Take a look at the world’s greatest gardens from towering sequoias and mountainous wildflowers to immersive tropical forests and traditional Japanese gardens.

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias – Yosemite Mariposa County, California

Located in the southern portion of Yosemite, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is the largest sequoia grove in Yosemite and is home to over 500 mature giant sequoias. The most famous tree in the grove is the Grizzly Giant, one of the largest trees in the Mariposa Grove and, at an estimated age of 3,000 years, one of the oldest living sequoia. There is a two-mile hiking trail, the Grizzly Giant Loop Trail, that will take visitors to the tree. It is a moderate route that takes hikers past notable trees such as the Bachelor and Three Graces, the 3,000-year-old Grizzly Giant, and California Tunnel Tree. Beyond the Grizzly Giant sit hundreds of lesser-visited sequoias in the upper grove including the Clothespin Tree, the Faithful Couple, and the fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree. Reaching the upper grove is a longer hike with elevation gains, but well worth the exercise. www.yosemite.com  

Yosemite, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

University of California Davis Arboretum and Public Garden – Sacramento, California

Close to the California state capital of Sacramento is the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, one of the Top 10 rated botanical gardens in the U.S. The Arboretum and Public Garden act as an outdoor living museum and laboratory connecting people with the beauty and value of plants. Visitors will not only enjoy the beauty of the gardens – including the California desert collection, the Hummingbird Garden, and Redwood Grove – but they’ll also learn about being environmental leaders, climate change, and the importance of regionally appropriate landscaping. The garden also serves to demonstrate best practices for sustainable horticulture, as UC Davis is the most sustainable university in America and number three in the world. .www.visitsacramento.com

The Gardens at Hearst Castle, San Simeon

Publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst started to build Hearst Castle on his ranchland overlooking San Simeon, SLO CAL in 1919. By 1947, the hilltop complex included a twin-towered main building, three sumptuous guesthouses, and 127 acres of terraced gardens, fountains, and pools. Today visitors can find secret hideaways and stellar views, and a walk through the lavish gardens reveals a myriad of colours and scents with magenta bougainvillea, sweet-smelling hyacinths, and rhododendrons at every turn. There is always something in bloom here—orange California poppies (the state flower), fragrant star jasmine—and plenty of pretty settings to photograph. Docents are often available to answer questions: ask them for some of the insider secrets to this garden, like that shady corner where big-name stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age, frequent guests of Hearst’s, used to steal away for an illicit rendezvous. www.slocal.com

Amir’s Garden in Griffith Park, Los Angeles

Spanning more than 4,300 acres, Griffith Park is one of the largest urban parks in North America and home to some of L.A.’s most popular attractions, including the Los Angeles Zoo and the Greek Theatre. Tucked away on a steep hill in Griffith Park, Amir’s Garden is a labor of love enjoyed by hikers and equestrians alike. The five-acre garden is the legacy of Amir Dialameh, who worked on the shaded grove for 32 years. After a major brush fire scorched the area in 1971 Amir planted pine and jacaranda trees for shade, along with rose bushes, geraniums, oleander, and yucca, transferring the barren hillside into a beautiful oasis. Amir also built stairs to the picnic area and added colourful wooden benches. Today this gift to Los Angeles is maintained by volunteers and volunteer groups, with assistance from the City of L.A. Park Rangers and park maintenance workers www.visitcalifornia.com

Parker Lake – Mammoth Lakes, California

Mammoth Lakes is home to incredible mountains, expansive valleys, and crystal clear mountain lakes – leaving visitors awe-struck with parks and viewpoints. Parker Lake is a fascinating, wildflower-trimmed trail, tucked in a small canyon overshadowed by the 12,000 ft. craggy peaks of the Sierra Crest. The Parker Lake trail will treat visitors to views of the lunar-like landscape of Mono Lake and nearby Mono Craters, topped off by a colourful array of flowers (especially in late June/early July) before transitioning into a forest of enormous Jeffrey pines and quaking aspens. www.visitmammoth.com

Sunnylands Centre and Gardens – Greater Palm Springs, California

A 17,000-square-foot building designed by Frederick Fisher & Partners, Sunnylands sits on a 15-acre historic estate surrounded by a nine-acre garden. The garden features more than 53,000 individual arid landscape plants and 1.25 miles of walking paths. Several educational programmes invite visitors to explore the history of Sunnylands, its architecture, art collections, cultural significance, and sustainable practices. Visitgreaterpalmsprings.com

Balboa Park Gardens – San Diego, California

San Diego’s mild climate and ample sunshine make for very happy plants and Balboa Park in downtown hosts more than a dozen different gardens. The Lily Pond and Lagoon, and adjacent Botanical Building, one of the biggest lath buildings in the world, is home to thousands of ferns, orchids, and bromeliads. The Japanese Friendship Garden is a blissful retreat, with koi ponds, water features, and sand- and stone- artworks. The Spanish-style Alcazar Garden brims with fountains, colourful tiles, and 7,000 annuals. But nothing smells as sweet as the three-acre Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden, a thorny collection of 1,600 roses. All gardens are free to explore; except the Japanese Friendship Garden. Sandiego.org

Phipps Botanical Gardens – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Opened in 1893, this 15-acre oasis includes a historic 14-room glasshouse and 23 individual gardens each showcasing a unique variety of plants from orchid and bonsai collections to an immersive tropical forest. The conservatory is one of the greenest buildings on earth and LEED-certified. In addition to flowers, it is also home to a unique art collection of Grecian urns, Japanese lanterns, glass chandeliers, and sculptures. Located in Schenley Park, Phipps stands proud in the vibrant Oakland neighborhood, which is also home to prestigious universities and museums. visitpittsburgh.com

