Flowers at Brooklyn Botanical Garden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Sometimes beauty can be found in the most unlikely places, like the backyard of the concrete jungle of New York City, so far removed from the city, you may even forget you're there. This 52-acre display is located in the heart of Brooklyn and is home to over 12,000 species of plants. There is also a Bonsai Museum on premises, and the not to be missed Cherry Esplanade's blossoming cherry trees. Look around for rabbits and turtles that call these gardens their home.
Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens
The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens is an 83-acre expanse in Coral Gables, Florida. Arguably the best collection of tropical plants in the U.S., the Fairchild is home to over 500 species of palm trees, cycads, vines, fruit trees, and more. In addition to being a beautiful tourist attraction, the Fairchild is also a pioneer in research and conservation of the plants it houses. Interesting attractions here include the Richard H. Simons Rainforest and the annual International Mango Festival, held in July.
Jardin Botanique du Montreal
Winters in Montreal can be harsh, but that is no problem for the 22,000 plant species at the Jardin Botanique du Montreal. This garden blends indoor and outdoor collections that are equally captivating, making it a great place to visit no matter the weather. The 185 acres include an outdoor arboretum, an indoor insectarium with 160,000 specimens, Chinese and Japanese-style gardens, and the First Nations Garden, where guides explain traditional cultivation of crops like corn and squash. The Chinese Dream Lake Garden is a truly unique sight, modeled after gardens from the Ming dynasty. The materials needed to build this garden were shipped directly from Shanghai and took 50 Chinese craftsmen six months to assemble.
The botanical garden in Madeira, Portugal, is a one-of-a-kind place. The gardens are the grounds of the Reid's Palace hotel, a famous luxury hotel that sits on cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. An already naturally beautiful vista is made even more so by the 10 acres of semi-tropical plant life that surrounds the hotel. Portugal's climate makes this garden burst with color year-round and the trees come from all over the world, including Brazil, Japan, Australia, and Africa. There for admiration are flowering shrubs such as hibiscus, mimosa, wisteria, and more. The "Garden of the Atlantic" also hosts tango lessons in the bar at the hotel every Saturday.
The Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem is the official German name of Berlin's botanical garden. Possibly one of the most important gardens in the world, the Berlin garden houses around 3 million specimens. Today it is operated as part of the Free University of Berlin. The Cactus Pavilion boasts many different types of flowering cactuses, and the Pavilion Victoria features orchids, carnivorous plants, and a giant white water lily. The Great Pavilion is the largest glass house in the world, housing many tropical plants, including giant bamboo. The Berlin gardens are a fantastic display of exotic plants from all corners of the Earth that is definitely worth a visit.
Singapore Botanical Gardens
The Singapore Botanical Gardens is the only botanical garden in the world that is open every day from 5 a.m. to midnight and is free to visitors, with the exception of the National Orchid Garden. The Singapore gardens are spread across 183 acres, featuring beautiful plants among lakes, waterfalls, and even restaurants. The main attraction is the 60,000 orchids. There is also a tropical rainforest, older than the garden itself, a ginger garden, and many other flowering beauties.
By Jessica Dysart, Contributing Author