Tuesday, December 06, 2016

The Most Beautiful Gardens in Europe ♥

There's nothing better than capturing a photograph of flora in its natural habit. Sadly, for many busy people, a hike in the woods is not always conducive to the hustle and bustle of busy life. That’s no reason to forgo exploring the beauty of natural flora. One way to capture that ideal photo, is to visit natural gardens.

When most people think of looking at flowers or visiting a garden, they automatically picture places like the Royal Botanic Garden in London, an excellent place to see rare plants and flowers from across the globe or the formal gardens found at the palaces of past monarchs like at Versailles. While these are beautiful, and well worth a visit, there are several smaller, and lesser known gardens that are awe-inspiring, in their own right.  Here are four of the most beautiful gardens in Europe.

Fletcher Moss Park & Botanical Gardens
This beautiful park was left to the city of Manchester in 1915, by philanthropist Fletcher Moss. Like so many botanical gardens, this one was originally built and maintained as part of a private estate. The park is open all year around and is home to several native and non-native flowers, ranging from New Zealand’s cheese wood (an evergreen) that produces a cream/white to yellow flower to more common ones like witch-hazel and lilies.

West Pennine Moors
Not far from Fletcher Moss Park, this 230-square kilometer natural area has been under protection since 2004. It's worth the fare to visit. Just remember that Uber is offered in many European cities -- *Lyft is only available in Asian cities for the most part, so sharing a ride to explore these gardens will save time. It has a rich biodiversity that is often overlooked. Some beautiful wildflowers that can be seen are the bog rosemary, heather, and cross-leaved heath.

Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry Ireland
This quaint spot of heaven boasts Ireland’s highest waterfall and two beautiful international gardens, plus it was ranked as the third best garden in the world by National Geographic. The Japanese Garden provides a quiet and zen escape from the modern world , while the Italian Garden's magnificent terraces provide an incredible vista.
For the flower lover, there is something to see year around at Powerscourt, from the forsythias and tulips in March to the orchids and achilleas in October and November. The floral variety offered is staggering, and well worth several trips during each season. The official site lists what is in bloom and when, so visitors can plan their trip accordingly. 

Ardtornish Gardens, Morvern Scotland
From the Gaelic Àird Tòirinis, Ardtornish is a 19th century estate near Loch Aline, in the beautiful Scottish Highlands.  This 28-acre property has something to offer year around, and while the best times to see flowers in bloom is in the spring and summer, the winter offers a few hydrangeas to go along with the stunning scenery. The official website has a seasonal guide, as well as a map of the estate and other useful information for anyone wanting to see the floral wonders.  

One of the best ways experience the real beauty and majesty of flowers, is to see them in a well-kept garden, or if you're lucky, in their native habitat. It may seem like natural areas are hard to find these days, as we become more urban and tech-obsessed, but there are still some great wilderness and protected natural areas to explore. The only real disadvantage these places have is that they are at the whim of the seasons, so plan accordingly. A garden might lack some of that primal, verdant charm, but visitors are guaranteed to see something splendid when they visit.
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