Hubert Burda Media

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The New York Times ranks Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay on the list of 46 places to visit. Here are six more that blows the mind.

Monet’s water garden, Giverny, France
Stop and smell the flowers at impressionist painter Claude Monet’s botanical creation set around his country home outside Paris. Besides displaying strong visual impact with low under-planting and taller flowers thrusting overhead, he loved massing colourful plants in what appears to be artful disarray to create texture, bold colour combinations and strong contrasts of primary hues. In 1893, 10 years after his arrival, Monet began to expand his garden to include a lake. The main attraction? The water lilies, which inspired countless paintings by the great artist.
Generalife Gardens, Granada
Spain’s Moorish past is perfectly represented in the 12th-century Alhambra Palace in Granada, and, in particular, the Jardin de Generalife (a gentle 10-minute climb from the palace), which translates as the Architect’s Garden. It sits on a hill and enjoys some of Spain’s best views.
Korakuen, Okayama
One of Japan’s most stunning gardens, Korakuen boasts bursts of magnificent colour thanks to the groves of plum, cherry and maple trees, all of which provide impressive blooms at different times of the year. Another famous attraction is the summer blooms of a very special lotus plant successfully grown from a 2,000-year-old seed. Cherry blossom time is in March and there is a large area dedicated to these delicate flowers.
Yu Yuan Garden, Shanghai
The beautifully proportioned three-hectare garden was built in 1577 by a Ming Dynasty government officer for his parents. Today, there is still a sense of calm as you enter the walled enclosure — full of impressive attractions which include, apart from the botanical displays, historic Ming dynasty pavilions, ponds, bridges, waterways and grand gateways topped with stone dragons.
Suan Nong Nooch, Pattaya
This 600-acre garden, originally planned as a fruit plantation, is a world of ornamental blooms, tropical plants, pretty Thai-style pavilions and fruit plantations. It also hosts popular Thai dance and elephant shows. Much of the garden is laid out in a formal French style, but the plants are mostly tropical. This bromeliad garden, dominated with hues of red, pink and purple, is a spectacular highlight.
Keukenhof Tulip Gardens, Holland
Only open for two months in a year, the Keukenhof, near Lisse, features mostly tulips during the spring months. The bulbs are planted on October 18, 19 and 20 in a much celebrated event open to the public. When spring arrives, the 34-acre garden buzzes with spectacular blooms and fun activities. While the garden works primarily on colour and visual impact, a treat for the nose is taking a walk through the hyacinth sections. This year, it’s open daily from March 21 to May 20.
Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Although many say that the whole of Singapore is one enormous garden, the Gardens by the Bay is the city’s most spectacular natural space. Covering over 1,000ha, it is nestled in Marina Bay. The lush spaces include cooled conservatories, individually themed gardens, event and dining spaces, connecting waterways, lakes, aerial bridges and 18 Supertrees, which soar from 25m to 50m in height and are covered with vertical gardens with more than 163,000 plants. Inspired by the giant trees of the Amazon rainforest, the Supertrees also function as exhaust vents for the conservatories — the Flower Dome that replicates the cool-dry climate of the Mediterranean and displays baobabs, olive trees and date palms; and the Cloud Forest with a cool-moist climate akin to tropical mountain regions. In all, the two conservatories display around 226,000 plants.