Breathtaking Historic & Topiary Gardens Around the World

THE ROCK GARDEN AT RYOANJI, KYOTO, JAPAN
THE ROCK GARDEN AT RYOANJI, KYOTO, JAPAN

Although there is debate about when it was created (estimates include the 15th and 16th centuries), Ryoanji is considered one of Japan’s most important Zen dry gardens and has been widely referenced and imitated around the world. Located in a small Buddhist temple complex, the garden is deceptively simple. It consists of 15 rocks, raked gravel, and a smattering of moss set in a 98-by-32-foot rectangular courtyard.

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PALEIS HET LOO, APELDOORN, THE NETHERLANDS
PALEIS HET LOO, APELDOORN, THE NETHERLANDS

As Het Loo was being completed, William and Mary became rulers of England. The garden was at one point reconfigured to an English landscape style, but the Dutch government restored it to its original design in the 1970s. Photo: Danita Delimont

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TAJ MAJAL INDIA
TAJ MAJAL INDIA

For Shah Jahan, the garden represented paradise as described in the Koran and thus featured abundant fruit trees and blooming plants. Photo: Leroy Julien

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THE ROCK GARDEN AT RYOANJI, KYOTO, JAPAN
THE ROCK GARDEN AT RYOANJI, KYOTO, JAPAN

Although there is debate about when it was created (estimates include the 15th and 16th centuries), Ryoanji is considered one of Japan’s most important Zen dry gardens and has been widely referenced and imitated around the world. Located in a small Buddhist temple complex, the garden is deceptively simple. It consists of 15 rocks, raked gravel, and a smattering of moss set in a 98-by-32-foot rectangular courtyard.

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PEARL FRYAR TOPIARY GARDEN
PEARL FRYAR TOPIARY GARDEN

Pearl Fryar’s garden in Bishopville, South Carolina, is an ongoing work of contemporary horticultural art. Fryar began creating his topiaries in the 1980s as he rescued trees and shrubs that local nurseries had thrown away. Today Fryar welcomes visitors to his whimsical garden, and he now lectures nationwide on topiary. received international acclaim and preservation plans are in place with the Garden Conservancy and the Friends of Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden. More info @ pearlfryar.com

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MARQUEYSSAC
MARQUEYSSAC

After you have eaten all the foie gras and truffles you can during your visit to the Périgord region of France, consider a postprandial visit to Marqueyssac. The original garden was created in the 19th century and enhanced when a new owner, Julien de Cerval, acquired the property and made it his life’s work. In 1861, De Cerval began laying out a dreamy topiary garden on a hill high above the Dordogne River.

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CLIVEDEN
CLIVEDEN

The house at Cliveden, originally built by the second duke of Buckingham in 1666 as a retreat for entertaining friends and his mistress, was rebuilt twice after fires in 1795 and 1849. Overlooking the Thames in Taplow, Buckinghamshire, the palatial house and its extensive gardens were reimagined again in 1893 as an Italianate masterpiece by William Waldorf Astor, the first Viscount Astor. More info at nationaltrust.org.uk/cliveden

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PEARL FRYAR TOPIARY GARDEN
PEARL FRYAR TOPIARY GARDEN

Pearl Fryar’s garden in Bishopville, South Carolina, is an ongoing work of contemporary horticultural art. Fryar began creating his topiaries in the 1980s as he rescued trees and shrubs that local nurseries had thrown away. Today Fryar welcomes visitors to his whimsical garden, and he now lectures nationwide on topiary. received international acclaim and preservation plans are in place with the Garden Conservancy and the Friends of Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden. More info @ pearlfryar.com

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suan Nong Nooch – Thailand

-This incredible park is situated in Pattaya, Thailand. It is popular among tourists because of stunningly beautiful landscapes and marvellous views. Everything there seems to be from a fairy-tale. It is full of Thai style houses, villas, banquet halls, restaurants and swimming pools. A vast 600 acres area was bought by Mr. Pisit and Mrs. Nongnooch in 1954, this land was predicted to be a fruit plantation, but, Mrs. Nongnooch made a trip abroad and came back with a firm decision to create there a tropical garden of ornamental plants and flowers.  In 1980 it was opened to the public and got an official name "Suan Nong Nooch." Suan means "garden," since it is a place where everybody concerned can get acquainted with Thai Culture and Cultural Shows. More than 2,000 visitors go there everyday. This garden always looks as it does today. Also, it is a conservation place for many plants and palms.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Versailles – France

-Probably the world's most famous garden, it was built for Louis XIV and designed by Andre Le Notre. The laying out of the gardens required enormous work. Vast amounts of earth had to be shifted to lay out the flower beds, the Orangerie, the fountains and the Canal, where previously only woods, grasslands and marshes were. The earth was transported in wheelbarrows, the trees were conveyed by cart from all the provinces of France and thousands of men, sometimes whole regiments, took part in this vast enterprise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 theentrance. This garden occupies 240.000 m² in area. The principal greenhouse, in an art nouveau style with a modern metallic structure, resembles the mid-19th century Crystal Palace in London. The Botanic Museum, which provides a national reference collection of native flora, attracts researchers from all over the world. It includes many botanic species from the moist Atlantic Forests of eastern Brazil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Butchart Gardens – Canada