Naples Botanical Gardens – Florida’s Paradise Coast, Florida

Located on the southwest tip of Florida and looking out onto the Gulf of Mexico, Florida’s Paradise Coast really is its namesake. In the affluent area of Naples, visitors will find the Naples Botanical Garden combining cultivated tropical gardens with beautifully restored natural habitats. The Garden connects people and plants through display, education, conservation, and science and aims to be a community-gathering place as well as an exceptional venue for exploring the natural world. The garden holds annual special events, traveling exhibitions, and performances. paradisecoast.com


Dyffryn Gardens – Vale of Glamorgan, Wales

A collection of botanical gardens located near the villages of Dyffryn and St. In the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, the Dyffryn Gardens were selected by the British Tourist Authority as one of the Top 100 gardens in the UK and are in the care of the National Trust. A peaceful oasis on the outskirts of Cardiff , Dyffryn Gardens covers more than 55 acres. The Edwardian gardens are undergoing an ambitious garden revival project to restore them to their original splendour. Discover intimate garden rooms including the Pompeiian garden, Paved Court, Reflecting Pool, and Mediterranean garden. The enormous great lawn is bordered by seasonal bedding and a croquet lawn. There is also a large glasshouse, statuary collection, and arboretum featuring trees from all over the world as well as the Log Stack play area which is great for kids and adults alike. visitthevale.com

Ljubljana Botanical Garden – Slovenia

Established in 1810, the Ljubljana Botanical Garden is Slovenia’s oldest cultural, scientific, and educational institution operating uninterruptedly since its foundation. The Garden contains more than 4,500 different species and subspecies. One-third of them are endemic to Slovenia, while the rest originate from other parts of Europe and other continents. The Garden, collaborating with more than 270 botanical gardens worldwide, is involved in scientific research and educational activities. It plays an important role in the growth and protection of Slovenia’s endemic, endangered, vulnerable, and rare species. The Ljubljana Botanic Garden also houses a large tropical glasshouse offering visitors an opportunity to view plants typical of tropical forests. The glasshouse, built on the Garden’s 200th anniversary, exhibits over 380 plant species native to tropical parts of the world. slovenia.info/en

The Botanic Garden – Valencia , Spain

Situated near the Torres de Quart in downtown Valencia, the Botanic Garden is one of the most important biological green areas in the city. Part of the University of Valencia, it contains a large range of rare and endangered species of Mediterranean flora. Due to its relaxing and welcoming environment, and its educational purpose, it’s a stop on the city itinerary with children. The garden also holds different cultural events and is open daily throughout the year. visitvalencia.com/en 


Uminonakamichi Seaside Park – Kyushu

Uminonakamichi Seaside Park is an extensive leisure park perfect for exploring seasonal flowers. Many events are held there in each season; Flower Picnic in spring, Rose Festival in early summer and autumn, and Cosmos Festival in autumn. It is especially interesting to visit the Sunshine Pool in summer which is the largest resort pool complex in western Japan. The park is located in the sand-like topography “Uminonakamichi” surrounded by Hakata Bay and the Genkai Sea.  In addition to seasonal flowers throughout the year, visitors can enjoy various leisure activities in the urban area such as the “Animal Forest” where they can meet squirrels, monkeys, and capybaras. https://www.visit-kyushu.com/en/

Suizenji Jojuen Garden – Kyushu

Built-in 1632 by Lord Hosokawa, Suizenji Jojuen is a traditional Japanese garden located in Kumamoto City. Notable features within the garden grounds include a traditional Japanese teahouse, where visitors can enjoy a cup of tea, a natural pond, and a miniature recreation of the Tokaido road, a well-traveled route in the Edo Period connecting Tokyo and Kyoto. In addition, there is a small recreation of Mount Fuji. https://www.visit-kyushu.com/en/

Hachinohe Park – Hachinohe City

Hachinohe Park is the biggest park in Hachinohe city. It has 37 hectares of land and is divided into nine zones. The zones provide plenty of attractions for all ages. In the botanical garden and greenery zone, visitors can see all sorts of different plants. In the amusement zone, there is a theme park with a mini-roller coaster and a Ferris Wheel. The park is also one of the most popular spots for cherry blossom viewing from the end of April until the beginning of May. It has around 2,000 cherry blossom trees. https://visithachinohe.com/en/

Utatsuyama Park – Kanazawa

Situated near the mountain of the same name, Utatsuyama Park is located northeast of the Asanogawa River. The summit of the mountain (with an altitude of 141m) also serves as an observatory, where visitors can overlook the Kahoku Lagoon and the Sea of Japan as well as the central part of the city. Mid-June to mid-July is the best season to see the Japanese irises and hydrangeas in the Iris Garden halfway up the mountain. https://visitkanazawa.jp/

The Islands of Tahiti

The Vaipahi Gardens

Located along Tahiti’s south coast in the district of Mataiea 49 kilometers (30 miles) from Papeete, the Vaipahi gardens are rich in cultural heritage and abundant in natural beauty. Restored in August 2007, the gardens include archaeological relics and legendary traditions with over 75 different species of vegetation, all kept fresh by water from Tahiti’s only freshwater lake – Lake Vaihiria. There are three walks available around the gardens, each lasting around 30 minutes. One of the most popular walks takes visitors along marked paths next to the river; passing by archeological sites steeped in history, as well as shaded areas created by a pine tree forest – a rather surprising sight on The Island of Tahiti. www.tahititourisme.uk/en-gb/