It's that time of year again, when the flowers start to bloom, and it's time to get gardening. Or at least, for some people, it's time to get gardening. For many, there's simply not the time or the inclination for the hours of care and upkeep a truly stunning garden requires. But just because some of us struggle to keep a houseplant alive, never mind healthy, doesn't mean we don't appreciate a stunning garden when we see it. So, here are ten of the world's most beautiful gardens!
9 Butchart Gardens, Canada
8 Peterhof Gardens, Russia
7 Kenrokuen Garden, Japan
6 Chateau de Versailles, France
5 Las Pozas, Mexico
4 The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Scotland
This thirty acre garden's only open to the public one day a year, where admission fees go to support Maggie's Centers (a cancer care charity), and it's well worth the trip. The garden's set on the grounds of Portrack House, an 18th century manor. The garden, completed in 1989, was designed by Charles Jencks, an architect turned landscape sculptor. It's a whimsical exploration of the universe, with features like the Cascading Universe, a series of steps leading down the hill into a pond, recounting, metaphorically, the story of the universe.
The garden's landforms and man-made lakes are designed with fractal geometry in mind, and the view from one of the terraces is meant to call the space-time distortions caused by black holes to mind. This year, it's open from noon to five on Sunday, May 4th, so book your tickets now!
3 Wangshiyuan, China
2 Jardin Majorelle, Morocco
This garden was designed and tended by artist Jacques Majorelle, who populated it with carefully color-coordinated plants from all over the world, with the walls painted a stunning 'Majorelle Blue' a bright cobalt blue that makes the healthy green of the plant leaves even more apparent. The garden was opened to the public in the 40s, but by the 1980s, it was slated to be sold and a hotel built on the grounds.
1 Villa d'Este, Italy
The Villa D'Este and its garden has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it epitomizes the Italian Baroque style. The garden has several terraces, and is rich with stunning fountains and a breathtaking view overlooking it from the villa. The work on the villa and the gardens was begun by Cardinal Ippolito Il d'Este, after his failed bid for the papacy, in the 1550s, and was almost complete by the time of his death in 1572.
Part of the Teylingen Castle estates, Keukenhof Gardens was once a woodland where game was hunted for the castle's kitchens (the name 'Keukenhof' means kitchen courtyard in Dutch). But in 1857, the lands were redesigned by Jan David Zocher and his son, Louis Paul, to turn it into an English landscape style garden, the bones of which the modern garden still conforms to. The best time to visit these gardens is in the spring, as the gardens have been home to flower exhibitions, with the first one taking place in 1949. Now, the garden provides a stunning stage on which to showcase the Dutch floricultural industry.
The garden's Oranje Nassau Pavilion features a different flower every week, the Willem-Alexander Pavilion's devoted to tulips (over 600 varieties of them), and the Beatrix Pavilion is currently showcasing orchids. The gardens also offer flower-arranging demonstrations. The entrance fee is 15 euros (or about $21) per adult, and the gardens are open from the 20th of March to the 18th of May this year.
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