Countdown to Spring: Five Awe-Inspiring Gardens

Back at the beginning of February, groundhogs everywhere saw their shadows and predicted six more weeks of winter. When it seems like winter will never end and the snow will never melt, there is nothing that sounds better than just being able to sit outside in the sun without freezing. In my opinion, at least.

Should you too be yearning for warmth and counting down the days until spring, here is a list of five heritage sites with fantastic gardensone for each week left until the spring equinox!

(Why gardens on a blog about historic preservation? The landscape surrounding a site is just as significant to a sense of place as the building itself!)

1. Jichang Garden in Wuxi City, China. A garden has been on the site of the Jichang Garden since the early 1500s. Designed in the 1600s, Jichang exemplifies the classical Chinese garden. Unlike most Western gardens, rock formations and water play just as important a role as plants and decorative buildings. Features include several ponds, rockeries, bridges, and a pavilion.

The Jichang Garden. Photo: Wikipedia

2. Schönbrunn Palace Gardens in Vienna, Austria. These Baroque gardens surround the Habsburg imperial summer palace in Vienna. The earliest designs for the gardens date from 1695, but were expanded in the following centuries. Today, a hedge maze, zoo, gloriette, orangerie, and Japanese garden are just some of the features of the palace grounds.

The Great Parterre at Schönbrunn. Photo: Hallie Borstel

The Great Parterre at Schönbrunn. Photo: Hallie Borstel

3. The Palacio de Generalife in Granada, Spain. As this 14th century summer palace was intended as a “palace of rest” for the Nasrid Emirs, it is no wonder that it contains a variety of gardens. Courtyard gardens, vegetable gardens, and tree-lined promenades complement the Moorish vernacular architecture.

A courtyard garden at the Generalife. Photo: Alhambra de Granada on Flickr

4. The Flower Garden at Kroměříž, Czech Republic. Dating from the 1670s, this garden was designed by architect Giovanni Pietro Tencalla, straddling the Italian Renaissance and French Baroque styles. The gardens contain labyrinthine hedges, a colonnade, greenhouses, and a central pavilion alongside highly decorative flower beds and sculptures.

The flower garden at Kroměříž. Photo: UNESCO

5. Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia. Any historic preservationist will know the ups and downs of Portland cement, so we had to include these spectacular gardens designed by Jennie Butchart, wife of Portland cement’s first manufacturer. The grounds house a concert lawn and several distinctive gardens, including the Sunken Garden built on the site of the former limestone quarry.

The Sunken Garden in spring. Photo: Butchart Gardens

Still not warm? Check out National Geographic’s Top 10 list for gardens and do a little more daydreaming.

This entry was posted in Cultural Heritage, Cultural Travel, Heritage Travel, Historic Sites and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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