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From abandoned quarries, to musical gardens and transformed distilleries, here are the must-see gardens around the world.
Château de Versailles is already world-renowned for its spectacular gardens, but from March 31–October 31 2017, the largest open-air sculpture museum in the world will also feature baroque music playing throughout the day, coupled with extravagant water displays. Day or night, with 15 French-style groves designed by André Le Nôtre, and 55 fountains and pools, the Musical Gardens are prime for a little summer ambiance and Instagram-worthy photos.
The Sonnenberg Gardens, located in the famous Finger Lakes Region in upstate New York, is a 50-acre public site that features one of the most verdant displays in the world. There is also a 19th-century Victorian mansion on site, gifted by Frederick Ferris and Mary Clark Thompson, so visitors can explore the splendor of the former summer home, as well. According to the garden’s website, “Sonnenberg is one of the few Country Place Era Estates remaining in the United States. It is distinctive for its extraordinary collections of period architecture, garden statuary, themed gardens of the world including a Japanese Garden and Teahouse, and a Lord & Burnham Greenhouse Complex.”
It may be worth a trip to Texas just for the gardens at Fort Worth. While the roses in their famous Rose Garden are currently being replanted, there’s still a lot to see within the garden grounds. Built in the early 20th century, the oldest botanical garden in Texas includes a 7-acre Japanese Garden with waterfalls, bridges, and a tea house; a Four Seasons Garden which includes several plants varieties (like chrysanthemums and daylilies); a Backyard Vegetable Garden, and more.
Opening this summer 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky, this former 19th-century distillery will soon transform into a luscious, southern garden. Designed by garden landscaper Jon Carloftis, the Castle & Key grounds will feature southern magnolia, hydrangea, and even a “Herb Ruin” that will contain 39 varieties of botanicals for the distillery’s spirits. So you can grab a gin and tonic, and have your own little splendor in the grass.
The Jardim Botânico, founded in 1808 by the King of Portugal, is home to nearly 6,500 flora varieties. As a UNESCO biosphere reserve, the botanical garden has a Japanese Garden, an orchid house, and even a Sensory Garden filled with aromatic plants and fountains to provide an alternative experience for blind visitors.
The story alone behind these gardens is enough to make you want to visit. The Butchart Gardens originally started out as an abandoned quarry, which was later transformed by Jennie Butchart—the “enterprising wife” of Robert P. Butchart, a pioneer in the cement industry. After her husband “exhausted the limestone deposits,” she had soil brought in and began working on her sunken garden. Today, the “deep expansive walls (remnants of the old quarry) cradle beds of annuals, flowering trees, and unique shrubs.” In addition to the Sunken Garden, there is a Mediterranean Garden, a Rose Garden, a Japanese Garden, and an Italian Garden on site.
One of the most beautiful gardens in the world, Powerscourt is a rambling verdant wonder that includes some of the best views in Ireland. Designed in the early 18th century, the mix of formal gardens, statues, and pathways, with a view of Sugar Loaf Mountain is not to be missed. Powerscourt Gardens includes The Walled Gardens, The Japanese Gardens, The Italian Garden, and more.