Botanical gardens – perfect for an interesting yet relaxing day out for the whole family, but a destination that many people completely forget about when deciding where to go. We’re here to show you why botanic gardens should not be overlooked!
So, plant lovers and naturalists alike, get your bags packed and get ready to go, as we’re about to take a quick tour around some of the world’s finest gems of botanical gardens, first stop: South Africa!
1. Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens – Gauteng, South Africa
For something a bit unusual, try the Walter Sisulu Gardens in South Africa, for their incredibly colourful array of flowers and birds. Surrounding the majestic Witpoortjie Falls (home to a nest of black eagles), the Gardens feature a rockery, a water garden, a fern trail and an arboretum, as well as a Children’s Garden, a wild flower meadow, and the gorgeous Birds and Butterfly Garden.
Come in summer to view the flowering of the coral trees and hear the calls of the cuckoos.
2. Atlanta Botanical Garden – Atlanta, USA
If you only visit one garden in the world, you might as well make it this one, as Atlanta has a ridiculously diverse array of plants, ranging from places in Asia, South America, Madagascar and Australasia! There’s bound to be something for you here, with that sort of variety.
The Fuqua Centre houses 16,000 square feet of orchids, and the Tropical High Elevation House is misty and mysterious. Make sure you take a stroll along the Canopy Walk, and come in spring for the tulips and daffs.
3. Ness Botanical Gardens – Merseyside, UK
The Gardens at Kew tend to be the one that’s always mentioned in lists of UK botanical gardens, so we’ve decided to plump for one that’s a little lower key. With more than 10,000 different varieties of plants you can’t really go wrong, but it’s the wildflower meadow that really merits a mention.
The botanical gardens at Ness are just by the River Dee, so you can picnic whilst surrounded by the gorgeous views of the estuary, or come to listen to a concert or even see a show!
4. Singapore Botanic Gardens – Singapore
Singapore Botanic Gardens is worth a visit for its National Orchid Garden alone – it has over a thousand different species of orchid, and two thousand hybrids! They also have more than 200 species of tropical palms in their collection, and a fragrant mist house.
There’s a section that is climate controlled so that it resembles tropical jungles and another that’s like forestry, as well as an actual section of rainforest. It’s worth visiting any time of year.
5. Desert Botanical Garden – Phoenix, USA
The clue is in the name – these gardens specialise in desert plants (which is apt; it’s in Arizona, after all), particularly those hailing from the arid Sonoran. They have more than 15,000 plants on displays, from cactus to agave, so if you’re interested in plants from this climate, you could do no better than Phoenix.
They have a lot of rare plants, and even some impressive giant cacti, so make sure you stop off here. It’s best in late spring, as you get to see the cacti blooming.