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Inspiring Places: Gardens of the World

Posted on March 25, 2019 by Kelly Johnstone
dutch windmills zaanstad village

If you have a garden, do you look for design and planting ideas when you’re on your travels? From beds bursting with colourful flowers to rock gardens with very little green, there’s a myriad of ways to design your outdoor space. Here are some different gardening styles from around the world to inspire you.

English country garden

The beautiful English country garden at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent is internationally renowned for its Arts and Crafts design. The garden was created by writer Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson in the 1930s.

Exuberant planting fills a series of outdoor ‘rooms’, including the stunning White Garden, filled with white and grey plants. The castle and gardens are now owned by the National Trust. Their website shares tips and advice from the gardeners who care for Sissinghurst today:

Gardeners cuttings from Sissinghurst Castle Garden

French potager garden

Potager gardens are ornamental kitchen gardens where fruit, vegetables and herbs grow alongside flowers. The style is inspired by French Renaissance gardens, a historic example of which you can see at the palace of Versailles in France. On his gardening blog, horticulturalist David Domoney explains how to create this type of garden:

How to design a potager vegetable and flower garden

Spring flower garden

Kuekenhof, in the Netherlands, is one of the world’s largest flower gardens and is famous for its annual spring displays.

With millions of bulbs and hundreds of varieties of tulips in bloom, it’s a spectacular place to visit from March to May. The flower displays at Keukenhof are carefully designed to produce particular patterns and colours. Dan Cooper’s gardening blog The Frustrated Gardener includes this article explaining how he creates an annual spring flower display in his small garden:


Minimalist garden

Traditional Japanese gardens are minimalist, sparsely planted, and incorporate elements of the natural landscape, such as gravel and rocks.

They are calm spaces which are used for contemplation. The award-winning gardens at Japan’s Adachi Museum of Art include a white gravel garden and a moss garden and can only be viewed through glass. Visitors to the USA’s highly-regarded Seattle Japanese Garden can stroll through the 3.5-acre site along a winding path. You can find tips and advice from the Seattle Japanese Garden on their website:

Japanese Garden Design

Mediterranean garden

Informal Mediterranean gardens feature whitewashed walls, terracotta pots and hardy, low-maintenance plants, such as olive, lavender and rosemary, which are happy in hot, dry weather. These spaces often include an area to eat and relax in the shade. You can see gardens like this all around the Mediterranean. The Royal Horticultural Society website has some helpful advice on creating a Mediterranean garden in the UK:

Mediterranean garden plants

Gretta Schifano

gretta schifano smiling portraitGretta Schifano is an award-winning travel blogger and journalist. Gretta writes about luxury, cultural and active family travel with teenagers, and 50+ travel, on her blog Mums do Travel. Her work has also been published by the Financial Times, National Geographic Traveller, Lonely Planet and others. Winner of the Women in Marketing Award for Best Social Media Campaign and the BritMums BiB Award for Best Travel Blog, she lives with her husband and kids in the Surrey countryside, near to London.