Picture this: You’re walking through a magical forest. Flowers of every imaginable color twist in intricate and whimsical patterns all around you. To your left you see the giant head of a woman made entirely of flowers, her hair spiraling in intricate weaves of pink. To your right, you see bears, giraffes, elephants, and all forms of creatures dancing before you, each formed perfectly out of shrubs growing from the forest floor. Directly before you, you see a Viking king, ax and all, crafted with a combination of greenery and gorgeous blooms. You may think you’ve just stepped into the pages of a Peter Pan story, but you’ve actually just entered a botanical garden. Both botanical and topiary gardens bring fairytale whimsy to reality and they’re located all around the world.
Atlanta Botanical Garden, United States
The Atlanta Botanical Garden has created insanely surreal sculptures of various figures. From a mossy sculpture of a frog to a horse grazing on the plants to a giant woman with long flowery hair drinking from a fountain…there’s really no limit to the imagination here. This garden expands over thirty acres of land and visitors are able to learn about different plant species in the garden’s library. Aside from these giant sculptures, this space also includes smaller botanical gardens, a children’s garden, potted plants, water fountains, and a garden of edible berries- yum!
Montreal Botanical Garden, Canada
Similar to the Atlanta Gardens, these botanical gardens house various large and imaginative sculptures that will make your green thumb tingle. It’s among one of the largest botanical gardens worldwide, housing 75 acres of land. Thirty of its gardens are themed, among the themes: a Japanese Garden, Chinese Garden, Hacienda, Innovations Garden, and many more. This is an excellent place to visit to tickle both your imagination as well as your desire to expand your mind.
Dubai Miracle Garden, Dubai
One of the most famous botanical gardens on the list is the Dubai Miracle Garden. Believe it or not, the largest flower garden in the world is located in the middle of the Dubai desert. They’ve used their large selection of flowers in imaginative ways, creating themes like The Heart’s Passage, a Teddy Bear, a Giant Tortoise, and many more. Though they have some consistent pieces, their themes and displays are constantly evolving each season so you can visit multiple times and still get a whole new experience.
Municipal Cemetary, Equador
This cemetery houses more than one hundred intricate topiary creations with various cultural themes. According to The Smithsonian, its original creator, Josè Maria Azael Franco, was inspired in his designs by Roman, Incan, Aztec, and Egyptian themes. He also strove to celebrate Ecuadorian flora, fauna, and indigenous cultures.
This garden is crafted to display pathways and beautifully intricate bush patterns. Though the view from the ground is stunning, the real magic is in the aerial view where you can see the weaving patterns from above. According to Garden Destinations, the original creator of the garden, Julien de Cerval, sculpted the bushes in this way in order to resemble the backs of sheep that are grazing.
Levens Hall, England
This is the world’s oldest topiary garden and it’s still laid out in its original design. It houses more than 100 pieces of topiary art and dates all the way back to 1694. The pieces were originally created by Guillaume Beaumont, who was the gardener to King James II. Aside from the topiary pieces, another main attraction to the space is a little more… phantasmal. There’s said to be ghosts on the premises, including one of a tiny black dog who chases visitors up the main staircase.
Green Animals Topiary Garden, United States
Back in the gold old U.S. of A. for this last pick, this Rhode Island garden gets its names for the giant sculptures of animals that are designed from various bushes and shrubbery. The garden houses replicas of elephants, camels, giraffes, unicorns, birds, and so much more. The beginnings of the space came about when Thomas Brayton purchased the land in 1872. Shortly after, he commissioned Joseph Carrerio to design the garden into a work of art. He seems to have succeeded, as the garden now has roughly 80 topiaries in the vast space.