Jumat, 18 November 2011

Top 5 Gardens (Part 1)

1. Château de Versailles Versailles, France
The famous French landscape designer André Le Nôtre laid out these gardens southwest of Paris in the 17th century at the behest of Louis XIV. The Sun King wanted them to magnify the glory of his palace at Versailles, which was itself a monument to his absolute rule. The 250 acres (101 hectares) are riddled with paths that lead to flower beds, quiet corners decorated with classical statuary, ornamental lakes, and a canal that King Louis used for gondola rides.

2. Singapore Botanic Garden Singapore
Considered one of the world's prettiest botanical gardens, the Singapore Botanic Garden was established in 1859. Its 128 acres (52 hectares) are divided into three "cores." Bukit Timah Core is geared for educational and recreational use. In Tanglin Core, visitors can find a bandstand and many statues sprinkled among favorite native plants and trees. The most popular core for tourists is Centre. The National Orchid Garden is in this section, atop the park's highest point, where more than 60,000 colorful orchids bloom.

3. Descanso Gardens La Canada Flintridge, California
A mere 20-minute drive outside of Los Angeles you'll find a bucolic paradise with more than 100,000 plants and one of the world's largest collections of camellias. The gardens and woods of Descanso ("rest" or "repose" in Spanish) unfold over 160 acres (65 hectares) of the San Rafael Hills. Don't miss the Japanese garden and the International Rosarium that is home to thousands of roses. Children particularly enjoy riding the Descanso Gardens Enchanted Railroad, a mini-diesel train.

4. Butchart Gardens Vancouver Island, British Columbia
The Butchart Gardens are a dazzling example of a successful reclamation project. The land, used for years by Portland Cement, by 1904 had exhausted its value as a quarry. That's when Jennie Butcher, the wife of Portland Cement's owner, filled the space with soil from nearby farms. Her vision expanded into a 55-acre (22-hectare) tract filled with 700 varieties of plants that bloom from March to October.

5. Villa d'Este Tivoli, Italy
A Renaissance cardinal decided to make life in Tivoli bearable by turning a dilapidated Benedictine monastery into a lovely villa, the Villa d'Este. This was embellished by one of the most fascinating garden and fountain complexes in the world, recently listed by UNESCO as one of Italy's 31 major historical/artistic sites. Among the most bewitching of the mossy fountains are the Fontana del Bicchierone (water pours out from a large shell-shaped basin); the Rometta fountain, which is a miniature Rom complete with a wolf-suckling Romulus and Remus; and the Avenue of the Hundred Fountains, where animal heads, lilies, a small boat, basins, and so on all spurt water.

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