5 Places To Visit For Lovers Of Gardens

Characterized by both natural beauty and meticulous design, gardens are ideal venues for relaxing, reflecting, and enjoying the aesthetic and therapeutic properties of flowers and other plants. This list, presented in no particular order, highlights some particularly noteworthy destinations garden lovers shouldn't miss.

For #1 we find Bury St Edmunds, a historic market town in Suffolk, England. It's home to the award-winning, 14-acre Abbey Gardens, which sits on the site of the former Benedictine Abbey, once one of the richest and most powerful Benedictine monasteries in England. Highlights include the Pilgrim's Herb Garden, featuring many traditional medicinal plants from medieval times.

Among the other areas is the Appleby Rose Garden, a former orchard that now boasts over 400 rose bushes. Beyond the Abbey, visitors to Bury St Edmunds can check out Nowton Park for wild flower meadows, woodland, and an arboretum. There's also nearby Fullers Mill Garden, which features a collection of rare and unusual shrubs, perennials, lilies, and marginal plants collected over 50 years.

Showing up at #2 is Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, a registered museum located in the heart of Vancouver's storied Chinatown neighborhood. Modeled after the planted enclosures of Ming Dynasty scholars, it became the first authentic full-scale Chinese garden built outside of that country upon its completion in 1986.

Taking just over a year to complete, the Garden was constructed by 53 master artisans from Suzhou and a team of local architects, who employed techniques nearly identical to those used centuries ago in Suzhou. Building materials included hand-fired roof tiles, carved woodwork, lattice windows, and prized limestone rocks shipped from China. The plants, meanwhile, were locally sourced to reinforce the cross-cultural character of the Garden.

For #3 we come to the Rogerson Clematis Garden. Located in West Linn, Oregon, it grew from Brewster Rogerson's extensive collection of the eponymous flower varietal, which he began nurturing in 1971. Today, the garden boasts 1,900 individual clematis representing over 850 distinct species, making it the most comprehensive public assemblage of the genus in North America.

Covering one acre around the historic Luscher Farmhouse and a 100-year-old copper beech tree, the Garden's winding paths lead visitors into various display areas, each with a special focus. Throughout, guests will see unique and exceptionally rare plants, as well as historic clematis and the newest hybrids from around the world. There's also a greenhouse, and an orchard that grows heirloom apple varieties.

Next up at #4 is Battersea Flower Station, situated in southwest London on a long, thin strip of land connecting two roads. An acclaimed independent garden center and florist, it offers an abundance of horticultural resources, including plants for gardens and homes, succulents, compost, indoor and outdoor pots, gardening tools, bouquets, and more.

The company also provides a number of services to make gardening easier and more accessible. For instance, in addition to offering myriad bags, it sells compost by the scoop so customers only have to buy the amount they need. Customers can also bring in their houseplants for repotting, and avail themselves of collection, delivery, and window box planting services.

Finally, for #5 we have Elizabeth Park. Included on the national register of historic places, this Hartford, Connecticut location offers just over 100 acres of formal gardens, green space, recreational facilities, and walking loops. At the center of the Park is the Helen S Kaman Rose Garden, the third largest of its kind in the US with over 15,000 bushes and 800 varieties of old and new roses.

Additionally, Elizabeth Park features gardens devoted to tulips, annuals, perennials, and heritage roses. There's also the Shade Garden, which is unique for having all of its planted areas comprised of raised beds, linked by brick dust paths. Its mixed plantings include herbs, perennials, ornamental grasses, woody shrubs, and small evergreen and deciduous trees.