With the earth as their canvas, gardeners use many varieties of plants during the springtime to create magnificent works of art. Even in extreme climates, gardens have been created to beautify the earth and inspire the imagination of all who have a chance to see them. Many locations around the world have large, elaborate gardens that highlight the cultures, values, and beliefs of their creators. From the rock gardens of Japan to the cactus gardens of Arizona, there are many destinations where travelers can appreciate the peaceful beauty of these artistic gardens.
England: Exbury Gardens
Exbury, located in Hampshire, England, is a beautiful garden that contains more than 10,000 varieties of flowers. During May, the flowers are in full bloom, providing amazing fields of color that are reflected in Exbury Lake. Spring is the best time to catch the lovely meadow of golden daffodils. Exbury is also known for its display of rare trees such as the Chilean Laurel, which has very scented leaves and pink cup-shaped flowers that appear in the spring. One unique feature of this garden is the steam railway that runs through it. This vintage-style train is a popular way to experience the garden. During the 20-minute ride, the train goes through a pumpkin and exotic fruit patch and around floral displays and herbaceous gardens. Visitors can also register to drive the steam train over 10 miles with an instructor as they take in the garden scenery.
United States: Desert Botanical Garden
Located in Phoenix, Arizona, the Desert Botanical Garden is full of unique plants native to the desert. Designed to showcase the beauty of the desert, the garden consists of an impressive array of cacti, wildflowers, and desert trees. Many different walking trails lead throughout the garden, and each trail highlights unique plants that flourish in a dry landscape. The Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Loop Trail has gorgeous year-round displays. The peak of the wildflower season is in March and April.
Japan: Ryoan-ji’s Zen Garden
In Kyoto, Japan, the Zen temple Ryoan-ji is best known for the unique, meaningful rock garden that surrounds the structure. The garden is believed to date as far back as the 1400s, although no one is sure exactly when it was created or who created it. Japanese rock gardens typically use simple designs that consist only of rocks, sand, and moss to express Zen beliefs. This particular rock garden has 15 boulders arranged on white gravel. In Buddhism, the number 15 represents completeness, but only 14 boulders can be seen from any angle in the garden. Because it is impossible to see all 15 at once, the garden emphasizes the Zen belief that the conditions of this world make it impossible to see things completely as they are.
France: Claude Monet Gardens in Giverny
Claude Monet, one of the most famous impressionist painters, was also a gifted gardener. He created a beautiful garden around his home in Giverny, France, that became his inspiration for a number of his most famous paintings of water lilies. These gorgeous gardens are now open for visitors to enjoy. At the front of the house is a flower garden called Clos Normand. Monet did not like gardens to be organized in rows, so the gardens surrounding his house have a variety of flowers that differ in height. Roses freely cover iron arches throughout the garden. Monet also built a garden on the land across the street from his house, which he patterned after a Japanese water garden, complete with a large pond and bridge. The vegetation that surrounds the pond includes weeping willows, flowers, and bamboo.
Canada: Butchart Gardens
The Butchart Gardens, located near Victoria, Canada, are full of color and sweet fragrance during the springtime. This elaborate 55-acre garden contains thousands of flowers, trees, and shrubs that are beautiful all year round. As if to complete the picture of spring, thousands of butterflies fly freely throughout the gardens. Illuminated floral displays can also be enjoyed on summer nights. Fountains and streams throughout the garden add to the splendor of the design. Coins tossed by visitors into these streams and ponds are donated to the Garth Homer Society, a foundation that creates opportunities for people overcoming developmental and physical obstacles.