10 Surreal Botanical Spaces From Around the World


Now that spring has officially sprung, we’ve got some serious flower fever over here at Flavorpill. Recently, we showed you a few of the best secret gardens in the US, all worthy of fairies and frolicking, and now we present ten of the most strange, surreal, and spectacular botanical spaces from around the world, from gardens with sleeping moss giants to fields of roaring creatures and spiraling labyrinths to scientific theorems played out in grand scale on the lawns of Scotland. Click through to be transported into a green and glowing Wonderland (or ten), and let us know which of your favorite gardens we’ve missed in the comments.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Mevagissey, UK

These gardens, once destroyed by a hurricane, now are one of the most popular botanical destinations in the UK, and boast the Mud Maid, the land sculpture by Susan Hill seen sleeping here.

Francisco Alvarado Park, Zarcero, Costa Rica

Landscape designer Evangelisto Blanco built these strange arches out of conifer cypress trees in the 1960’s. They lead the way into a garden filled with more of his work with the conifer cypress — a surreal topiary garden filled with creatures and abstractions, including a bullfight scene and a monkey on a motorcycle.

Villa Lante, Bagnaia, Italy

Villa Lante runs on a complex hydraulics system designed by Tommaso Ghinucci that allows for its copious fountains, pools and grottos, and supports its lush greenery and intricate hedge mazes.

Editt Tower, Singapore

Though this tower, sponsored by the National University of Singapore, hasn’t actually been constructed yet, it will be a 26-story functioning high-rise with photovoltaic panels, natural ventilation, and a biogas generation plant. Then there’s the living wall that will cover 50% of the building.

Bosco dei Mostri (Monsters’ Grove), Bomarzo, Italy

The Monsters’ Grove, so named for the many enormous sculptures that litter the garden, is the work of Pier Francesco Orsini, and designed by Pirro Ligorio. The messy, almost random design of the space is thought by some to be a reaction to the perfectly regimented and ordered Renaissance gardens nearby, like the one at Villa Lante, above.

The Gardens of Las Pozas, Xilitla, Mexico

This excerpt from the BBC’s Around the World in 80 Gardens series, with Monty Don, says it all.

The Overhanging Gardens of Marqueyssac, Vézac, France

This French garden, which sits on a cliff overlooking a river, is actually a complex system of labyrinths carved from over 150,000 boxwood trees. From above, the round shapes make it look bulbous and cartoonish, like somewhere Alice would find herself after a long visit with the caterpillar.

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Portrack House, Scotland

Open to the public only one day a year, Charles Jencks’ bizarre math-based garden melds science and nature into a series of representative structures meant to induce reflection on the very nature of the world. The garden was the subject of an orchestral composition written by American composer Michael Gandolfi that was nominated for “Best Contemporary Classical Composition” at the 2009 Grammys, so it seems to have worked.

Keukenhof Gardens, Holland

The heavily manicured tulip fields of the Keukenhof Gardens may seem benign, but we’re getting a pretty intense Wizard of Oz feeling. All those rows of flowers stretching off into the distance and shining Netherlandic faces — something must be going on here.

Trump Tower, New York City

It’s fairly surreal to us that anything green can grow out of the mass of glass, sheet metal and money that is Trump Tower, and yet — 12 immaculately groomed pear trees grow out of planters on the side of the building.