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Winter 2018

Secret Gardens

Throughout the hustle and bustle of cities, you will find whimsical pockets of nature tucked away between alleyways and abbeys. Some are cached away, kept as a secret of sorts from unsuspecting passersby; others may be better known yet inadvertently overlooked.

While almost contradictory to the premise of hidden gardens, we’ve done some digging in order to pinpoint a few exquisite sites around the world. So make space in your travel plans, because these secret gardens inspire romantic mystique and offer reprieve from the usual travel docket. With that in mind, here are five garden gems from around the world that you won’t want to miss:

Las Pozas

Xilitla, MexicoLas Pozas (“the Pools”) is an entrancing garden near Xilitla, a village seven hours north of Mexico City. The 80-acre landscape is dotted with natural waterfalls and pools. As you meander through beds of tropical plants, you’ll find the jungle to be interlaced with an eccentric clustering of surrealistic cement sculptures. Tucked away in the misty mountains, this garden is certainly the Eden-like oasis it was intended to be.

St. Dunstan-in-the-East

London, EnglandHalfway between the Tower of London and the London Bridge you’ll find the ruins of St. Dunstan-in-the-East. Destroyed by the London Blitz in 1941, the remains of the church now house a charming public garden. Like most English gardens, St. Dunstan’s is beautifully overgrown with vines left to wildly twine around pillars and arches.

Kuang Si Falls

Luang Prabang, LaosWhile not a garden by definition, it’s hard not to feel as though you’ve stumbled upon a natural assembly of perfection when traipsing through Kuang Si Falls. With turquoise waters and tropical blooms, you’ll think you’ve found a small slice of paradise.

Tunnel of Love

Klevan, UkraineWhat’s more magical than a tunnel of deep greens and streaming sunlight? This unique passageway in Ukraine functioned as a railway, and the passing trains have molded the trees of this luscious landscape into green arches. It’s impossible not to fall in love with such an ethereal array of vegetation.

Jardin Botanique Floralpina d'Arras

Arras, FranceHalf a century ago, Jean-Michel Spas set out on a venture to collect horticultural species from the five continents. The result? A unique collection of 4,000 plants and one of the largest collections of alpine plants in France. However, this private botanical garden may be a bit trickier to visit: it is only open the last Sunday in May and by appointment.

End Note:

As you might imagine, secret gardens tend to be rather obscure and mysterious. While we haven’t been able to pinpoint an entire slew of them for this article, hopefully these five gardens will be the head start you need to stumble upon your very own secret gardens—wherever you venture to next.

—Megan Komm Photo Credits: ukgardenphotos (title image); Rod Waddington (Las Pozas); Mike Cunningham (St. Dunstan’s); Christian Bowman (Kuang Si); goglee (Tunnel of Love); Napa oma-Photographe (Jardin Botanique).