Winter has finally made its debut here. Temperatures have plummeted, winds have picked up and sleet, snow and ice are blanketing the city. Winter weather advisories have taken over the news reports and schools are reminding parents to check for possible closings over the next few days. The weather is terrible and I love it because it’s the perfect excuse to curl up in my favorite fireplace chair and plan a trip to visit a few of the most beautiful gardens around the world.
While I would love to see these gardens in person, I know that it's just a lovely, wintertime pipe dream. Instead of packing my suitcase, I’m going to be opening up my laptop and traveling virtually. Since there are no reservations required and no fees to pay, I’d like to invite you to join me on a gardener’s dream trip to 4 of the world’s most beautiful gardens.
Let’s start right here at home in a rather unexpected place for a world famous botanical garden – Buffalo, New York. The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the United States, was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the landscape architect who spearheaded the design of New York City’s Central Park. Among the impressive features in this garden is the magnificent Victorian glass dome conservatory housing an impressive array of succulents and tropical fruit trees. In 1982 the Botanical Gardens was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Enjoy an armchair visit at:
While we are in the area, we should hop over to the New York Botanical Gardens, located in the midst of the Bronx. This 250 acre paradise is home to 50 different gardens, over 30,000 trees, a rainforest and a superb cactus display. Admission is charged for walk-in visitors, but we can see it for free at:
Since we’re in New York City, it just makes sense to head across the Atlantic and make a stop in England. There is, of course, the famed Kew Gardens in London (which has some delightful videos at https://www.kew.org/about-us/virtual-kew-wakehurst ), but instead let’s visit another Royal Horticultural Society garden that rivals Kew. The RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, England is not only the oldest RHS garden, but it is also the most diverse. It is an ornamental garden and a center of scientific research, consistently showcasing the best new plants for “the public to grow.” Tour this 240 acre garden at:
I was a young child when my mother took me to the St. Louis Art Museum to see the 41 foot long Water Lilies panel by Monet. To see the Monet Gardens that inspired his works would fulfill a life-long dream But since Giverny, Normandy isn’t on our vacation agenda this year, the virtual tours available online will do! Today, a nonprofit foundation, The Foundation Claude Monet, authentically maintains the 2.5 acre property that Claude Monet himself designed and cared for during the 43 years he and his family lived there. Since the property is closed until March, we are lucky to be able to visit it now at:
Someday perhaps I will see some, or at least one of these incredible gardens in person. Until then, I am truly grateful for a virtual peek at them. I hope they inspire you to begin planning to see another beautiful garden -- your own!