The most extravagant gardens on the planet

The most extravagant gardens on the planet Famous Roman, Cicero, once said: “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” But, although it can be fulfilling to browse the bookshelves, it doesn’t quite compare to the natural beauty of a garden. The average UK garden is 50ft. long and has 10 different kinds of flowers, a barbecue and a water feature — according to a report by Foxtons, an estate agent. But what about the most luxurious, expensive and extravagant gardens across the planet?

Here, Arbordeck, a supplier of plastic decking, has provided a list of beautiful – and unusual - gardens from around the world.

France: The Gardens of the Palace of Versailles


Wealth and beauty were two things significantly linked to the reign of King Louis XIV. Designed and renovated by André Le Nôtre in 1661, the monarch’s gardens surrounding the Palace of Versailles in France today offer some of the most striking landscapes in the world.

It took many years for this project to be completed. Across four decades, Le Nôtre worked with artists and architects to design the gardens — with each project being overseen by the monarch. The renovation consisted of creating canals, shifting soil and transporting trees from various regions in the country at a time when the logistics and construction industries were obviously nowhere near as advanced as today.

Nowadays, you can enjoy the gardens’ orangery and go for a stroll passed the towering marble sculptures, peaceful waterfalls and beautiful parterres.

England: Kew Gardens


A third of Brits admit that they are competitive in the garden, according to the earlier-mentioned Foxtons survey. This suggests that we have an affinity for aesthetically pleasing outdoor spaces, rather than just area to grow your own veg or do DIY.

Kew Gardens is very popular with both the British public and international tourists. According to the most recent report, Kew Gardens attracted 20% more visitors than the previous year, implying that our love of attractive gardens is growing. The iconic glasshouse is surrounded by a collection of rare plants and immaculately kept lawns. In the evening, the area is illuminated spectacularly and during the day, you can wander around a maze of water features, buildings — such as the 18th-century pagoda — and wildlife — from peacocks and robins, to ducks and Chinese water dragons. Planning a visit? Make time for The Hive — a 17-metre, multi-sensory construction that changes depending on bee activity.

The USA: Bookworm Garden

Bookworm Gardens in Wisconsin has been designed around an array of childhood stories and provides a quirky, botanic environment. With an aim to fuse a love of the outdoors with an affinity for books, Bookworm Gardens opened in 2010 as a non-profit organisation and now features fun buildings and characters from books such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit. With turkeys, owls, chipmunks and butterflies calling Bookworm Gardens home, it’s no surprise that the venue is a top place for families and schools.



The Netherlands: Keukenhof Gardens

Featuring seven million flowers, Keukenhof Gardens covers 32-hectares. There are g 800 types of tulip in various shades and shapes and show and, it’s perhaps because Brits spend around £1.5 billion on garden plants every year, according to the Horticultural Trades Association, that this destination is popular.

If you intend to visit the gardens, it’s important to check if it’s open before you make the trip as it’s only open for two months of the year. Here, you’re treated to a blend of English and French horticultural designs filled with old beech trees and pretty ponds, and there’s also a petting zoo home to miniature pigs, giant rabbits and alpacas!

Singapore: Gardens by the Bay

Covering 250 acres, Gardens by the Bay is home to a trio of waterfront areas that contain over a million plants. Into quirky venues and intrigued by what the years to come may look like? This futuristic-looking garden gives the impression of a grown-over city centuries from now, with huge towers, glassed domes, immaculate walkways, and immense water features surrounded by exotic trees and vivid plants. Clearly, it’s a popular destination — Gardens by the Bay has attracted more than 40 million people to date and is even one of the top-20 checked-in places on Earth by Facebook users.

Visit Flower Dome — officially the world’s biggest glass greenhouse — or venture to Supertree Grove, and it’s network of illuminated, tree-shaped vertical gardens. At Gardens by the Bay, you can explore rare flowers and endangered plants. Plus, you can experience memorable views from the 22-metre high aerial walkway.


Scotland: Garden of Cosmic Speculation

If you’re a science geek or puzzle fan, you will love this Dumfries landmark. This 30-acre garden was made by architect, Charles Jencks, and offers visitors the chance to explore ideas, theories and global influences — from black holes to oriental landscaping! There are terraces, sculptures, lakes, bridges, and a labyrinth of witty architectural works at Garden of Cosmic Speculation. Designed to detail the story of the universe and complexities of space and time, you can spend hours working out what Jencks meant by checked terraces, snail-formed mounds and zigzagging staircases.

