Victorian Garden Travel Guide

Victorian Garden Travel Guide

December 30, 2010

Belfast Botanic Gardens Belfast, Ireland; The Palm House, a dramatically curvilinear greenhouse with a distinctive dome, predates the Palm House at London's Kew. The Tropical Ravine, with such plants as cycads, palms, mosses, and orchids, was first planted in 1889 and contains some of the oldest seed plants around today.

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum Bristol, Rhode Island; If you enjoy Victorian themes but appreciate a less formal garden, this John DeWolf—designed landscape is for you. It incorporates a rock garden, rose garden, and Great Lawn, along with one of the largest Giant Sequoias east of the Rockies.

Conservatory of Flowers Golden Gate Park, San Francisco; An array of Victorian-era displays—including an original aquatic pond room housing a Victoria amazonica water lily and an arbor complete with furniture and potted plants—will keep you amused at the oldest wood-and-glass greenhouse in North America.

Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden Galway, Ireland; Built by Mitchell and Margaret Henry between 1867 and 1871, the six-acre Victorian Walled Garden was one of the last such gardens created in Ireland during the Victorian era. Over the years, it fell into disrepair, until Irish Benedictine nuns restored it and reopened it in 2000. Only plants that grew in Victorian times are found in the garden today.

Missouri Botanical Garden St. Louis; Philanthropist Henry Shaw founded the Missouri Botanical Garden (now the oldest botanical garden in continuous operation in the U.S.) in 1859 as his country house and a place to study and display collections of rare plants. Among its 79 acres is a Victorian “district” with a parterre and pincushion garden. It also has a rose garden arbor in the shape of a pinwheel and a traditional boxwood garden.

New York Botanical Garden Bronx, New York; Any true plant lover will want to experience the comprehensive collection housed here. Founded in 1891 for research, education, and public enjoyment, the garden has a Victorian-style glasshouse, which dates to 1902. Both inside and out, you can find elements of Victorian garden design throughout the collections.

Point Ellice House and Gardens 2616 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; In addition to the breathtaking gardens that date to 1889, the Sequoia planted in 1877, and the heritage roses and hollyhocks, there's a fascinating collection of archival photographs, 19th-century seed catalogues, and Victorian gardening tools.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew London, England; A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kew comprises 300 acres and 39 iconic buildings, and it houses the world's most diverse botanical collections. Amid the myriad examples of Victoriana is a permanent collection of paintings by the 19th-century plant collector and prolific artist Marianne North.

Tatton Park Knutsford, Cheshire, England; Fern aficionados will marvel at the New Zealand and Australian ferns, among others, housed in the park's fernery, which dates to the 1850s.