Just because we’re spending more time at home, it doesn’t mean our minds aren’t allowed to wander! The team has been searching for ways to stay inspired, and almost unanimously, we have all turned to the hope of future travel. While the health crisis looms heavy, the world remains vast and beautiful, ready for our next adventure…someday.

For us, we are hopeful that our next trips include a little history and beautiful, verdant landscapes we can share with a loved one. No social distancing necessary. To prepare for our dreams fulfilled, we’re sharing our top 7 romantic garden destinations. Now is the perfect time for a little virtual tourism!

Scroll to the bottom for our favorite virtual garden tours.

1. The Garden of Ninfa

Regarded by the New York Times as “the most beautiful garden in the world,” the Garden of Ninfa is just an hour’s drive from Rome. While close in proximity, the Garden’s environment couldn’t be farther from Rome’s famously crowded boulevards. Secluded and isolated by the surrounding mountains, this natural monument is steeped in mythical romance.

Its name is believed to be taken from a temple dedicated to nymphs, from which sprouted the town’s namesake. These mythical creatures were often beautiful female representatives of natural elements, like water, mountains, and forests. Many met tragic ends, like Echo after her unrequited encounter with Narcissus.

Today, the garden can only be seen with the help of a guide to protect its beauty and wildlife. Ninfa’s overgrown medieval ruins sprout a variety of native flowers, ancient oak trees, and poplars. But perhaps their most famous residents are their roses, which bloom passionately every May.

 

The Garden of Ninfa in full bloom, located in Ninfa, Italy

The Garden of Ninfa

The palacial grounds of the Biltmore Estate, located in Asheville, NC

The Biltmore Estate

2. The Biltmore Estate

North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains are home to some beautiful landscapes. We make it to North Carolina every year for High Point Market, but never make it far enough west to truly enjoy the forested mountain range. Next time we travel to the Tar Heel State, we hope to visit the Biltmore.

Built by George Vanderbilt, the grandson of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, the Biltmore Estate is a 250-room French chateau near located in Asheville. The graciously appointed home has a storied history supporting one of America’s most well-known and influential families.

The gardens are home to a variety of stunning blooms, including roses, azaleas, and mountain laurel. All bursting vibrantly against the background of mountains.

3. Keukenhof

This magical garden is what tulip dreams are made of. Founded in the 15th Century, the Keukenhof is located in Lisse, Holland. It began as a smaller garden for the royal kitchen at Teylingen Castle and over the centuries grew to take up nearly 500 acres of land.

In the mid-1800s, famous landscape architects Jan David Zocher and his son Louis Paul Zocher, redesigned the gardens in a traditional English style. The gardens current landscape architect team creates unique designs every season to complement the blooms. Paying special consideration to color, height, and shape, the garden is renewed each year for a different experience each time.

 

Keukenhof

 

The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew 

4. The Royal Botanical Gardens

The Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew have one of the best virtual garden experiences. You can view each of their landscapes from the comfort of home! And each one is worth exploring. The gardens feature an urban rainforest, an American prairie, and a tropical nursery, as well as native wildlife to the UK.

The gardens are home to nearly 15,000 trees in their world-famous arboretum. And they also have a lush bamboo garden – like you’re being transported to Japan in the middle of London. This is one of the gardens we are really looking forward to when we’re able to travel once again. For the kiddos, they will especially love the children’s garden, an interactive, learning space. For now, the whole family can tune in remotely to how the gardens stay lush: bees!

5. The Gardens at the Palace of Versailles

We’re traveling to the well-manicured grounds of the famous Palace of Versailles. André Le Nôtre, the principal gardener for King Louis XIV of France, created an impressive landscape in the formal French style, which is famed for its dominant perspective that stretches to a distant horizon line.

The Palace is one of the most visited places in France. The gardens at Versailles host thousands of tourists each year and greet them with mythically influenced design. From the Metamporhoses of Ovid to the recognizeable Neptune fountain, there is romance at every turn. Perhaps most romantic of all is the Orangerie. Designed for the garden’s sub-tropical residents, the Orangerie was built for Louis XIV, who adored orange trees and couldn’t be without them on his grounds.

 

The Gardens at the Palace of Versailles, designed by Andre Le Notre

The Gardens at the Palace of Versailles

The Shenyuan Garden in China, known for its tragic love story

The Shenyuan Garden

 

6. The Shenyuan Garden

Like many Chinese gardens, the focus of Shenyuan Garden is its architecture and how it subtly pierces the leafy trees. However, this garden is known not merely for its design, but for its love story. Two poets, Lu You and Tang Wen, fell in love in the early 12th Century and married. They were rarely apart and cared for each other deeply. But after 3 childless years, were forced by their parents to separate. Despite marrying other people, they never forgot each other. Nine years after their divorce, they met again in the Shenyuan Garden. The meeting was formal and unfortunately, their last. But from there, some beauty for visitors: two poems written on the garden wall, expressing their unwavering affections and unhappiness of being apart.

7. Jardim Botanico

The Botanical Gardens of Rio de Janeiro were founded in the early 19th Century by the King of Portugal. The garden was meant to cultivate spices from the Indies, but now features all sorts of plants, including carniverous flora, orchids, bromeliads, and cacti.

The gardens are also located in one of Rio’s loveliest neighborhoods, also called the Jardim Botanico. If we’re ever there for Carnival, this is where you will find us!

The Jardim Botanico, located in Rio de Janiero in Brazil

Jardim Botanico

 

Our focus may be homes, but that doesn’t mean we forget about the power of a stunning exterior landscape. When Laura remodeled her home on North Blvd, one of her final touches included a traditional English garden. And with Gina on board, we’ve extended our service offerings to include landscape consultation. Taking a virtual tour of these exotic grounds and learning their history transports us. And most importantly, reminds us that the world awaits for future travels!

Take your virtual tours here:

The Biltmore Estate

Keukenhof

The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew