25 of the most unique gardens around the world (2024)

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Butchart Gardens in Victoria, Canada, is known as the "city of gardens." Located in Asheville, North Carolina, the Biltmore gardens are part of a sprawling estate. The Gardens of Versailles in France were built by the "king of gardeners" in the 1660s. Located in Lucca, Italy, the Torre Guinigi is a 14th-century tower topped with an array of holm oak trees. Le Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech, Morocco, is known for the distinctive color of its fountains and garden walls: "Majorelle blue." Located in Lisse, Netherlands, the Keukenhof offers scenic fields of flowers that bloom each spring. The Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden in Pattaya, Thailand, is home to a miniature version of Stonehenge. Located in Enniskerry, Ireland, the Powerscourt Gardens date back to the 13th century. Las Pozas, located in Xilitla, Mexico, is full of eccentric sculptures such as staircases that lead nowhere. Located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the Dubai Miracle Garden has dubbed itself the largest natural flower garden in the world. Located in Medellín, Colombia, the Joaquin Antonio Uribe Botanical Gardens feature 35 acres of flowers, plants, and wildlife. The ancient city of Sigiriya, found in Sri Lanka, dates back over 1,500 years. In San Francisco, the California Academy of Sciences Living Roof houses a variety of plant life. In Singapore, Changi Airport is home to a butterfly garden with over 1,000 butterflies, signature plants, and a waterfall. The Garden of Cosmic Speculation is a science- and math-themed garden in Dumfries, Scotland. Located in Tromsø, Norway, the Tromsø Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden is the world's northernmost garden. The roof of the ACROS f*ckuoka Prefectural International Hall in f*ckuoka, Japan, is covered in a forest of trees and plants. In Cape Town, South Africa, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden features a winding walkway that allows visitors to view the trees from above. The Master of the Nets Garden in Suzhou, China, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in New York City, the High Line is a former elevated freight railroad track repurposed into a public park. Located in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France, the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild Gardens is known for its variety of themed gardens. The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne in Australia is home to over 8,500 plant varieties. Portland, Oregon, has its very own tranquil Japanese Garden. In Cornwall, England, the Lost Gardens of Heligan is like a fairy-tale come to life, featuring some whimsical garden sculptures. The House of Claude Monet in Giverny, France, features the flower and water gardens that inspired some of his most famous paintings.

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Zoë Miller, Matthew Wilson, and Mykenna Maniece

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25 of the most unique gardens around the world (1)

  • Stunning gardens and parks are found worldwide, featuring unique flora and design elements.
  • In Cornwall, England, the Lost Gardens of Heligan is home to sculptures straight from a fairy tale.
  • Some of the world's oldest gardens are located in the ancient city of Sigiriya in Sri Lanka.

25 of the most unique gardens around the world (2)

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While some people are lucky enough to have a green thumb they can use to create elaborate gardens in their own backyards, others need a little more help. Luckily, there are plenty of expertly curated gardens and parks around the world that are open to the public.

From Norway's Tromsø Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden — the northernmost botanical garden in the world — to Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress in Sri Lanka that boasts some of Earth's oldest landscaped gardens, there's a verdant enclave to suit every taste.

Plus, enjoying time outdoors is great for your health. Spending time in nature can improve short-term memory and ability to focus, reduce stress and inflammation, and help eliminate fatigue. Marc Berman, associate professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, co-authored a 2019 study on the cognitive benefits of nature and told CNBC in 2023 that taking time to do something in nature can be viewed as "an investment."

"That 20 or 30 minutes in nature might make you more productive than just working straight through. Even losing that time in nature, you might make it up by being more productive," Berman said.

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Here are 25 of the most beautiful gardens and parks around the world to inspire you to take some much-needed time to stop and smell the roses.

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Butchart Gardens in Victoria, Canada, is known as the "city of gardens."

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Spanning 55 acres, Butchart Gardens features 900 varieties of plants, according to its website. The land was once owned by The Portland Cement and the company's owner's wife, Jennie Butchart, transformed the area into the gardens that are enjoyed today by a million visitors a year.

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Located in Asheville, North Carolina, the Biltmore gardens are part of a sprawling estate.

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According to The Biltmore Estate Timeline,George Vanderbilt purchased the land for the property in 1888 and hired Frederick Law Olmsted, who was responsible for the design of Central Park in New York City, to design the gardens.

Biltmore also provides potential visitors with a blooming guide, explaining what months flowers will be in bloom for. If your favorite flower is roses, for example, the best time to visit is May; but if your favorite is the sunflower, July is the best time to visit, according to the estate.

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The Gardens of Versailles in France were built by the "king of gardeners" in the 1660s.

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André Le Nôtre — described by the Palace of Versailles as "king of gardeners and Gardener to the King" — was charged with designing the property's expansive gardens. Per the palace's website, thousands of workers helped orchestrate the design, which involved trees imported from various regions of France.

