Favourite Botanical Gardens you have visited?

Hey anodyne33 , Thanks for the reply !

I checked out the website for the Phipps Botanical garden and one thing that strikes me as particularly impressive is that they will soon put on an exhibition about Cuban flora and give the tropical house a Cuban atmosphere. Not only that but they have been preparing for it for three years, that shows some serious dedication!

It always impresses me when botanical gardens /zoos/ museums showcase the fauna and flora of smaller countries/ islands in contrast to focusing on the larger more “crowd-pleasing” environments like species from well known tropical rainforests or African grasslands. In the case of Cuba its very important to raise awareness because as an island it has some incredibly rare and endangered plants and animal species that are endemic and occur nowhere else and as the country opens up to the outside world the need for conservation will grow.

Those sculptures look like slendermen or something from an Ayahuasca vision hahaha I bet the ones you bought look brilliant.

I think you’re absolutely right, @Monsieur_Mictlan! I’ve not been to many botanical gardens but what you say with regard to the trade off rings true in my experience. Last year I went to the botanical gardens in Brussels with my brother and we were really underwhelmed - certainly leaving without any of the strong feelings and affection that you describe.

Thinking about it after posting, I re-realised just how small and intimate those gardens in Ferrara are. It might have been partly due to my mood on the day - or the heavy influence of the turtles - but I came away feeling like I’d experienced a special little place. Of course, it’s subjective but the wider point that smaller, more obscure gardens can triumph over the big ones certainly rings true.

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Or perhaps it was a combination of your mood that day and the ambience of the gardens through its landscape design. There is a lot of research being done on green spaces and the different impacts they can have on psychology and moods. I think that the ancient classical civilizations of Southern Europe like the Hellenistic cultures of Greece and the Etruscans and Romans of Italy grasped the wisdom of cultivating sacred groves and gardens and realized that these were inherently good for the soul.

Its interesting that you mention the turtles because the presence of animals either wild or captive in botanical gardens is something that I find decisive on whether I enjoy a visit. I guess its something related to the Biophilia hypothesis but apart from feeling immersed in floral surroundings the presence of fauna just adds to that overall feeling of connection. For example , whenever I visit Kew Gardens I love to watch the antics of the Chinese waterdragons that are kept in the waterlilly house , in the UNAM gardens in Mexico city its the hummingbirds and butterflies while in the Sao Paulo botanical garden in Brazil I really enjoy watching the wildlife , the sloths , toucans and monkeys.

On the subject of Italian botanical gardens , I am really hoping to visit Italy in the New Year and was wondering whether you have visited Lazio or have any further reccomendations ?

They have a regular Cuban section, too. The kids always love hanging out in the car (probably an old Nash) that looks like something you’d find as a taxi in Cuba! No Chihuly glass came home with me unfortunately. I’d have to live in some of the big pieces if I bought one. :slight_smile:

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Longwood Gardens is a day trip outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The grounds and indoor displays are immense. There are numerous programs and changing indoor exhibits in addition to nighttime fountain displays and theater productions using some of the fountains as curtains. Here’s their link: https://longwoodgardens.org/
and, Longwood Christmas Season | Longwood Gardens
The site is handicapped accessible, invites service dogs and has ecv’s to rent.

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Buchart Gardens in Victoria BC, Canada. It is in an abandoned rock quarry outside of the city. Displays change seasonally so any time of year is a great time to visit. The gardens can be visited at night as well to get a whole different perspective. My suggestion is to visit late in the afternoon, pause for a lovely dinner in the garden restaurant and then walk around the garden to enjoy the way the lights affect the view. Sometimes fireworks shows are an added plus to the evening. It is easy to get to with transportation from the city. No car is needed in Victoria.

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We visited Wales last Aug/Sept - GORGEOUS COUNTRY! - and spent time at the Bodnant Gardens Bodnant Garden | National Trust. Magical and a must-see. Closer to home, don’t miss the New York Botanical Garden https://www.nybg.org

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An amazing botanical garden to visit is the Akureyri Botanical Garden in Northern Iceland. Located just 50 km from the Arctic Circle it’s one of the most northern botanical gardens. We spent an afternoon walking through the lovely trails to see all of the different flowers and plants. There’s also a nice “hygge” cafe located near the entrance and close to the nursery, which you can also visit.

Below I’ve added a few photos from our visit and you can check out the link for extra info:

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Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in South Africa
(The varieties of Proteas was a remarkable part of it)
Highly recommended also:
Mt Coot-Tha Botanic Gardens near Brisbane in Queensland
Australia

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So I’ll just add a few to the mix. The Atlanta Botanical Gardens here in town is great. Huge hothouse area, lots of outdoor space, an orangerie, concerts, art, and if you like orchids, that’s their specialty.

The Georgia Botanical Garden up in Athens, GA is also nice, not very large, but if you’re in the area it’s very cool, and their range of plants is more scientific than entertaining, due to UGA being a big agricultural school.

It’s been mentioned, but I grew up going to Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia, PA, lovely, and good events.

