On December 16, 2020

Five gardens to visit from the comfort of home

Adachi Museum of Art in Japan

By Erin Hunt

When planning a foreign adventure, adding a garden to the itinerary is an ideal way to be outside, avoid large crowds and leisurely explore on a budget.

You’re able to see sweeping landscapes designed by architects as well as exotic plants up close. And you will come away with ideas for your own garden back home.

Botanical gardens and their greenhouses not only provide insight into the local flora and fauna but also the culture and history of the country you’re visiting. Although international travel is limited now, we will be able to use our passports again one day.

Until then, why not visit some of these gardens virtually? Here are some lesser-known gardens found across the globe that you might want to add to your future travel list.

Adachi Museum of Art, Yasugi, Japan

This museum housing modern Japanese art also features six beautiful outdoor gardens designed by museum founder Adachi Zenko, who said, “The garden is, so to speak, a picture scroll.” A waterfall garden and a dry landscape garden, which needs little to no additional irrigation, are among the museum’s 40 acres of gardens.

Mauritius National Botanical Garden, Port Louis, Mauritius

This botanical garden, formally known as Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden, originally was a private garden created for the French governor of Mauritius several centuries ago. It later was designated as the national botanical garden of Mauritius. It features more than 650 plant species, including 85 different varieties of palm trees from all over the world, plus many native tropical plants.

Ayrlies Garden and Wetlands, Auckland, New Zealand

Ten acres of gardens are connected to the Hauraki Gulf by 35 acres of planned wetlands, accessible by a one-hour loop walk, offering a diverse outdoor experience filled with plants and wildlife. The gardens, established in 1964, combine traditional perennial landscape design with boldly colored borders and include a number of plant species from the more familiar roses and clematis to bromeliads and other sub-tropical plants.

Wallenstein Garden, Prague, Czech Republic

In sharp contrast to the rolling gardens and wetlands of Ayrlies, the Wallenstein Garden at the Wallenstein Palace in the center of Prague consists of several Baroque-style period gardens with statuary, water features and an aviary. Flower beds scattered among the tidy and precise hedges of the four courtyards are planted with tulips and other colorful flowers. Bronze replica Greek statues stand where the originals, stolen by the Swedes in 1648 during the Thirty Years’ War, once stood. The original statues can be seen outside the royal palace of Drottningholm near Stockholm.

Kilacurragh Gardens, Wicklow, Ireland

This 52-acre arboretum, now part of the National Botanic Gardens, was once the home of a 7th-century monastery and later the estate of the Acton family. Many of the current gardens were established during the Victorian era by Thomas Acton and his sister Jane, world travelers and avid plant collectors. Species that have failed at Kilmacurragh’s parent garden, Glasnevin in Dublin, an hour north, can be grown successfully here due to the milder climate and better soil conditions. The gardens are famous for their historic rhododendron and conifer collections.

Erin Hunt is a UVM Extension Master Gardener Intern from Moretown.

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