-Butchart Gardens is one of the most famous gardens in the world which is counted among the best of the best. It's no less than a heaven out there at Butchart Gardens located in British Columbia. The breathtaking views will keep you stunned for some time when you first visit the Butchart Gardens. Spread over an area of 50 acres, the Butchart Gardens is placed near Victoria on Vancouver Island. There's never a dull season at Butchart Gardens, which keeps itself vibrating all throughout the year from the summers to the chilly winters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yuyuan Garden – China

-Yuyuan Garden is believed to be built in the Ming Dynasty more than 400 years ago. Built in traditional Chinese style with numerous rock and tree garden areas, ponds, dragon-lined walls and numerous doorways and zigzagging bridges separating the various garden areas and pavilions. In the past over 400 years, Yuyuan was restored and reopened several times. Because of the downfall of the Pan's family after Pan Yunduan's death, Yuyuan was slowly out of use and was once in a mess. Although later the garden was renovated by the local rich people, several civil wars in the mid-19th century caused huge damage. In 1956, after Shanghai's liberation, the city government rebuilt the garden and recovered its elegance and beauty. Yuyuan Garden was at last reopened to the public in 1961. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shalimar Garden – Pakistan

-The Shalimar Garden is a Persian garden and it was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in Lahore, modern day Pakistan. Construction began in 1641 A.D. (1051 A.H.) and was completed the following year. The project management was carried out under the superintendence of Khalilullah Khan, a noble of Shah Jahan's court, in cooperation with Ali Mardan Khan and Mulla Alaul Maulk Tuni. The Shalimar Garden is laid out in the form of an oblong parallelogram, surrounded by a high brick wall, which is famous for its intricate fretwork. The gardens measure 658 meters north to south and 258 meters east to west. In 1981, Shalimar Gardens was included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the Lahore Fort, under the UNESCO Convention concerning the protection of the world's cultural and natural heritage sites in 1972. (Source)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden – Minnesota, US

-The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is one of Minnesota's crown jewels and its centerpiece, the Spoonbridge and Cherry, has become a Minnesota icon. Claes Oldenburg best known for his ingenious, oversized renditions of ordinary objects, and Coosje van Bruggen, his wife and collaborator, had already created a number of large-scale public sculptures, including the Batcolumn in Chicago, when they were asked to design a fountain-sculpture for the planned Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The spoon had appeared as a motif in a number of Oldenburg'sdrawings and plans over the years, inspired by a novelty item (a spoon resting on a glob of fake chocolate) he had acquired in 1962. Eventually the utensil emerged--in humorously gigantic scale--as the theme of the Minneapolis project. Van Bruggen contributed the cherry as a playful reference to the Garden's formal geometry, which reminded her of Versailles and the exaggerated dining etiquette Louis XIV imposed there.

 

 

 

 

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Ryōan-ji – Japan

-Ryoan-ji Temple - Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto is famous for its Zen garden. Ryoan-ji Temple is considered to be one of the most notable examples of the "dry-landscape" style. Some say Ryoan-ji Temple garden is the quintessence of Zen art, and perhaps the single greatest masterpiece of Japanese culture. This Japanese temple is surrounded by low walls, an austere arrangement of fifteen rocks sits on a bed of white gravel. No one knows who laid out this simple garden, or precisely when, but it is today as it was yesterday, and tomorrow it will be as it is today. Behind the simple temple that overlooks the rock garden is a stone washbasin called Tsukubai said to have been contributed by Tokugawa Mitsukuni in the 17th century. It bears a simple but profound four-character inscription: "I learn only to be contented."

Giuliano Mauri’s epic Cattedrale Vegetale (or Tree Cathedral)

A building doesn’t have to be a dry and dead thing. Italian artist Giuliano Mauri’s epic Cattedrale Vegetale (or Tree Cathedral) is the perfect example of architecture that, instead of competing with or complementing nature, is quite literally a part of it. The late artist’s two groves of trees are destined to grow into a pair of magnificent basilicas. The framework seen in these photos will eventually rot away and decay, to be replaced by the hornbeam trees planted in the center of each frame. As these grow, their canopies will mesh together to form the vaulted ceiling of a Gothic cathedral.

Mauri, who passed in 2009, laid the groundwork for his first visionary cathedral in Valsugana, Italy in 2002. The framework of the cathedral at the foot of Mount Arera in the northern Italian region of Lombardy was completed in 2010.

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tree-cathedral-cattedrale-vegetale-giuliano-mauri

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