Lastly, the last time I was in San Diego, I wouldn’t say it was a formal garden, but they had many plots of all different roses on a pedestrian walkway right by the ocean. Fascinating to be able to compare all the varietals side by side.

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Auckland, New Zealand, has lovely rolling botanical gardens. I also love the city’s Wintergardens (NZ Gardens Trust - Auckland), which are Victorian greenhouses with fantastic subtropical and tropical plants.

Visiting Oaxaca City, in Mexico, later this year—the botanical gardens are pretty high up on my list of things to do, if these photos are anything to go by: Oaxaca's Ethnobotanical Garden | Garden Design.

An especially cool detail - “During the excavation and building of the Jardín Etnobotánico, archaeologists uncovered 400-year-old structures, in some cases dating back to the construction of Santo Domingo.” They incorporated the structures into the plantings! “A bathing-washing pit once used by Dominican novices is now shaded by soapberry, agave, and other plants used to make soap; near the monastery’s library, along the western wall enclosing the garden, de Ávila planted a fig tree—the particular species was a source for the finest indigenous paper in pre-Columbian times.”

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Thank you for the suggestion. A friend recommended Ferrara to me the other day, and now you add the information about the wonderful botanical garden. It is now on my list.

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I too am a sucker for gardens in general, they don’t have to be big either. I have been blessed with being able to spend spring in the UK and Ireland the past few years and have found several that I highly recommend.

  1. Chelsea Physic Garden - London. It’s been a garden since the 1600s and started as a garden for pharmacists, then moved to being a garden for scientific research. It’s located right on the Thames, so explorer’s ships could sail up the river and drop off the specimens that they had collected from around the world. All of the plants there are medicinal in some way or another. They also have an interesting poison garden filled with plants that can be used to kill someone.

  2. The Eden Project - Cornwall, UK. It is an educational botanical garden built in an unused strip mine. You could easily spend an entire day here. They have a rainforest that you can climb up on to platforms to get up into the trees, a Mediterranean garden and everything in between. It’s great fun and perfect on a rainy day - of which there are many in Cornwall.

  3. The Lost Gardens of Heligan - Cornwall, UK. Not too far from the Eden Project. It has a fascinating history of basically being long-forgotten during the first world war. The place was abandoned, only to be rediscovered in the 1970s. The land - house and property have been in the same family for over 400 years and it’s been maintained as a working farm and gardens that include structured Victorian gardens with glass frames, brick walls, etc. to grow both flowers and edible plants and then there are miles and miles of walking through wooded gardens that display thousands of subtropical plants. Cornwall has a great climate for these plants.

  4. Vandeleur Walled Gardens - Kilrush, Co. Clare, Ireland. Another long-forgotten garden that underwent complete renovation about 20 years ago. It’s small, free, and stunning. There is a vegetable garden as well flowers, trees, shrubs, and even succulents in a glass house. It’s not on any tourist route, but if you find yourself in Western Ireland, I highly recommend stopping. The little cafe also has tasty sandwiches and cakes. Even though this place is small, I spent about 3 hours here making photographs and could have stayed a bit longer.

  5. David Austin Rose Center - Albritton, England. This I visited in November and while the rose bushes were mostly empty of blooms, I have this marked as one to go back to. It’s in a lovely area of England and the gardens are stunningly designed. There is a shop that sells books, lovely gifts, gardening tools, and of course, David Austin bare root roses that you can plant if you live in the UK. You probably cannot take them from the country easily. They also have a lovely cafe with tasty tea and cakes.

I find myself fantasizing about doing a grand garden tour of Europe or maybe just start planning my trips around gardens. Anyone know of any companies that might do this?

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Thank-you for the reply Deep fried duck !

A question, does the Atlanta botanical garden have a frog conservation area in it ? And is it open to the public ?

I think I’ve heard that they have an area there set aside for amphibian conservation.

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I might be thinking of the wrong place but doesn’t one of the botanical gardens you mentioned have a tuatara that is over 100 years old ?

You will really love the Oaxaca botanical garden , it is indeed beautiful and of course the relationship that it showcases between local indigenous history and the plants of the region is fascinating.

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Oh wow ! It looks lovely !

I’ve actually finished reading recently quite a few of the old Icelandic Viking sagas and have been wondering about the landscape and plants and animals there.

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Love both the Eden project and Chelsea physics garden.

I’m hoping to revisit Chelsea physics garden in Spring to take another look at their datura plants.

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Oh wonderful. Do let me know what you think. They offer tours with docents. We had a great one who brought the whole history alive for us. Also, the Chelsea Physic Garden, like the others, has a lovely cafe. :smiley:

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The first time I visited I thought it was wonderful.

But this time round I’m mainly going to see the datura stramonium they have , its a plant that has fascinated me for a long time.

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Sorry, I missed that you said “revisit”. :smiley:
Oh yes, the Devil’s snare. I had to look that up. I’m just now starting to learn plants by their scientific names. I am always impressed by those who can. The docent we had said that she could remember about 2000 of them. Incredible!

I coupled my visit with a trip to the Chelsea Flower Show that same week. It was madness, but in a pleasant and exciting way.

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