6 Breathtaking Gardens to Visit in 2021
After a year of staying home, it’s time to start planning some post-Covid trips! Some of us travel to visit exotic beaches, while others traverse the globe to experience historical sites or sporting events. In most major cities around the world, as well as some hidden gems off the beaten path, breathtaking gardens are often hidden in plain sight. In cities like New York City, San Francisco, Beijing, and Copenhagen, botanic gardens house hundreds of meticulously cared for flowers, shrubs, and trees, along with unique fountains and sculptures that make these gardens a botanical paradise that any gardener needs to visit at least once in their lives. Check out the list below to start planning your next trip. Surely we’ll all be able to travel again soon.
Claude Monet Gardens
Let’s start with what is arguably the most recognizable garden in the world. While water lilies may be the most famous residents of the Monet Gardens, this expansive piece of land, originally crafted by Claude Monet himself, is home to a collection of plants from around the world, including Japanese cherry trees, Wisteria, Irises, and Climbing Roses, amongst dozens of other varieties. Now restored to its former state, visitors can find the same inspirations that Claude Monet did for his paintings as they stroll throughout the grounds and walk on the famous Japanese bridges.
Humble Administrator’s Garden
A recurring trend amongst gardens on this list is that many of them have also been named UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites, and the Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou certainly earns this title. Originally built in 1509, the grounds of this garden feature many water features that surround lush “islands” filled with flowers, trees, and pavilions that are hundreds of years old. The most predominant flora in the Humble Administrator’s Garden is the lotus, which grows in almost all of the ponds on the property, and is a holy and highly respected flower in the Chinese culture.
Kew Royal Botanic Gardens
Richmond, United Kingdom
Another UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens is located just a few miles outside of the hustle and bustle of London, yet transports visitors to another time and place as they take in the world’s largest and most diverse collection of living plants, grown across 300 acres of indoor and outdoor space. Collections at the Kew include bonsai, cacti, ornamental grasses, roses, orchids, azaleas, lilacs, magnolias, and more. One of the most impressive sections of the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens is its Carnivorous Plant collection, where visitors can view species including the Cephalotus follicularis, more commonly referred to as the pitcher plant.
Adelaide Botanic Garden
Smack dab in the middle of Adelaide, Australia’s 5th largest city, visitors will find the giant glass structures and surrounding grounds that is the Adelaide Botanic Garden. This 51 acre public garden features a most impressive rose garden, that each spring is filled with the blooms of over 5,000 roses. Free to visit, the garden features a variety of landscapes that represent different parts of Australia, ranging from wetlands to rainforests. Rose enthusiasts will be interested to learn more about the National Rose Trial Garden that is housed on the grounds, which is a proving ground of sorts for a roses’ suitability in Australian climates.
The Jefferson Monticello
One of the Founding Fathers of America, Thomas Jefferson was also an ardent horticulturalist and farmer, both growing fields full of cash crop and rows upon rows of fruits, vegetables, and flowers that he collected from his travels. While the gardens on the grounds of the Monticello are recreations, Jefferson took such detailed notes on each species that the recreation was made quite simple for gardeners. The fruit gardens on the Monticello’s property originally grew over 150 varieties of 31 different temperate species of fruit, including peaches, apples, strawberries, currants, and raspberries. The vegetable garden combined indigenous plants like potatoes and tomatoes with Western crops, such as okra and Jefferson’s favorites the Tennis-ball lettuce and the Prickly-seeded spinach. Gardening enthusiasts will marvel at the vast greenery that covers the more than 5,000 acres of land that makes up the grounds of the Monticello.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
This small island nation in Southeast Asia is often called “the city in the garden” because of its lush greenery at every turn. Made of 4 sections, Tanglin, Tyersall Gallop, Nassim, and Bukit Timah, the 182 acres of the Singapore Botanic Gardens is the only tropical garden to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The showcase piece of these grounds is the National Orchid Garden, which houses over 1,000 species of orchids. Also a research facility for orchid studies and cultivation, the garden also houses over 2,000 hybrid orchids. Another interesting claim to fame for the Singapore Botanic Gardens is that it is home to pioneering work on how to cultivate the rubber plant, which became a major crop for all of the Southeast Asian region throughout the 20th century.