Bucket List Worthy Nature Lovers Choice
Rose. Bara. Airtafae. Rosa. A rose by any other name is still the same flower, and no matter the language is just as gorgeous and fragrant. A love of flowers and gardens knows no borders. No matter where they are, gardeners and scientists are not only creating spaces for tranquility and peace. They’re also preserving ecosystems and saving endangered species.
Picture Credits: Martin, Royal Botanic Gardens
Here are some of the world’s most beautiful botanical gardens.. a great excuse to hop on a plane to see them yourself.
Picture Credits: Karen Roe, Royal Botanic Gardens
We begin in London, at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England which may be the most renowned botanical garden in the world. Not only is it home to the most diverse plant life in the world, but it is also a World Heritage Site, and recognized for its conservation work. Check out the Princess of Wales Conservatory, which takes you on a tour of ten different ecosystems in one greenhouse. They all thrive thanks to computer-controlled climate zones. Wander the Rock Garden, which is home to plants native to mountain regions around the globe. You can take an expertly-guided tour or walk around at your leisure.
Picture Credits: Koishikawa Botanical Garden, Japan
The Koishikawa Botanical Garden is one of two research gardens at Tokyo University Graduate School of Science, and it’s open to the public. Gardeners and biologists here have completed significant work on the plants of East Asia — Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, et cetera — since it first opened back in 1684. You’ll see the cherry blossoms in the spring (and it’s less crowded than many other spots) or the autumn colors of the maples and gingko trees. You’ll also get to see some endangered species the botanists are working to save. It’s a rare treat, even for world travelers.
Picture Credits: Islam Hassan, Aswan Botanical Garden
Kitchener’s Island sits in the middle of the Nile River and is home to the stunning Aswan Botanical Gardens in Egypt. The backstory goes that Lord Kitchener planted the whole island in the 19th century. Today, the Aswan Botanical Garden welcomes visitors and researches plant biology. You’ll get a close up look at the Royal Palm Tree and other rare species of palms. You’ll have to take a boat to get there, but there are plenty of ferries and felucca sailboats for hire.
Picture Credits: Floating Gardens of Xochimilco
The Floating Gardens of Xochimilco, Mexico are part of a World Heritage Site created by the Aztecs. The Aztecs built rafts they anchored to the bottom of the lake, called chinampa, and grew their crops on those rafts. Today you can take a colorful canal boat or trajinera to view the gardens. This ancient Aztec method of farming is also having a renaissance, as scientists and farmers grapple with climate change. The Floating Gardens of Xochimilco is one of the most popular sites for people visiting Mexico City. You’ll see why when you’re drifting down a canal in a brightly colored boat, listening to the music from a mariachi band.
Picture Credits: Choo Yut Shing, Gardens By The Bay
The billion-dollar Gardens By The Bay are a combination of three main gardens. Each one features tropical plants lining the waterfront. Visitors rave about the three-acre Flower Dome, and the Cloud Forest, which replicates the climate of mountains in the tropics. You’ll find the lilac-colored phalaenopsis schilleriana here, cousin to the big white orchids you see in U.S. flower shops. Bring your phone and plan to spend the day — The Gardens By The Bay is one of the most Instagrammable spots in Singapore (in a city that has a lot of great Instagram backdrops).
If your budget and schedule limit you to North America, there are plenty of botanical gardens in the U.S. to please any green thumb. The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and Huntsville Botanical Garden are just a few must-see flower havens. But if you want to combine a love of gardens with a love of travel, don’t miss these exotic arboretums. These gardeners are preserving plant species and the planet’s biodiversity… all while opening their gorgeous displays to everyone.