?