Le Nôtre's plan was so complex that it required that the gardensbe replanted about once every 100 years. Louis XVI and Napoleon III each did their part to revitalize the grounds, and the most recent restoration followed a severe storm in 1999 that affected more than 10,000 trees, according to the palace.

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Located in Lucca, Italy, the Torre Guinigi is a 14th-century tower topped with an array of holm oak trees.

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The medieval tower was built for the Guinigi family and adjoined to their palace; in Italy, it was common for wealthy families to build commission towers to see who could build the tallest and most desirable, per Expedia. As of 2024, the Torre Guinigi is one of the few structures from the time period remaining in the city.

To ascend the tower, you'll need to climb 230 steps, but the view is worth the effort. Plus, you'll be able to relax in the shade of the trees, which scholars believe are symbols of rebirth and power.

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Le Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech, Morocco, is known for the distinctive color of its fountains and garden walls: "Majorelle blue."

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According to the location's website, the garden was cultivated by the French painter Jacques Majorelle over the course of 40 years. He frequently used the vibrant cobalt blue pictured above on garden walls, fountains, and other features, and subsequently trademarked it "Majorelle blue."

Le Jardin Majorelle is also known as the "Yves Saint-Laurent garden," CNN reported, because the fashion designer and his partner, Pierre Berge, bought the property in 1980, saving it from demolition 18 years after Majorelle's death.

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Located in Lisse, Netherlands, the Keukenhof offers scenic fields of flowers that bloom each spring.

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Located between Amsterdam and the Hague, Keukenhof is one of the world's largest flower gardens. Each year, more than 7 million bulbs are planted in the fall, including 800 different varieties of tulips, the Tulip Festival Amsterdam reported.

Open from March to May, Keukenhof bursts to life with colorful blooms every spring; this year, the garden's displays were reported to be "extra festive" in celebration of the garden's 75th anniversary.

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The Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden in Pattaya, Thailand, is home to a miniature version of Stonehenge.

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From animal sculptures to topiary trees, Nong Nooch also hosts traditional Thai dance performances and martial arts demonstrations, Expedia reported.

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Located in Enniskerry, Ireland, the Powerscourt Gardens date back to the 13th century.

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Situated 30 minutes south of Dublin in County Wicklow, Ireland, the 47-acre Powerscourt Gardens are divided into distinct areas, including the Italian garden, the Japanese garden, and the walled garden, according to the estate's website.

The country estate used to be the home of the Viscount Powerscourt, a noble title in Ireland. On a more morbid note, visitors can take a break from walking through curations of roses, lavender, and tulips to see the pets cemetery, which the estate reports is "believed to be the largest pets' cemetery in any private Irish garden."

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Las Pozas, located in Xilitla, Mexico, is full of eccentric sculptures such as staircases that lead nowhere.

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Las Pozas ("The Pools") is a sculpture garden created by Edward James, an English poet and artist who also supported surrealists like Salvador Dalí and René Magritte, Atlas Obscura reported.

James built Las Pozas on a coffee plantation near Xilitla, in Mexico's Huasteca region. While the property once housed his collection of orchids and exotic animals, he began work on the sculpture garden in the 1960s.

It was co-designed with his friend Plutarco Gastelum, who built most of the sculptures. The site contains more than 30 structures, including plant sculptures and aforementioned winding staircases that lead nowhere.

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Located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the Dubai Miracle Garden has dubbed itself the largest natural flower garden in the world.

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The Dubai Miracle Garden features 60 varieties of flowers. Spanning about 18 acres, the garden usually attracts more than one million people each year, CNN reported in 2017.

Its vibrant floral displays — which have included a life-size Emirates Airbus A380 — change seasonally.

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Located in Medellín, Colombia, the Joaquin Antonio Uribe Botanical Gardens feature 35 acres of flowers, plants, and wildlife.

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One of the gardens' highlights is the orchid display, housed in the award-winning "Orchideorama," a honeycomb-like structure that preserves the plants and also is home to the butterfly farm, The Guardian reported in 2017.

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The ancient city of Sigiriya, found in Sri Lanka, dates back over 1,500 years.

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The palace ruins of Sigiriya — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — sit atop a mountainous rock that stands over 600 feet tall, per Sri Lanka Travel.

Some of the oldest landscaped gardens on the planet are nestled among the site's intricate network of staircases and reservoirs.

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In San Francisco, the California Academy of Sciences Living Roof houses a variety of plant life.

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The California Academy of Sciences is home to an aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum, but one of its most interesting features is the Living Roof, designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano.

"The idea was to make the roof of the new museum like a piece of the park flying. I also wanted to play with natural light, and with transparency, so that from the inside of the museum you can see where you are," Piano told the Academy.

The Academy's website reports that the roof spans 2.5 acres and is covered in seven hills "lined with 50,000 porous, biodegradable vegetation trays made from tree sap and coconut husks," filled by an estimated 1.7 million plants.

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In Singapore, Changi Airport is home to a butterfly garden with over 1,000 butterflies, signature plants, and a waterfall.

