We are excited to share with you a collection of the most engrossing, spectacular gardens from across the entire planet. These gardens are the pinnacle of landscaping and design in their respective corners of the world, for reasons that will become obvious as you read on.
From thoughtful and deep integration with local culture, faith, and history, to blindingly fresh twists on traditional gardening, there are multiple elements converging within each of these examples that sets them far and above any (forgive the pun) garden-variety botanical displays. Each fantastical park enjoys a position of unmatched regard in its local environment, marking the centerpiece of cities, quarries, and even temples.
Our hope is that these gardening masterpieces are as inspiring for you as they have been for us, and the millions of visitors who enjoy them in person every year. While not attainable to the average home gardener, they give us something as an entire people to aspire to.
Bahá’í Gardens – Read more here
The Bahá’í Gardens combine geometric intricacy and painstaking detail into a series of nineteen terraces, extending up the northern slope of Mount Carmel, in Haifa, Israel. Surrounding the Shrine of the Báb, the gardens offer something far beyond expansive views of the nearby Galilee Hills and Mediterranean Sea. They are a sprawling, tangible expression of the human spirit itself, celebrating the work and sacrifice of a diverse people over time. It offers an affirmation of faith and an optimistic vision of the future.
Butchart Gardens – Read more here
Over a century ago, Jennie Butchart began building what is now one of the world’s premier floral show gardens in an old abandoned limestone quarry owned by her industrialist husband. Situated on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, the Butchart garden houses some of the world’s most renowned floral treasures. Seen by nearly a million visitors annually, the gardens burst with an absolute riot of color and texture.
Ryoan-Ji – Read more here
This beautifully mysterious rock garden is part of a Zen Buddhist temple located in northwest Kyoto, Japan. The Ryoan-ji is an exquisite example of kare-sansui (“dry landscape”) garden design, in which large, bold rock formations are arranged over a plane of smooth pebbles. This bedding of pebbles is constantly raked into linear patterns to facilitate meditation. While the meaning of the garden itself is open to interpretation, scholars have considered it as a representation of anything from islands in a stream to simply an abstract arrangement of natural objects designed to facilitate meditation.
Garden of Cosmic Speculation – Read more here
Designed by Charles Jencks, an American architecture theorist and landscape designer, The Garden of Cosmic Speculation celebrates nature through the lens of scientific progress. The design was influenced by Japanese Zen gardens, classically crafted as analogies for the universe, representing both the cosmic and cultural evolution of the modern world. Situated in Dumfries, Scotland, the project was begun in dedication to Jencks’ late wife in 1988.
Villa d’Este – Read more here
Villa d’Este, a masterpiece of the Italian Garden tradition, sits on the UNESCO world heritage list. The garden boasts an extravagantly baroque collection of fountains, nymphs, grottos, and music, standing as an often imitated model for gardens throughout Europe. With expansive views of the surrounding landscape of Trivoli, Italy, the gardens are easily some of the most breathlessly scenic on earth.
Garden of Versailles – Read more here
At the Palace of Versailles, one of the most spectacular monuments in European history, resides one of the most gloriously detailed and intricately crafted gardens on earth. In 1661, Louis XIV commissioned André Le Nôtre with the design and application of the gardens of Versailles. In his opinion, the sprawling gardens were easily as important as the architecture of the Chateau itself. The lattice-like pathways carved between acres of greenery form a complex pattern when viewed from above, circling around a central fountain.
Keukenhof Gardens – Read more here
The Keukenhof gardens are one of the largest floral collections on earth. Located in Lisse, Netherlands, the multilayered setting is known as the “Garden of Europe.” Open only 8 weeks a year, the park manages to host an astounding 800,000 visitors. Keukenhof’s mission, as it always has been, is to be the bold international showcase for the Dutch floricultural sector, specializing in flowering bulbs.
Humble Administrator’s Garden – Read more here
This massive water-filled garden, the largest in Suzhou, China, dates to the 16th century Ming Dynasty. The Humble Administrator’s Garden is comprised of three sections covering 52,000 square meters. The interconnected segments are joined by bridges over a central pond that’s home to all manner of local ducks and fish. The surrounding greenery and rock formations, dotted with pagodas, offer a microcosm of China’s diverse ecosystem.