Here are my criteria for a great garden and a great garden doesn’t have to have all of these to make it wonderful. I give a bouquet for each of these, 5 bouquets is a fabulous garden.
- Location–there is a great view, a superb destination and geographically interesting
- Plants–fully planted, distinctive, great condition
- Design moves you thru the garden, the hardscape, the seating, the surprises you discover
- Architecturally notable
- Wow factor– something definable makes the garden memorable long after you’ve returned home.
Then Alain Barton, head gardener of Versailles believes a really great garden inspires romance and I love this idea, hope you do too.
If you are ready to travel to gardens here are my go-to resources to help you find these amazing places:
If you belong to your local botanic garden, check to see if they participate in the AHS Reciprocal Membership program. If so, your membership will give you free entrance to over 300 gardens throughout North America. This includes such well-known gardens as the New York Botanical, Missouri Botanical, Los Angeles, Chicago and many more.
I Love Gardens http://www.ilovegardens.com is a state by state guide of all gardens known within each state. You will find name, address, a brief description and link to the garden website. This site also lists the gardens of Ireland.
The Garden Guide’s Garden Finder site is based in the United Kingdom and lists gardens from 66 countries around the world. It provides a remarkable finder feature that allows you to search for gardens in the vicinity of your destination. The site includes descriptions, reviews, and garden web links to allow you to research the destination. http://www.gardenvisit.com/gardens
Garden Search: Your gateway to the world’s botanic gardens, Botanic Gardens Conservation International Garden Search Lists gardens in over 100 countries
My Traveling Gardener website is also searchable by keywords. Notice on the side of my page is a search box. Search by garden name, state, or country to see if I have written about a garden you are hoping to visit.
The New Zealand Garden Trust identifies juried private gardens and member public gardens throughout the country.
The National Trust of the United Kingdom Garden Search
Once you have your garden destination identified, another great resource is Google Maps. It locates the garden and offers images to show you what you might expect when you reach your destination.