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Named the 2023 Skytrax Airport of the Year, Singapore Changi Airport is home to a number of gardens and nature-inspired attractions, including a butterfly garden with more than 1,000 butterflies, a sunflower garden, and a koi pond.

The indoor greenery reflects Singapore's nickname, "City in a Garden."

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The Garden of Cosmic Speculation is a science- and math-themed garden in Dumfries, Scotland.

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The Garden of Cosmic Speculation was designed by architecture theorist Charles Jencks and his wife, Maggie Keswick, at their home near Dumfries, Scotland, Atlas Obscura reported.

It comprises 40 areas where visitors can explore bridges, sculptures, and other architectural works inspired by scientific and mathematical phenomena like black holes and fractal geometry. Per the garden's website, the property is only open to the public once a year, usually in May.

Located in Tromsø, Norway, the Tromsø Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden is the world's northernmost garden.

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Per the location's website, Tromsø Botanical Garden has plants from every continent, such as its "mascot," the Himalayan blue poppy, which is native to Asia, and the white-eyed ice plant from southern Africa.

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The roof of the ACROS f*ckuoka Prefectural International Hall in f*ckuoka, Japan, is covered in a forest of trees and plants.

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Both a building and a park, ACROS — which houses a music hall, a conference center, and more — was spearheaded by Emilio Ambasz, an Argentinean architect and industrial designer, Greenroofs.comreported.

ACROS is crowned by 15 stepped terraces, each of which contains gardens for a relaxing escape from the city. The building celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2020.

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In Cape Town, South Africa, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden features a winding walkway that allows visitors to view the trees from above.

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The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) reported that the government first designated land at the estate of Kirstenbosch for a national botanical garden in May 1913.

One of the garden's most notable features is its canopy walk. Built from 2013 to 2014, the walkway spans more than 400 feet and lifts visitors nearly 40 feet above ground to offer excellent views of the flora, such as fynbos, a type of vegetation native to the southern tip of Africa.

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The Master of the Nets Garden in Suzhou, China, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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The garden is one of the Classical Gardens of Suzhou, designed to "recreate natural landscapes in miniature," UNESCO reported.Dating to the12th century, it features a labyrinth of windowed courtyards that give the illusion that the site is more spacious than it really is, Lonely Planet reported.

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Located in New York City, the High Line is a former elevated freight railroad track repurposed into a public park.

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Stretching 1.45 miles, the High Line is one of New York City's most popular attractions, drawing an estimated 8 million people a year according to the Institution of Civil Engineers and featuring 150,000 plants, trees, and shrubs.

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Located in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France, the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild Gardens is known for its variety of themed gardens.

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The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a Venetian-style villa, was built by Rothschild Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi in the early 20th century, per the villa's website.

To make the land suitable for a garden, workers used dynamite and large amounts of soil to level the land. The French formal garden was the baroness' priority, featuring waterfalls, ponds, and a "Temple of Love" inspired by the Petit Trianon at Versailles.

After the baroness' death in 1934, architect Louis Marchand was chosen to design the estate's other themed gardens, which range from a Florentine garden with a marble angel statue to a Spanish garden with Mediterranean pomegranate trees and bird of paradise flowers.

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The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne in Australia is home to over 8,500 plant varieties.

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Some of the plant species that call the Melbourne Gardens home include cacti and succulents, roses, camellias, and rainforest flora, the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria reports.

Many Australian Open winners including Aryna Sabalenka, Jannik Sinner, Novak Djokovic, and Caroline Wozniacki have posed at the garden with their trophy.

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Portland, Oregon, has its very own tranquil Japanese Garden.

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Divided into eight unique spaces, the Portland Japanese Garden's website notes it has been "a haven of serenity and tranquility" for over 50 years.

The sand and stone garden, for example,is based on the aesthetic principle known as yohaku-no-bi, "the beauty of blank space," while the strolling pond garden was popularized by aristocrats and feudal lords during the Edo period (1603–1867).

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In Cornwall, England, the Lost Gardens of Heligan is like a fairy-tale come to life, featuring some whimsical garden sculptures.

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Located on a Cornwall estate that was originally built in the 1200s, the Lost Gardens of Heligan — famous for its whimsical stone statues, like the sleeping Mud Maid — live up to the name.

During World War I, the estate became overgrown due to neglect. However, the property was never sold or developed. Fortunately for plant lovers everywhere, workers restored the forgotten gardens to their original glory in the 1990s.

Today, there is a jungle area filled with bamboo tunnels and pleasure grounds that feature historic plantings from around the world, Heligan's websitereports.

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The House of Claude Monet in Giverny, France, features the flower and water gardens that inspired some of his most famous paintings.

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Monet lived in this Giverny home from 1883 to 1926, and helped design its famous gardens, including the water lily pond that would become the inspiration for his timeless work of art, "Water Lilies," which now hangs in the Musée de L'Orangerie in Paris.

The garden was inspired by Japan and includes plants like bamboo, maple, Japanese tree peonies, weeping willows, and of course, water lilies, the location's website reports.

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