Sources:

https://hta.org.uk/learn-develop/market-information/garden-industry-statistics.html
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3692942/british-garden-research-gnome-bbq-sheds-summer/
https://www.kew.org/sites/default/files/RBG%20Kew%2016-17%20Annual%20Report%20and%20Accounts.pdf
https://www.kew.org/kew-gardens/attractions/the-hive
http://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/estate/gardens
http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en/attractions/ocbc-skyway.html
https://keukenhof.nl/en/#discover-the-park
https://www.travelwisconsin.com/arts-and-culture/bookworm-gardens-208647
http://www.bookwormgardens.org/
http://scotlandsgardens.org/portrack-the-garden-of-cosmic-speculation/ https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/garden-of-cosmic-speculation

Creating the prefect place to relax

We all need a place that we can retreat to, to relax and disconnect and what better place than our gardens. Therefore today we want to share our top tips on how to create a super relaxing and indulgent garden where you can while away the hours enjoying some good, old fashioned, quality ‘you’ time.
 
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Privacy
 
First of all no garden is going to feel particularly relaxing if you feel that you are being overlooked by all and sundry. Therefore a really good place to start when creating a relaxing and peaceful garden is to create some privacy for yourself. This may come in the form of building up some high fencing or it may just be fitting in an awning that can be pulled out over your decking to cover you from any nosey neighbours from above.
 
Therefore look at the areas in your garden that have the least privacy and see how you can overcome that problem. Perhaps you can build in some hedges and trees that will create a secret relaxation corner to your garden. Or perhaps it is a case of traffic noise that you can buffer out with thick fencing. Whatever the needs of your garden, privacy is a really important in order to enjoy your garden as a relaxing and personal space.
 
Look to the Floor
 
Lets face it no garden is going to look particularly cosy with old, hard concrete floors. Therefore a really effective way to make your garden look much more welcoming and indulgent is to whip your floor up into space. Pulling up old concrete floors and replacing them with grass turf is a simple way of instantly transforming your garden into a natural and fresh space. Decking is also a great way of making your garden look really attractive, organised and clean so look into the different flooring options that could transform your garden into a really inviting and cosy outdoor space.
 
Ramp it up a Notch
 
If you really want to take your garden up a gear and create an outdoor space that will really make your neighbours jealous why not thinking about investing in a hot tub? Hot tubs offer the ultimate garden relaxation space so they are well worth the investment. There are a wide range of hot tubs on the market from the top of the range models all the way through to much more affordable inflatable hot tubs, so there really is a model for every budget. If you are unsure about the best type of model for you look for a hot tub specialist and read their review here to find out about what is available. Use online research as a way to decipher which model, size and style would best work in the space that you have available.
 
Furniture
 
A garden is not going to welcome you outside to relax, after a long hard day at work, unless you have the right furniture to beckon you outside to take the weight off. Therefore if you don’t already have comfortable outdoor furniture you will want to be looking at the range of soft, comfortable and of course, hard wearing outdoor furniture that will really bring your outdoor oasis to life.
 
 


Looking after your orchds


It is often said that more orchids fail as a result of getting the watering regime wrong than any other reason. When it comes to watering epiphytes there are two elements to consider when considering your watering regime, these are When and How. The vast majority of orchids grown by hobby growers are naturally found on trees above the ground where the light is more plentiful. Most orchids that are not terrestrial need their roots exposed to light, air and water.

When to water?
Orchids should be watered as they start to dry out. Dont allow them to completely dry out, but just before. This rule generally works for most orchids with variations depending on whether the orchid is able to store its own water. Orchids such as cattleyas and oncidiums should be allowed to dry completely between waterings while orchids such as phalaenopsis and paphiopedilums that have no water storage organs should be watered before they dry out.

There's is no strict rule on how to water, that can apply for every grower. This is because your local growing environment will not be the same as anyone else's. Key climatic differences such as temperature, humidity, air movement, the potting mix (type and age), and light levels all influence the watering requirements of individual plants.

When deciding whether to water, there are several identifying clues to determine when a potted orchid is almost dry:

  • the surface of the potting mix will appear dry when the potting mix is moss 
  • dry pots will feel lighter when lifted.
  • clay pots feel dry;
  • If you insert a pencil or wooden skewer into the potting mix when removed it will come out almost dry.

Generally it is best to water your plant in the morning to give the moisture on the leaves time to dry off during the day, this will reduce the risk of fungal damage. If any water remains in the center of the plant then use some kitchen towel to dry it off.

Many people prefer to use natural water rather than tap water to avoid any of the added chemicals or to have water with a different PH. If you use water treatment such as that provided by Lagan Water then this can help increase the range of plants you are able to cater for.

During the summer months when temperatures are higher then you will need to water more frequently, and conversely in the winter months water less frequently. Keep in mind that temperatures close to the window on a windowsill will be colder or hotter than your general house temperature. Keeping your plant away from radiators in winter will help minimise premature drying.

