“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.” -Claude Monet 1840-1926
Are you a home-grown gardener who likes to travel, or a traveler who has enjoyed the colors and landscapes of the gardens you have visited around the world? Or both?
No matter your answer, gardens add their own energy to the architecture, history and music nearby. All of which means travelers of any kind can ask for no better theme for their next trip than to plan it around visits to some of the famous gardens in Europe, the UK or right here in North America.
So depending on your mode of travel, RV, transit or flight to a single destination, and bearing mind that the optimum time to see any garden is when its particular features are at their best – springtime tulip fields in The Netherlands for example – if the idea intrigues you, here are three too-brief mentions of gardens to consider from among the hundreds of incredible attractions around the world.
Open: April 1 to November 1, 2022
Tours available: Half-day and guided – and of historic castles and old mills in the area
Forty-six miles (75Kms) from Paris, Claude Monet’s gardens bring the colors of each new season to the impressionist works of this famous painter.
Although Monet’s home, garden and museum are enough to justify a trip for historians and art lovers year round, if you want to make sure you see the artist’s 200-plus series of water lilies paintings come alive, especially those floating under and near his Japanese Bridge, June and July would be the best time to visit.
A wealth of additional information about Giverny, local castle tours and/or the various Monet-specific attractions can be found at the Monet Foundation website.
Location: Within Golden Gate Park
Tours: Yes – Guided tours and other scheduled, educational presentations
Closer to home for North American travelers, California’s famous Golden Gate Park sits on the unceded territory of the Ramaytush Ohlone people.
While seeds for the design of both park and gardens were sown way back in 1870 by then California State Engineer and Designer, William Hammond Hall, the concept has been growing and evolving ever since. Now a partnership between the Botanical Gardens Society and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, these 5-star gardens celebrated their official 75th Anniversary in 2015. Today, they are looking forward to next spring’s opening of a newly-designed nursery and the conservation efforts it will support.
Also, even though fall and winter travelers don’t usually hope for cool, misty days, the area’s climate is ideal for the park’s unique cloud-forest vegetation.
“So far, we have no other special exhibitions planned for 2002 but our spring-blooming magnolia gardens are stunning,” said Brendan Lange, Director of Visitor Experience at the Botanical Gardens.
Those magnolias, in fact, explain just one of the reasons why the gardens are so popular with visitors.
From the smaller varieties we’re accustomed to at home, to those that reach 80-feet toward the sky, more than 100 rare magnolias treat you to a range of white to vibrant dark pink colors from mid-January through March. Added to a Japanese garden and over 8,000 plants that allow you to “Travel the World in 55 acres”, you could spend several days there and still not see it all.
Open: Year-round, except for Christmas Day
Location: Torrington, Devon
With a vision to “enrich people’s lives through plants and to make the UK a greener and more beautiful place”, the Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804. Today, the Society has five gardens throughout the country, one of which is the RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon – a county that has no less than 26 registered gardens within its borders, two of which are National Parks.
Reached for her comments on Rosemoor, RHS Gardens Communications Manager, Caroline Jones, was a fount of information, only a tiny part of which follows here:
“RHS Garden Rosemoor is designed to have year-round interest for visitors, so different areas have their peak in certain seasons,” she explained.
The summer season “includes the … Shrub Rose Garden and the Queen Mother’s Rose Garden… as well as the contrasting colors of the Hot and Cool gardens,” she said.
Other popular features are the autumn colors of the Woodland Garden and the Lady Anne Arboretum, the Devon and Southwest apple orchards, a National Collection of holly – all the way through to the rhododendrons, wisteria, camellias and “glorious displays of spring-flowering bulbs like the gardens’ own Rosemoor Gold daffodils.”
In addition, for travelers who are ready and able to hop on a plane at a moment’s notice, a September 2021 press release lists numerous November-December/January events ranging from a Winter Sculpture Exhibition to Glow, a “festive light trail” throughout the Gardens, all the way to Christmas foods and crafts days and a Cinderella Family Christmas show.
So there we are, far-too-brief glimpses of the overwhelming amount of information available about gardens that lift human spirits throughout our world – and it doesn’t even touch the gardens of Asia – especially those in Japan.
So if COVID-19 regulations ease a little and you decide to enjoy a garden tour, or even London’s famous Chelsea Flower Show – tell us where you traveled and send us some of your photos. Find us on Facebook at Official Travel Magazine.