12 beautiful botanical gardens in the EU and the UK!
The first “real” botanical gardens (with an underlying scientific basis) were the medicinal gardens of Italy that were created in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The first was the garden of the University of Pisa, created by Luca Ghini (1543). Other Italian universities followed and gardens were created in Padua (1545), Florence (1545) and Bologna (1547). These gardens were intended exclusively for the academic study of medicinal plants. By the 16th century these medicinal gardens had spread to universities and pharmacies all over central Europe!
The 12 botanical gardens:
1. Royal Greenhouses in Laeken – Belgium
Architect Alphonse Balat designed (1873) a greenhouse complex for King Leopold II. It complements the castle of Laeken, which was built in classical style. The complex has the appearance of a glass city in an undulating landscape with monumental pavilions, glass domes and wide arcades that traverse the grounds like covered streets. Some of the plants belonging to King Leopold II’s original collections still exist.
2. Chateau Versailles – France
Wander around the visit worthy castle, and wander through the beautiful gardens! The construction of the gardens was a monumental task. Large amounts of earth had to be moved to level the ground, construct parterres, build the Orangerie and excavate the fountains and canal in places previously occupied only by meadows and marshes. Trees were brought in from various regions of France. Thousands of men, sometimes even entire regions, worked on this immense project.
3. Botanical Garden La Concepción Málaga – Spain
The Jardín Botánico Histórico La Concepción is an English landscape garden with a history of over one hundred and fifty years. This wonderful garden is located at the entrance of the Spanish city of Málaga. It has more than 50.000 plants, of 2000 tropical, subtropical and autochthonous species. Highlighting the collection with more than a hundred different species of palms, bamboos, aquatic plants and its historic garden. Originally it was a recreational farm for a family of the upper middle class of the city since the middle of the 19th century.
4. The Palm Garden Frankfurt – Germany
Ancient trees and plants from all over the world, meadows and water, wilderness and knowledge, art and culture – the Palm Garden is a place without equal. The 22 hectares of the garden are home to around 13,000 plant species in the open air and under the roofs of many, often historic, show houses. Exhibitions, theme tours and music events make the Palmengarten an attraction at any time of year. And that doesn’t just apply to human visitors: Anyone strolling through the meadows and flowerbeds of the garden on a sunny summer’s day will come across numerous insects, including many species that are now rare.
5. Kew Gardens – The UK
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is a leading scientific organisation, exhibiting the largest living collection of plants and mushrooms in its 330 hectares garden just 30 minutes from central London. The gardens were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2003 in recognition of their unique history, varied historical landscape, rich architectural heritage, botanical collections and position as one of the world’s leading botanical gardens for scientific research and education.
6. Meise Botanical Garden – Belgium
The Botanical Garden Meise is a Belgian botanical garden in the Flemish-Brabant municipality of Meise. It is located on the grounds of the castle of Bouchout. It is one of the largest botanical gardens in the world and there is plenty to see with more than 3 million specimens of living plants.
7. Hortus Leiden – The Netherlands
The Hortus botanicus Leiden is the oldest botanical garden (1590) of the Netherlands. It is located in the historical centre of Leiden just next to the Academy building. The garden has been open to the public from the start, which was an exception especially in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. the Leiden Hortus is known for its collections of Asian Araceae (among which the Giant Arum Amorphophallus titanum), Hoya, Dischidia, Nepenthes, ferns and one of the biggest collections of Asian orchids in the world.
8. Hortus Amsterdam – The Netherlands
The Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam is a botanical garden. The garden is located on the Plantage Middenlaan, in the Plantagebuurt. The garden is approximately 1.2 hectares and contains more than six thousand tropical and native trees and plants. Hortus Botanicus is now a popular attraction for both Dutch and international visitors. The collection is famous for some of its trees and plants, some of which are endangered. Well-known plants and trees can be found there, like the Persian ironwood tree. Recent additions to Hortus include a large hothouse, which incorporates three different tropical climates!
9. La Mortella Gardens – Italy
La Mortella is a private garden on the island of Ischia, Italy. It was first opened to the public in 1991. It was created by Susana Walton, wife of composer William Walton. The garden spreads for about 2 hectares and has a major collection of exotic, rare plants that is constantly widened and developed, year after year. The diversity and wealth of the collection is such that La Mortella can be considered a true botanic garden.
10. Batumi Botanical Gardens – Georgia
The Batumi Botanical Garden is an area of 108 hectares located 9 km north of the city of Batumi. Located in the place called Mtsvane Kontskhi on the Black Sea coast, it is one of the largest botanical gardens in the former Soviet Union. Currently, the garden consists of nine floristic sectors, those of Caucasian humid subtropics, East Asia, New Zealand, South America, the Himalayas, Mexico, Australia, and of the Mediterranean.
11. Botanic Garden of the Jagiellonian University – Poland
The Jagiellonian University Botanical Garden is a botanical garden (1783) in Cracow. It is located east of the Old Town, belongs to the Jagiellonian University and is classified as a historical site. This beautiful, well-maintained garden is huge (9.6 hectares) and houses a wealth of trees, shrubs, tropical plants, flowers and other flora from all over the world.
12. Bucharest Botanical Garden – Romania
Bucharest’s magnificent botanical gardens were founded in 1860 with the considerable financial support of Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza, at the time the leader of the nascent Romanian state. Completed in 1866 according to the designs and instructions of Ulrich Hoffmann, the gardens were originally located on the grounds of the Cotroceni Monastery and moved to their present location in 1884. The garden extends over an area of more than 17 hectares and houses more than 10.000 plant species, about half of which are cultivated in the impressive greenhouses.
We hope we have inspired you to visit one of the many beautiful botanical gardens during your holidays. If you do, take us along with you by taking pictures and sharing them with us! #PLNTS
Lisa has spent quite a fair amount of hours in the greenhouse and loves to share her experience with others!