You may not know but the Netherlands are famed worldwide for their flower growing industry, most specifically of all the huge variety of Tulips the country grows.
These flower gardens cover an area just over 30 hectares (around 300,000 square meters). This may not seem like that much, but it actually makes Keukenhof the largest flower garden in the world. To put things into perspective it’s estimated that around 7 million new flowers are planted in the park every year. Funnily enough no one has got round to counting how many individual flowers the park contains, but you can bet it’s in the tens of millions.
Incredible despite receiving over a million visitors a year and having been declared a National Historic Site of Canada these gardens are still privately owned by the same family that founded them over a hundred years ago.
The Butchart Gardens have been consistently renovated and expanded over the last century, evolving from a small Japanese tea garden to include an Italian style garden, a dedicated Rose garden and a collection of rare bird and animal statues.
A list of some of the world’s best gardens would be sinful if we didn’t mention a prime example of a famous Japanese Zen garden (and honestly can you find one with a better name that The Temple of the Dragon at Peace?). Ryoan-Ji is also the first garden on our list to officially be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Temple and its gardens are very old (likely over 600+ years) and during this time they have served as the burial place for some of Japan’s emperors. Despite this rich history no one is certain of the exact date of their construction and who originally built them.
The Zen garden (or rock garden) itself comprises of a space approximately 25 meters by 10 meters, containing 15 large rocks of varying sizes surrounding by gravel. The garden is meant to be viewed from a specific position on the veranda of the temple where it is only possible to see 14 of the 15 rocks. The monks say that only by achieving enlightenment is an individual able to see all 15 rocks at once.
The only entry on our list from the continent of Africa (unfortunately 40 degree + heat isn’t great for maintaining healthy petunias), Kirstenbosch recently celebrated its one hundredth birthday.
The gardens are one of a family of gardens, nine in total, that were established in South Africa to help preserve the nation’s unique flora. In fact it’s the first botanical garden in the world established for this purpose and even to this day, over a hundred years later, the gardens still only display and cultivate indigenous species from South Africa.
As if this wasn’t impressive enough, the gardens are also situated at the foot of Table Mountain, the scenery is utterly breath taking.
Our fifth entry takes us back to Asia to visit another garden with a deep history. First conceived in the early fifteenth century the Yuyuan Garden contains an incredible 5 ton boulder as its centrepiece. The mammoth stone was originally meant to be housed in the imperial palace, but a shipwreck saw it recovered and placed in the gardens instead.
The Gardens are a prime example of the Suzhou style (a style that dominated Asian garden design for nearly a thousand years). The style involves the organic placement of rocks and trees to accurately mimic the natural landscape of South East Asia. There is also a heavy emphasis on small buildings, bridges, towers and other features. The Yuyuan Garden itself has over 35 such features crammed into 2 hectares.
Visitors view fancy lanterns on Tuesday at Yuyuan Garden to celebrate the #LanternFestival in East China’s #Shanghai. The lantern fair in Yuyuan Garden is a key cultural event in Shanghai during the #SpringFestival. https://t.co/J4QKsXHGRw pic.twitter.com/NCmpOzDwpC
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) February 19, 2019
Okay so technically speaking this is a mansion with gardens, but we’ll do our best to focus on what’s relevant here. Both house and grounds are listed together as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and both are prime examples of Italian Renaissance design.
This garden design places emphasis on symmetry and order, with set rows and courtyards of plants, hedges and fountains. Originally developed in the late 15th century this style would go on to heavily influence garden design around Europe for some time to come – most notably in England.
Originally commissioned by a cardinal of the Catholic Church, the gardens to this day operate over five hundred individual fountain heads and boast a wealth of marble statues, fountains and decorations dating back to the 16th century.