Life

Gardening: Five of the best gardens to visit around the world when you're on holiday

An avenue of grape hyacinths (muscari) at Keukenhof=

IF YOU'RE planning your holidays and fancy taking in some gardens while you're away, here are five to savour and inspire:

1. Keukenhof, Lisse, Holland: Flower Power is Keukenhof's 2019 theme and unsurprisingly so, as more than seven million bulbs will bloom this spring, with 800 varieties of tulip. Besides the 32 hectares of flowers, you can enjoy spectacular flower shows, inspirational gardens, dazzling art and wonderful events.

Best time to visit: Spring. Open from March 21-May 19 (keukenhof.nl/en)

2. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey: The fully restored Temperate House was reopened last year, revealing 10,000 breathtaking plants, making this magnificent structure the true jewel in Kew's crown – an architectural wonder and horticulturists' haven. In May Kew opens its new 10,000 square metre Children's Garden.

Best time to visit: Any time – if it rains you can shelter in the glasshouses. (kew.org)

3. Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, South Africa: Anyone lucky enough to get to Cape Town shouldn't miss a trip to these stunning botanical gardens on the lower eastern slopes of Table Mountain. The 36-hectare nature reserve supports fynbos (shrub and heathland), forest and a variety of animals. It was the first national garden in the world devoted to a country's indigenous plants and homes many collections, including cycads, proteas, ericas, pelargoniums and succulents.

Best time to visit: January (summer), when the agapanthus are in bloom, May to October when the Protea Garden is in flower, or September and October when wild flowers bring a riot of colour. (sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch)

4. Montreal Botanical Garden, Canada: Spanning 185 acres at the heart of Quebec's largest city, this impressive garden boasts 22,000 plant species and cultivars, 30 outdoor gardens and 10 exhibition greenhouses. Themed gardens include the Alpine Garden, Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, Flowery Brook and First Nations Garden.

Best time to visit: Late spring and early summer. (m.espacepourlavie.ca/en/botanical-garden)

5. Quinta da Regaleira, Portugal: Among the highlights of Portugal are the gardens of the decorative 20th century mansion of Quinta da Regaleira, a world heritage site near the historic town of Sintra. Within the garden is a great collection of turrets, hidden tunnels, wells, towers, statues and ponds, as well as exotic plants and flowers.

Best time to visit: Spring, early summer and early autumn. (regaleira.pt/en)

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