Did you know that gardening can relieve stress and lower your blood pressure? Imagine what it can do when you combine it with your passion for learning and travel! We’ve created a list of five of our favorite gardens around the world that we think are worth the visit. You may just want to add them to your health regimen.

Butchart Gardens: Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

When Robert Pim Butchart’s cement business took off at the turn of the 20th century, he and his wife, Jennie, left Ontario for Vancouver Island and built a home and factory near a limestone quarry. In 1906 Jennie added a Japanese garden to the site, and as her husband exhausted the quarry she began to transform the unsightly crater into the now famous Sunken Garden at Butchart Gardens.

By 1929 the Butcharts had added an Italian garden and replaced their tennis courts with a rose garden. Today 50 gardeners maintain year-round bloom of Butchart Gardens’ more than 700 varieties of flowers that, along with world-class dining and entertainment, attract nearly 1 million annual visitors.

Boston Public Garden: Boston, Mass., United States

Boston Public Garden, across Charles Street from another famous Boston green space — Boston Common — was established by jurist and philanthropist Horace Gray in 1837 and added to the National Park Service’s registry of historic landmarks 150 years later. It is recognized as the first public botanical garden in the United States.

Among the garden’s statuary are Thomas Ball’s equestrian statue of George Washington and a set of ducklings in file behind their mother, depicting the central characters in Robert McCloskey’s children’s book Make Way for Ducklings. The book, which won the Caldecott Medal in 1942 for its illustrations, tells the story of a family of ducks living on an island in the garden’s lagoon and is an iconic landmark in Boston.

>Monet’s Garden: Giverny, France

On the “right bank” of the Seine River, 50 miles west of Paris, lies the village of Giverny. French painter Claude Monet — whose work Impression, Sunrise gave the Impressionist movement its name — spotted the tiny community from the train running between Vernon and Gasny. He decided to move his family there, and the gardens he raised at his new home inspired much of the last 30 years of his career.

The gardens at Giverny were the subject of Monet’s iconic Water Lilies, a series of about 250 oil paintings that continued the artist’s career-long motif of serial works. In June 2007, 81 years after Monet’s death, a Sotheby’s auction in London fetched 18.5 million pounds for one of these pieces.

International Rose Test Garden: Portland, Ore., United States

In 1905, to help spur a flagging economy, legislators in Portland, Oregon, held an international fair marking the centennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition’s arrival at the Pacific Ocean. The fair left Portland with 20 miles of rose-lined streets and a number of enthusiasts who, with the help of Portland Parks and Recreation and the American Rose Society, created what is today the oldest continually operating rose test garden in America.

With more than 7,000 rose plants in 550 varieties, the garden tests new cultivars from all over the world for color, fragrance and disease resistance and on clear days provides visitors with spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains and majestic Mount Hood.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: London, England

With his marriage to Dorothy Bennett, heir to Sir Richard Bennett’s estate in Kew Park in today’s Greater London, 17th-century British noble Sir Henry Capel developed the first gardens in what is now the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the RBG continues its 250-year tradition of contributions to botanical science. Scientists pursue hundreds of scientific projects on the grounds, ranging from individual doctoral research to large-scale undertakings involving dozens of international partners. In addition to its many exhibits throughout the year, the gardens host an annual photography contest, with the top 100 images displayed in an outdoor exhibit.

Are there other international gardens that we should add to our list? Leave your recommendations in the comment section!

  • Ninfa https://giardinodininfa.eu/   Visited several years ago--an amazing example of making lemon meringue pie from a beautiful pile of wartorn and disease-haunted lemons.

  • Japan has the most amazing beautifully manicured gardens!  Kenrokuen in Kanazawa and Korakuen in Okayama are among the most famous.  Ritsurin in Takamatsu on the island of Shikoku is my favorite.  The Okachi Sanso villa in Arashiyama outside of Kyoto, accessed by walking thru a bamboo forest, was a surprising gem.  I would also recommend the garden of the  Nezu Museum in Tokyo and the Adachi Museum near Matsue, where the garden is viewed entirely thru windows in the building which “frame” the view into scroll-like landscapes.  Worth not just a visit — worth a trio! 

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