20 Breathtaking Gardens Around the Globe That Demand a Personal Visit

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1.Ruth Bancroft Garden & Nursery in San Francisco

terremoto montecito home dry garden

A lifelong passion project of the late Ruth Bancroft, the 3.5 acre garden outside of San Francisco houses a renowned collection of succulents and drought-tolerant plants from across the world. The intuition continues to teach Bancroft’s lessons on the importance of water-conserving plants through classes and lectures for members of the community.

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2. Medellín Botanical Garden in Medellín, Colombia

Feria de las Flores 2016

Learn about the natural wonders of Colombia by spending an afternoon strolling the 35-acre oasis hidden in the heart of Medellín. Since its inauguration in 1972, the Medellín Botanical Garden has served as a green getaway for residents and visitors of the bustling city to relax amongst the 600 different species of tropical vegetation and flowering beauties.

In the center of the garden sits a honeycomb-like pavilion, the Orquideorama, which helps to protect an extensive orchid collection and butterfly reserve.

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3.Anne Spencer House & Garden Museum in Lynchburg, Virginia

poet anne spencer garden trellisRoger Foley

During her lifetime, renowned Harlem Renaissance poet Anne Spencer entertained the most brilliant and revolutionary Black leaders at her home garden in Lynchburg, Virginia. The civil rights activist and gardener spent years cultivating a bountiful oasis filled with roses, verdant shrubs, and countless other flowers that served as a creativity laboratory.

Today, her granddaughter, Shaun Spencer-Hester, helps to preserve the poet’s legacy as the executive director of the Anne Spencer House & Garden Museum, where guests are welcome to tour the home and grounds.

Join VERANDA for a tour of Virginia’s historic homes and gardens, including Anne Spencer’s home and garden in Lynchburg, in May 2022. Learn more here.

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4.Jardín Botánico de Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

botanical gardens puerto vallarta

High above the sandy beaches and wellness resorts of Puerto Vallarta sits a tropical wonderland waiting to be explored in the Sierra Madre mountains. Jardín Botánico de Vallarta is known to have Mexico’s most diverse orchid collections along with thousands of native plants and flowers.

The songs of hundreds of birds will act as the garden’s soundtrack as guests walk through the fields of 6,000 blue agaves and marvel at the butterflies fluttering through the vanilla vines and cacao trees.

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5. Dubai Miracle Garden in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

miracle garden in dubai

With nearly 150 million flowers on display, Dubai Miracle Garden quite possibly may be the world’s largest natural flower garden. Horticulturists and gardeners designers change the floral structures and exhibitions each season to ensure visitors who come year get a new experience every time. The garden is only open during the cooler months, but the indoor butterfly garden and sanctuary on the grounds are open year-round.

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6. Pukekura Park in New Plymouth, New Zealand

bridge at the pukekura public park, new plymouth, new zealand

Set at the center of the breezy coastal city of New Plymouth, Pukekura Park stretches over 128 acres with alluring formal gardens, stunning waterfalls, and expansive greenhouses of ferns and indoor plants. The botanical marvel was established in 1876 as a place for visitors to discover through native and exotic plantings and stroll along two lakes. A number events are held at the park including the famed Festival of Lights during the holiday season.

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7. Mauritius National Botanical Garden in Pamplemousses, Mauritius

mauritius botanical garden

Formally known as Sir Seewoosagur Botanic Garden, the lush wonder, located in Pamplemousse, is the oldest botanical garden in the Southern Hemisphere.

The origins of the can be traced to 1735 when a private garden by the French Governor of Mauritius, François Mahé de Labourdonnais. Since then, the botanical garden grew house more than 650 varieties of plants and 86 different varieties of palm trees from across the world.

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8. Aswan Botanical Garden in Aswan, Egypt

botanical gardens in aswan egypt

Covering over 16 acres with hundreds of species of flora and beautiful birds, the Aswan Botanical Garden constitutes the entirety of Kitchener’s Island in the Nile.

The island was given to Lord Horatio Kitchener in the 1890s after serving as commander of the Egyptian army. Kitchener utilized his knowledge of exotic palms and plants to transform the island into a global display of rare blooms from East Asia, India and other parts of Africa.

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9. Powerscourt Estate in Enniskerry, Ireland

powerscourt estate enniskerry ireland

In an effort commemorate his reign and leadership, Richard Wingfield, 1st Viscount Powerscourt, commissioned the German-born architect Richard Castle to build a 68-room mansion resembling a great Italian Renaissance villa in 1730.

The gardens, developed to complement the Palladian architecture, were created over two main periods. The formal plan for the gardens was laid shortly after the estate was finished, but the design was not implemented until the 1840s.

From thriving wall gardens to unique Japanese planting to the enchanting Tower Valley, the lush wonder exhibits the best in landscape design with breathtaking views of Sugar Loaf Mountain.

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10.Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou, China

chinese pavilion of humble administrator's garden in suzhou, chinaredstone//Getty Images

Originally built in 1509 during the Ming Dynasty, the Humble Administrator’s Garden started as a private garden for the Imperial Envoy and poet Wang Xianchen. The legend goes that Wang longed to retire from the stresses of official life, and the garden served as the perfect place for him to create a new quiet life.

