Europe's stunning parks and gardens

Europe's stunning parks and gardens

Europe's green fingers

England as a nation loves gardening. Every summer hundreds of people in London and elsewhere in England and Wales open their own private gardens to the public. These average people also use this opportunity to serve tea and cake and many also charge a small entrance fee. Any profit is donated to a good cause. This idea has spread across Europe.

Europe's stunning parks and gardens

Cranbrook - Sissinghurst Castle

Sissinghurst Castle in Kent has one of England's most famous gardens. From 1930 onwards author Vita Sackville-West with her husband began creating this garden. The garden itself was designed as a series of rooms, combining elegant sensuality and strict shapes. The "White Garden" is the best known. Sackville created it because she wanted to be able to see her flowers even at night.

Europe's stunning parks and gardens

The Gardens at Versailles

Chateau Versailles is one of the biggest palace compounds in Europe. The baroque gardens became the model and inspiration for many European monarchs. The gardener to King Louis XIV, André Le Nôtre, ranks among the most important landscape gardeners of all time. Versailles was his life's work. The strict shapes symbolize the triumph of man over unruly nature - a green monument to power.

Europe's stunning parks and gardens

Château de Villandry in the Loire Valley

One of France's most visited gardens surrounds the renaissance Château de Villandry in the Loire Valley, known as the garden of France. It was created in 1906, as a revival of renaissance gardening using André le Nôtre as a role model was. The gardens perfectly combine flower and kitchen gardens on three levels – turning it into a natural geometric mosaic of colors and shapes.

Europe's stunning parks and gardens

Herrenhausen Gardens in Hanover

The heart of Herrenhausen is the Great Garden. It is the only surviving original baroque garden in Germany. It only survived because the Kings of Hanover never really took an interest in the gardens. From 1714 until 1823 they ruled from England and therefore decided to cut expenditure back home in Germany. So while landscape gardens were created elsewhere, Herrenhausen remained unchanged.

Europe's stunning parks and gardens

Villa d'Este in Rome

Italy was the trend setter in garden design to compliment a rural luxury estate. The gardens at the Villa d'Este were created in the 16th century. Water games were very much a feature of a renaissance garden. One of the main attractions at the Villa d'Este gardens is the walk of the Hundred Fountains. The gardens at Villa d'Este have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001.

Europe's stunning parks and gardens

The palaces and parks of Potsdam

A landscape gardener, who never had his own garden, but yet was one of the most productive gardeners of his time, was Peter Joseph Lenné. He served the Prussian Court Gardens for 50 years, from 1816 until his death in 1866. His style was wide open parks with interesting vistas and sightlines. The park at Sanssouci Palace, which he extended and redesigned, is a World Heritage Site.

Europe's stunning parks and gardens

The Garden Realm of Dessau-Wörlitz

On the banks of the Elbe River, Duke Leopold III of Anhalt-Dessau in the 18th century created a park in the style of an English Garden. What was revolutionary for his time is that he opened it to the public. He integrated natural and artificial waterways, vantage points, islands, vistas, sculptures and architecture. The result was a collective work of art that still fascinates people to this day.

Europe's stunning parks and gardens

Monet's Garden in Giverny

Artists are particularly gifted gardeners. Over 500,000 people travel annually to the Normandy in France to see this garden. The impressionistic painter CVlaude Monet lived and worked at this, his small country house in Giverny. The garden was his passion. He kept buying new plants until Giverny was turned into a jungle of colors. The water lilies became his most famous motif.

Europe's stunning parks and gardens

Urban gardening everywhere

Gardens no longer have to fit into traditional models. They are to be fun. Globally gardening projects are enriching metropolises. For instance there is a gardening project at Berlin's former Tempelhof airport. A colorful place filled with raised-gardening beds, creatively constructed from simple materials. The entire compound is always open to visitors.

Gardening passion in Europe covers it all, from quintessential baroque or renaissance parks to urban gardening. Here a selection of some of our favorite gardens in the summer time.