Botanical Gardens

 One of the ponds.
Mount Tomah Botanical Gardens

When a gardener becomes a tourist in a new city it can be difficult to find local private gardens to visit. Botanic Gardens are great places to get first impressions of the local plants and gardening styles (and some healthy exercise).

Real gardeners often won't take time out of their own gardens to tour the world. They'd rather spend holiday money on truckloads of manure, or a new pond with real man-sized rocks. And when they do get out, they make terrible garden reporters - their minds are usually preoccupied with the humble state of the garden back home!

That's certainly what it's like for me! So please be forgiving as you read about the Botanic Gardens I've visited. Sometimes I've even tried to take proper notes, write down plant names, and the like.

The GiantThe Giant's House - Mighty Mosaics...
The Giant's House, in Akaroa, New Zealand, is a hillside garden terraced with mosaic paths and walls, and crammed full of mosaic sculptures. You can sit on mosaic seats and chat with huge people, while a towering white angel watches from the top of the hill. Just down the path an owl and an elephant are unlikely friends, one perching in, the other charging out of, a bed of parsley...
Maire Nui Botanical Gardens, RarotongaMaire Nui Botanical Gardens, Rarotonga...
Every visitor soon knows that Rarotonga in the Cook Islands has beaches to enjoy, and motor scooters to hire for the drive right around the island. But there's more - the tropical Maire Nui Botanical Gardens are a must-see visit, and definitely more than once.
HamiltonHamilton's Front Yard Gardens...
It's my 2010 summer holiday, and I've been wandering around Hamilton (Ontario) enjoying the front yard gardens. It's comforting and inspiring seeing what ordinary gardeners like to grow.
Sissinghurst GardensSissinghurst Gardens...
Finally I have made the true gardener's pilgrimage - to Sissinghurst Gardens in Kent. Now I can chat about THE most famous white garden in the world. I can hold my own in gardening small-talk. Yippee!
Chanticleer - A Personal GardenChanticleer - A Personal Garden...
I envy writers who can describe great gardens well, bringing them to life with inspired words and phrases. I've finally met a 'great garden', and I've been putting off the wordy moment. It's Chanticleer, near Philadelphia, north-eastern USA.
Longwood GardensLongwood Gardens...
Longwood Gardens are near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and should be on the serious Botanical Gardens tourist's trail. Visitors of the 'big (and old) is best' persuasion will definitely have fun.
Tyler ArboretumTyler Arboretum...
I've just met (and photographed) the State Champion Pinus Picea for Pennsylvania, USA. He's a tree in the Tyler Arboretum, a delightful place where I've just spent some quality garden-visiting hours.
Back to the Ilam Azalea GardensBack to the Ilam Azalea Gardens...
I visit the Ilam Botanical Gardens each year in spring to see the deciduous Azaleas. They make a grand show, layers of flame coloured flowers underneath the large rhododendron trees. But this year I had a special reason.
Arduaine GardensArduaine Gardens...
Arduaine is a beautiful open garden near Oban in Scotland. Though it is now run by the National Trust for Scotland, the garden feels private and peaceful, and its beautiful beds and borders are a foliage feast. And Arduaine's Head Gardener, Maurice Wilkins, is a legend!
Inverewe GardensInverewe Gardens...
You simply must visit Inverewe Gardens, said my 'Scotaholic' friend, who isn't even a gardener. And so I drove happily over the scenic A87, turned into the huge car park, and took a deep breath. This was a real test of my - talent? Would I enjoy meeting the Grand Auntie of all Scottish gardens?
Dunvegan in SkyeDunvegan in Skye...
When I looked at Castle Dunvegan on the map of the Isle of Skye it seemed to be a long way. But the mountains and scenery on Skye would be well worth the drive, and there was a garden as an added bonus. Yippee - I love castles, and gardens!
Attadale GardensAttadale Gardens...
As a self-styled garden reporter with no formal training, my visit to Attadale in the west of Scotland sees me trialling my new walk'n'write reporting method. This requires a notebook, a pen, and half-decent peripheral vision. Hopefully I will not trip over any large tree roots...
Leckmelm ArboretumLeckmelm Arboretum...
Writing about Leckmelm, a restored Victorian Arboretum, will be one of my biggest journalistic challenges. There's definitely a limit to the number of times one can use the phrase 'huge trees with towering trunks', before impact is lost!
SingaporeSingapore's Garden Sculpture...
It's wonderful that the Singapore Botanic Gardens have installed several official pieces of garden art. But to my eyes there are much stronger sculptural elements inherent in the gardens themselves.
Meet SingaporeMeet Singapore's Orchids...
I've been putting off having to write about the orchid collection in the Singapore Botanic Gardens - possibly because I know I absolutely have to? A garden reporter cannot be rebellious, not as far as the Singapore orchids are concerned!
Meet SingaporeMeet Singapore's Plants...
I garden in a temperate climate, where Bougainvillea gets frosted in winter, and Bromeliads need shelter. I haven't even got a heated conservatory room full of beautiful tropical plants. Meeting the plants at Singapore's Botanical Gardens was going to be very exciting!
Singapore GardensSingapore Gardens...
