|The World’s 8 Most Amazing Botanical Gardens|
|Written by Katia Ramadori, Four Green Steps|
|Thursday, 23 August 2012 19:00|
Written by Katia Ramadori, Four Green Steps
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Spending time in nature is a great way to reduce stress and appreciate our beautiful planet. But for city-dwellers, finding such a place can be difficult. Fortunately, some cities have botanical gardens. These gardens are filled with various plants, unique water features and spectacular indoor habitats. Read on to find out which gardens made the list.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, USA
Although New York has many botanical gardens, the Brooklyn garden stands out. It was founded in 1910 and is the most visited garden in the US. The garden is home to over 12,000 plant species, one of which is known to be the most unpleasant in the world. According to Travel and Leisure, “In 2006, one of the rarest, largest and stinkiest flowers in existence, the Sumatran Amorphophallus titanium, or corpse flower, blossomed on the premises (a highly—and, to the scent-sensitive, mercifully—infrequent occurrence).” Other highlights of the garden include the Cherry Esplanade, the Steinhardt Conservatory and the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum.
Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden, South Africa
Located in Cape Town on the slope of the table mountain, this garden prides itself on being the most beautiful garden in Africa. Although a large portion of the land is cultivated, an even great percentage of it is dedicated to protecting the land’s biodiversity. Travel and Leisure explain that this conservation effort has been part of the plan from the origin of the garden. “Founded in 1913, this is the first national botanical garden established for the express purpose of local flora conservation, and even now, almost all the species therein are indigenous. Perhaps most famous is the garden’s trademark Crane Flower, a yellow version of which is named Mandela’s Gold.”
Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum, Germany
According to DK Travel, the Berlin botanical garden is one of the most important in the world. It is known for its collection of 16 glasshouses, which also serve as greenhouses. The Great Pavilion is largest glass house in the world and contains an exhibit of the giant bamboo. The 43-hectare garden also includes the Botanical Museum and a cemetery, which features tombs of three people important to its development, including explorer, ethnologist and botanist Georg Schweinfurth.
Missouri Botanical Garden, USA
Although originally the grounds were privately owned, St. Louis businessman, Henry Shaw opened the garden to the public in 1858. Highlights now include; “The 14-acre Japanese garden named Seiwa-en that is the largest such garden in the Western Hemisphere, the Climatron geodesic dome conservatory featuring exotic tropical plants, and a children’s garden complete with a limestone cave and tree house.” This summer the garden features a Chinese lantern festival, the light up the garden at night.
Singapore Botanic Garden, Singapore
The 183-acre garden boasts more than 20,000 orchids, as well as wild monkeys and terrapins.
It was founded in 1859 and it is the only garden open from 5AM to midnight, and is one of the only gardens that do not have an admission fee. The garden’s main attraction is the Gallery, which showcases tropical orchids, hybrids, cool-weather flowers and a Bromeliad House. Other features include a rainforest, a children’s garden, an evolution garden, and a ginger garden.
Jardin Botanique de Montreal, Canada (Photographed in first image)
Canada’s cold winter does not deter the success of Montreal’s botanical garden, instead it makes it unique using both indoor and outdoor spaces to provide a year-round attraction. During the warmer months, the garden boasts 30-themed gardens which include “the largest Chinese Garden outside Asia and the Japanese Garden, dedicated to bonsai and featuring some exquisite water features,” as well as a First-Nations Garden that focuses on the cultivation of North American crops.
For the colder months, take comfort indoors in the Insectarium, which contains 16,000 live and preserved insect species. The highlight is the “‘Butterflies Go Free’ exhibit, during which thousands of live tropical butterflies and moths are released into the glasshouses.”
Royal Botanic Garden, England
The Royal Botanical Garden is home to world’s largest assortment of plant species. The 300-acre garden provides several different ways to tour the land, including the Kew Explorer, a 72-seat train that tours the garden, and the Treetop Walkway, which winds through 200 meters of woodland canopy. The garden also has one of the largest compost heaps in all of Europe. Other features of the garden include the David Alpine House, an eco-friendly building that houses cool weather plants without the use of refrigeration, Water Lily House, a Temperate House, a Palm House and the Princess of Wales Conservatory.
Longwood Gardens, USA
Like the Missouri Botanical garden, this too started out as a private estate, but was converted into a public garden in 1919. The garden sits on more than 1,000 acres and includes 20 outdoor gardens and 20 indoor ones, which are maintained in a mile-and-a-half’s worth of greenhouses. Longwood offers a variety of summer activities, such as light nights, wine dinners, fireworks and fountains, and the festival of fountains. The garden also hosts performing arts, including concerts, plays and more.
Image courtesy of Creative Commons.
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