Built upon the ruins of the Dahong Temple, the expansive landscape contains 48 different buildings with 101 tablets, 40 steles, 21 precious old trees, and over 700 Suzhou-style penjing. Not only is it considered by many Chinese horticulturists as one of the finest gardens in all of southern China, the verdant escape was also named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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11. The Singapore Botanic Gardens in Singapore

chinese pavilion of humble administrator's garden in suzhou, china

With the moniker “City in a Garden,” Singapore lives up to its reputation with a remarkable array of gardens and parks seamlessly integrated into the city-state’s cutting-edge architecture and skyscrapers. Among these verdant marvels, the Botanic Gardens stand out as a crown jewel, spanning over 60 acres and showcasing a breathtaking variety of flowering wonders. Not only a picturesque retreat, the Botanic Gardens also serve as a pioneering tropical botanical institute.

The concept of a national garden in Singapore dates back to 1822, when Sir Stamford Raffles initiated the development of an “experimental garden” at Fort Canning. Over the years, this garden has flourished, embracing the cityscape and cultivating a distinctive collection of tropical flora.

12. Las Pozas in Xilitla, Mexico

las pozas xilitla mexico

Nestled in the heart of the Huasteca region lies an eccentric display of sculptures hidden amongst the lush jungle vegetation and vibrant orchids. Las Pozas origins date back to 1962 when English poet and artist Edward James began building Surrealist-style elements inspired by many of his plants which were destroyed by frost.

The gardens feature nine flowing pools and more than 30 structures—some resembling plants, staircases, and cathedral screen, and others looking almost incomplete. Though, it’s believed that may have been the quirky artist’s intent after all.

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13. Gardens of Villandry in Villandry, France

garden of villandry france

Jean Le Breton, Minister of Finance for François I, had visions of grandeur when he acquired the land and former ancient fortress in which Château de Villandry stands today. Breton drew upon his own architectural skills and interest in gardening to developed a carefully laid , ornamental garden that connected seamlessly to the chateau’s interiors.

However, as the property switch owners, the verdant oasis underwent many drastic changes. It wasn’t until 1906 when new owner Joachim Carvallo pour time and effort into that the gardens finally returned to their Renaissance roots.

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14. Mirabell Palace and Gardens in Salzburg, Austria

mirabell palace and garden austria

In 1606, Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich commissioned the construction of the Mirabell Palace and gardens as place for his beloved Salome Alt and him to escape to away from the stressful life at court. The romantic Baroque-style gardens as they are known today were later designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach in 1690 with mythology-themed statues sprinkled throughout.

The botanical wonder even made it to the silver screen in the The Sound of Music, where Maria and the the von Trapp children dance around the Pegasus Fountain and on Rose Hill.

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15. Kenroku-en Garden in Kanazawa, Japan

kenroku en garden kanazawa japan

Touted as one of the “Three Great Gardens of Japan,” Kenroku-en reflects harmony with nature in its simplistic yet meticulously planned landscapes. Construction of the serene splendor started in the middle of the 17th century by the Maeda clan and lasted for almost 200 years.

Kenroku-en directly translates to “Garden of the Six Sublimities”, referencing the essential attributes to a perfect garden in Chinese landscape theory: artifice, seclusion, panorama, antiquity, waterways and spaciousness. Much of the garden’s history can be seen in its charming ponds, quaint tea and rest houses, and islands of native flora.

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16. Claude Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France

claude monet’s garden veranda

The house and gardens of Claude Monet allow art enthusiasts to explore the landscapes and ponds that inspired the French Impressionist’s most iconic pieces of works like The Water Lily Pond and The Artist’s Garden at Giverny.

Taken by the quaint village in northern France, Monet settled into his pink stucco cottage in 1883, where he would spend the rest of his life and build his well-known front garden “Clos Normand” and water lily pond “Jardin d’Eau.” Climbing rose arbors frame the path to stunning weeping willows, blooming fruit trees, and a Japanese bridge.

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17. Nongnooch Tropical Garden in Pattaya, Thailand

Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden Veranda

Stretching over 500 acres in the coastal city of Pattaya, the Nongnooch Tropical Garden contains more than 670 native plant species and quirky exhibitions including a miniature replica of Stonehenge and an ant tower. Pisit and Nongnooch Tansacha first purchased the land in 1954 with the intention to turn the space into a fruit plantation, but later opened the space to the public in 1980 as a tropical flower and plant conservation. Apart from the perfectly manicured gardens, visitors can also enjoy Thai cultural shows, a car museum, a fishing pond, and elephant shows.

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18. The Master-of-Nets in Suzhou, China

Recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, the Master-of-Nets Garden illustrates classical Suzhou design and establishes a relationship between art and nature. The quaint residential green space, designed during the Song dynasty, includes pavilions, halls music rooms, ponds, and alluring bamboo groves all within one acre of land. The Metropolitan Museum of Art modeled their Astor Court after the scholar’s courtyard within the Master-of-Nets.

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19. Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London

Kew Gardens VerandaThe birth of the Royal Botanic Gardens dates back to 1759 when Princess Augusta, mother of King George III, founded a nine-acre botanic garden within the Greater London area of Kew. Throughout the years, the Kew Gardens expanded to now span more than 300 acres of gardens and greenhouses and boasts the largest botanical and mycological collections in the world. A high treetop walkway offers impressive views of the grounds including the Palm House, which houses the lush indoor rainforest.

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20. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town, South Africa

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden VerandaWolfgang Kaehler//Getty Images

Located at the slope of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden became the first botanic garden in the world committed to native flora in 1913. One of the main attractions, the steel and timber canopy walkway winds through and over the trees of the Arboretum while offering serene views of the surrounding mountains and Cape Flats. Kirstenbosch also houses an expansive conservatory that exhibits plants indigenous to different biomes of South Africa including savanna, fynbos, and karoo.

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