Singapore is an island country with a busy airport, and the busiest shipping port in the world. Most travellers come to shop, but not me. My reason was simple - I came to visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Abriachan GardenAbriachan Garden...
The first garden (and nursery) I visited in Scotland, Abriachan, had a secret and private feel, though it proudly had its own official brown open-garden road sign. Abriachan nestled on the hillside overlooking that famous stretch of Scottish water, Loch Ness.
Laking Garden, OntarioLaking Garden, Ontario...
Hamilton's Royal Botanical Gardens (in Ontario, Canada) are spread over different sites, covering perennials, roses, trees, and rock plants. I went to the Laking Gardens to see the perennial plantings.
A Day at KewA Day at Kew...
My mid-summer visit to Kew Gardens was easily organised. I had a whole spare day in London, and wanted to take a river boat trip on the Thames. I could spend a day at Kew - the perfect destination.
Old Fashioned Rose GardenOld Fashioned Rose Garden...
I've just been to the old-fashioned rose garden in the local Botanic Gardens. What a beautiful display! The roses are allowed to grow so naturally - they can climb, or sprawl, as takes their fancy.
Guided GardensTourGuided GardensTour...
I usually visit the Christchurch Botanic Gardens not quite knowing what I'm looking for, and come home with nothing but duck photographs. To improve my random garden reporting, this spring I decide to take a guided tour.
Chateau de la HulpeChateau de la Hulpe...
When recently in Europe my gardening friend took me to one of her magical walking places - le Chateau de la Hulpe, in Brussels. We sauntered around in the gentle rain, on paths flanked by forests of flowering rhododendrons.
RegentRegent's Park London...
My first serious garden reporting day in London! Where to go? How to choose? Easy - get a London A-Z map, find a page with a large green shape and a tube station symbol, and go! Regent's Park, my first real English park - here I come!
Christchurch Botanic Gardens - SummerChristchurch Botanic Gardens - Summer...
Soon to be an intrepid world garden tourist, I have been practising in the local Botanic Gardens - important things, like trialing my new (budget) summer walking shoes, and testing my stamina for walking on paved paths (ouch - sore feet).
Christchurch Botanic Gardens - SpringChristchurch Botanic Gardens - Spring...
I've just paid a mid-spring visit to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens - to seek out dramatic scenes of plant and tree destruction after last week's spring snow storm, and to take photographs of the Magnolias, the Azaleas, and assorted mid-spring things.
Armadale in SkyeArmadale in Skye...
Speed, bonny gardener, like a bird on the wing... over the sea to Skye. That's the Isle of Skye in Scotland, where I recently visited two wonderful gardens. And there's a bridge, too. Firstly I went along the coast road to visit the gardens at Armadale.
Christchurch Botanic Gardens - AutumnChristchurch Botanic Gardens - Autumn...
Autumn in my garden is very small and simple. Three Maples and four Dogwood trees are going red. Two Elms and my one Willow tree are going yellow. So I've been out in search of autumn on a larger scale - at the local Botanic Gardens.
Christchurch Botanic Gardens - RevisitedChristchurch Botanic Gardens - Revisited...
This is the report of my first prepared visit to another garden - my return visit, with notebook and pen (and walking friend), to the beautiful Christchurch Botanic Gardens.
Christchurch Botanic GardensChristchurch Botanic Gardens...
I went to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens determined to take good photographs and write a good report - one which captured the organic essence of this grand acreage of botanical wonders...
Mona Vale Rose GardensMona Vale Rose Gardens...
On my second visit as a roving garden reporter to Mona Vale Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand, the roses were flowering. In the early summer sun I tried my best to be a serious garden visitor - taking sensible photographs, noticing vistas, and peering at the labels.
Azaleas in Ilam Botanical GardensAzaleas in Ilam Botanical Gardens...
The Christchurch Ilam Botanical Gardens in flower are a feast of brightly coloured deciduous azaleas and rhododendrons. Paths and lawns are surrounded by rows and layers of wonderfully coloured flowering shrubs.
Mona Vale GardensMona Vale Gardens...
Mona Vale is a suburban Christchurch public garden which surrounds an old colonial homestead. Brochures are prominent in all the tourist centres - it has an image of beauty and grace, the perfect garden to stroll around, or to get married in...
Sydney Botanic GardensSydney Botanic Gardens...
I'm inexperienced at writing about visits to Botanic Gardens. I don't write down any details (names of plants would be helpful) and I don't keep the brochure (nor do I read it). My behaviour at the Sydney Botanic Gardens is no exception.
Mount Tomah Botanic GardensMount Tomah Botanic Gardens...
The Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens (in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney) advertise themselves cutely as the 'Coolest Botanic gardens in Australia'. They certainly are - what a great place to visit!
Ilam GardensIlam Gardens...
The University of Canterbury (in Christchurch, New Zealand) is lucky to own some long established public Botanic Gardens. Their Ilam Gardens are an example, visited recently mid-spring by the roving (and dog-less) garden reporter Moosey...