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Insiders Pick: The World’s Most Beautiful Gardens

From the traditional manor house borders and wild country cottage gardens of the Cotswolds and the formal grand-scale grounds of Versailles to the manicured gardens of Tokyo’s Imperial Palace and the lush walled oases of Mexico or Marrakech, some of the world’s prettiest gardens are definitely worth traveling for. Here, Indagare asks experts to share their picks for the most amazing gardens and inspiring landscapes around the globe.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a customized trip to the world’s best gardens.

Douglas Hoerr

Hoerr is the CEO of Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects, a 45-person landscape architecture practice with studios in Chicago, Los Angeles and Kansas City, and an American Society of Landscape Architects Fellow.

What are some of your favorite gardens and landscapes around the world?
There will always be a special place in my heart for the Beth Chatto Gardens in Colchester, England. I had the great opportunity to work with and learn from Beth Chatto, and her legacy is just incredible. The Hestercombe Gardens are another favorite of mine in the U.K., located in the Somerset region. I would also say the Tofukuji Temple Gardens in Kyoto and the landscape of the Island of Garda in Italy. In the United States, I love to visit the garden at the Dumbarton Oaks Estate, which is a very historic property in Georgetown, as well as Lotusland in Montecito, California.

Do you have a favorite destination for natural beauty?
The Greek island of Amorgos is absolutely stunning. I spent some time visiting The Burren in Ireland, which is the region that includes the Cliffs of Moher, and the natural range of the ecosystem there is really wonderful. Bristol Bay in Alaska also has a great wealth of natural beauty that I most enjoy taking in with a fly fishing rod in hand.

Have any particular destinations or travel experiences inspired your work?
Every travel experience informs my work, regardless of climate or region. Having spent so much time in European gardens, I wasn’t expecting to be so awestruck by the Japanese gardens in Kyoto. It makes me want to explore more of Asia in the future.

What destinations are currently on your travel bucket list?
I have Mumbai, Patagonia and Tibet on my list right now.

Grant Gilvesy

Grant Gilvesy is an Ontario-based designer who transforms both interiors and exteriors. He is the founder of In Bloom Designscapes, one of the top landscape design firms in London, Ontario.

What are some of your favorite gardens and landscapes around the world?
The gardens at the Palace of Versailles are the first that come to mind. I just love the formality and order of everything. It is simply elegant.

Do you have a favorite destination for natural beauty?
It depends on how one would define natural beauty. To me, Marrakech is the most beautiful place I have visited to date. It is so rich in so many ways, with its colors and architecture. To me, that is natural beauty—when you look around, it just feels right, and that feeling of being right is natural.

Have any particular destinations or travel experiences inspired your work?
My two most recent trips with Indagare took me to Marrakech back in the fall of 2018 and to Mexico City in the winter of 2019. Both destinations were inspiring. There was one garden in Marrakech, in particular, that was the perfect blend of formal and informal. The use of boxwood hedging and a prairie-style planting to fill the centers between the boxwood was so unpredictable, but it worked. In Mexico City, we also toured the home of the furniture designer Gloria Cortina, who had a stunning garden that used different sizes of globe boxwood around her property, creating the feeling of clouds floating around you. It was magical. And she designed the gardens herself, which I loved. A truly talented artist.

What destinations are currently on your travel bucket list?
Austria and Turkey.

Frances Schultz

Frances Schultz is an author, contributing editor to House Beautiful, former editor-at-large for Veranda and board member of the Horticultural Society of New York.

What are some of your favorite gardens and landscapes around the world?
I confess that I love English gardens and the whole English gardening culture, because they are completely insane about their gardens. (If you read Beverley Nichols, you’ll see what I mean. Bonkers.) Rosemary Verey’s Barnsley House Gardens are transcendent. Fortunately, the gardens are now preserved, and the house is a bed and breakfast. I also love the gardens at Sissinghurst and Hidcote. There are too many to name, of course, but I do love the real gardens, created and maintained by real and invariably fascinating people.

Do you have a favorite destination for natural beauty?
I’m particularly drawn to the wine- and olive-growing regions of the world: the south of France, Tuscany, South Africa and my own Santa Ynez Valley, where we live in southern California.

What destinations or travel experiences have you found most inspiring in your life?
The above are all places where I like to go to paint and cook, and I find them incredibly inspiring.

What destinations are currently on your travel bucket list?
I don’t really have a bucket list. People, places and things “speak” to me at different times, and I either listen and continue the metaphorical conversation, or not. There are places I would like to go to paint that I haven’t yet, such as India and Morocco.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a customized trip to the world’s best gardens.

– Nikki Erlick on June 11, 2019

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