May 22 2013

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Great gardens around the world

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Versailles Gardens

A stroll through the gardens of Versailles is like taking a trip back in time. Photo: ThinkStock

If you’d like to stop and smell the roses, tiptoe through the tulips, or simply go green, these gardens are great places to take a peaceful stroll and appreciate carefully cultivated natural beauty.

The gardens of Versailles near Paris are perhaps the most famous in the world and are certainly among the most timeless. They were designed in the 17th century to complement the architecture of Louis XIV’s grand chateau and are still maintained in the classic French Garden style. There are numerous sculptures throughout the grounds, including 39 fountains that each depict one of Aesop’s Fables. Unfortunately the labyrinth made of hedges is long gone, but you can still lose yourself wandering through the 800 hectares of meticulously shaped foliage.

The Hershey Gardens in Hershey, Pennsylvania are a flower lover’s paradise. In 1937, Milton S. Hershey used part of his chocolate company fortune to create a small rose garden as a tribute to his wife. The historic rose garden is still there, but the grounds have now blossomed into 23 acres of diverse botanical beauty. There are more than 100 varieties of tulips, 275 varieties of roses, and seven other specialty gardens, including a large living herb collection. There is also a children’s garden complete with a butterfly house, where kids can learn about plants and insects.

While Japanese-style gardens have become more popular in the United States, nothing compares to visiting the originals in Japan. Kenroku-en in Kanazawa is one of the most famous places in Japan. Its name means “garden which combines six characteristics,” and it’s considered to have all six of the qualities of an ideal garden: spaciousness, serenity, scenic views, subtle design, venerability, and coolness. The garden contains more than 8,700 trees and 183 species of plants in total. It also boasts the oldest fountain in Japan, which operates using only natural water pressure. The garden is open year-round and is well-known for being beautiful in every season.

More About: Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith is a writer, traveler and lover of cities currently living in Austin, Texas. Follow her on Twitter at @shameonseamus.
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Posted on: May 22, 2013 | Tags: , , | Category: International Vacations

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