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.
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
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:
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sorry, I missed that you said “revisit”.
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.
I always find botanists sort of more noble than animal biologists. They work with organisms that most people take completely for granted although their survival depends on them, and well plants are just fascinating.
It does depend on the botanist though , hahaha , sometimes they can be so passionate about their subject of research and take completely for granted that the language they use is way too technical for layman understanding.
I’m sure you’d love it in that case. Iceland is full of history, magic, and has such amazing fauna and flora.
Oh I would definitely love it , I’d particularly love to see an arctic fox. Hopefully one day I’ll get to see the island.
Oh, yes! That would be amazing. I actually looked into it before leaving, but never got around to it because it was a little out of the way in terms of the road trip itinerary.
In the West Fjords, you can go on a guided hiking tour to observe Arctic Foxes in their protected habitat.
Haven’t been to many gardens, but this one has to be my favorite so far: