The Garden of Cosmic Speculation – Scotland
Open to the public only one day a year, the Garden of Cosmic Speculation takes science and maths as its inspiration. Quite simply, there isn’t another garden like it in the world. The garden was set up by Charles Jencks, together with his late wife Maggie Keswick and is located at Portrack House near Dumfries. That’s in Scotland, by the way! It was set up in 1989 without the usual ideas people have when they create a garden. Horticultural displays very much take second place in this garden. Instead, it is designed with ideas in mind – and to provoke thought (or at least speculation) about the very nature of things.
Chateau de Versailles – Versailles, France
The famous French landscape designer André Le Notre laid out these gardens southwest of Paris in the 17th century at the behest of Louis XIV. The Sun King wanted them to magnify the glory of his palace at Versailles, which was itself a monument to his absolute rule. The 250 acres (101 hectares) are riddled with paths that lead to flower beds, quiet corners decorated with classical statuary, ornamental lakes, and a canal that King Louis used for gondola rides.
Keukenhof Gardens – The Netherlands
An unprecedented wealth of spectacular floral displays planted in endless varieties, alternated with beautiful works of art. Keukenhof is unique, world famous and has been one of the most popular destinations in the Netherlands. The garden is home to 7 million tulips, which includes special hybrids that have been or are being developed. In fact, Keukenhof’s pride and joy is the truly awe-inspiring Russian black tulip Baba Yaga.
Jardim Botânico de Curitiba – Brazil
Also known as the “Jardim Botânico Fanchette Rischbieter,” the Botanical Garden of Curitiba is a garden located in the city of Curitiba, the capital of the state of Paraná, and the biggest city in southern Brazil. It is the major tourist attraction of the city, and it houses part of the campus of the Federal University of Paraná. Opened in 1991, Curitiba’s trademark botanical garden was created in the style of French gardens. Once at the portal of entry, extensive gardens in the French style in the midst of fountains may be seen, as well as waterfalls and lakes, and the main greenhouse of 458 square meters, which shelters in its interior, copies of characteristic plants from tropical regions. It rolls out its carpet of flowers to the visitor’s right at the entrance. This garden occupies 240.000 m² in area.
Villa d’Este – Tivoli, Italy
A Renaissance cardinal decided to make life in Tivoli bearable by turning a dilapidated Benedictine monastery into a lovely villa, the Villa d’Este. This was embellished by one of the most fascinating garden and fountain complexes in the world, recently listed by UNESCO as one of Italy’s 31 major historical/artistic sites. Among the most bewitching of the mossy fountains are the Fontana del Bicchierone (water pours out from a large shell-shaped basin); the Rometta fountain, which is a miniature Rom complete with a wolf-suckling Romulus and Remus; and the Avenue of the Hundred Fountains, where animal heads, lilies, a small boat, basins, and so on all spurt water.