When orchids are watered, they should be watered copiously, infrequent and plenty is better than little and often. Place your plant into the sink and let the water run freely from the drainage holes for about a minute. Do not use salt-softened or distilled water. Allow the plant to drain completely. This is an opportunity to examine how the potting mix behaves. If you cannot pour water rapidly through the pot, the potting mix is too dense and you run the risk of starving the roots for air. If you see finely divided material that looks like coffee grounds in the water coming from the drainage holes, your potting mix is breaking down and it's time to repot into fresh mix.

Garden Decking


When the winter abates and the warmer months start to draw round, attention often turns from interior design to the garden and the curb appeal of a home. It’s easy to focus on the interior of your house when the weather is cold, and autumn and winter tend to be the time we update the living room and the kitchen. Interiors are fun to organise and once you sort a lick of paint or flooring only require cleaning maintenance instead of what a garden would require.

The garden can often – and unfortunately – be somewhere that’s neglected. The weather gets wetter or colder and we retreat indoors, ignoring that maintenance is still required no matter what the weather is. Where possible, try not to neglect the garden. The amount of work it takes to ensure a garden stays looking beautiful all year round means that you can often spend your weekends pruning bushes, planting flowers and generally looking after the area. No one likes to spend their weekends doing chores and that’s where low maintenance gardens can be a total blessing!
If you enjoy being outdoors, whether to eat or simply just enjoy the fresh air, then you should look at installing decking. With the wealth of designs and materials out there made to suit your budget, you can have your pick with garden decking. Choose a company to install the decking for your, or get some quality materials from George Hill Timber and follow online tutorials to build your decking yourself. It’s one thing to maintain the grass and flowers of the garden, but you can make it a space that requires lower maintenance by having decking. It’s also easier to brush leaves and debris off decking than it is to maintain gravel and other stone layouts.
A deck is a way to add beauty and aesthetics to your garden and is an attractive look for any garden, whether a flat one or multi-level. You can also install a deck if you’d prefer something that looks classier than simple paving slabs. Decking transforms your garden and makes it a place you can hang out all year round. There are a lot of considerations that you need to think about before you invest in decking, including your decking options. Ask yourself why you want a deck and what it will be used for. You can then plan accordingly as to what you want out of the space you have created. Al fresco dining, for example, will mean creating a space that has easy access to the kitchen to pass food in and out of. Dining outside is always amazing but still be cautious of where you place any barbecues or brick grills like these so that you don’t end up with smoke blowing into the house.
You could also choose to use your decking for simple relaxation purposes. If that’s the case, perhaps a deck built toward the back of the garden would be a better idea, as you may find that’s your garden’s sun trap. Children should be considered, because you need the deck to have non-slip materials or mats like these on it and if your deck is elevated, railings and coverings will always be advised. Think about investing in a parasol or gazebo for all weathers so no matter what you can enjoy your deck. A gazebo is a great thing to have in the summer so children can play safely, and you can add mosquito netting as well to protect everyone from bug invasions in the summer months.

Garden decking isn’t made in the same way it used to be thirty years ago, and there is so much advice online about materials you should use. Your deck can add to the value of your home and while you may not be interested in selling up and moving on right now, you have a little investment that has a good return on it for years to come. Hiring professional landscapers to come and give some advice on the design of your decking is never a waste of money, especially if gardening doesn’t come naturally to you.

Always be creative with your ideas for your decking. Be aware of the dangers of decking and installing it the wrong way and ensure you do some thorough research about it. Your garden is your own personal space to enjoy the outdoors and with a beautiful deck in the garden, you get the chance to do that all year round.
 

Giving your garden a makeover

Has, in recent seasons, your garden been looking a bit lacklustre? If you garden didn't even look good in its heyday last summer, then perhaps it’s time to start taking action now in order to spruce it up before this coming summer arrives.
 
You could brighten the area up with a whole host of lights — they add a real character to the environment and even mean you can spend nights outside during the summer without having to bring a torch out with you. Decking lights are a great feature for any of those of you whose gardens are blessed with a decking area, but there are other areas in your garden where you can utilise LED lighting to spruce it up. LED plinth light can be mounted and sit on top of posts, such as veranda posts and solar-powered lighting can be stuck into the soil in various points and positions. You could, if you have any sort of path running through the garden, place lights on either side of it in order to spruce up the path.Solar_garden_light.jpg
 
And why not make a splash when sprucing up the area? You could introduce a bird bath to your garden in order to give your garden a different kind of edge, whilst in turn attracting all sorts of different types of birds to your area who will bring with them an instant and healthy dose of ‘spruce’. Or, if you’d prefer, you can go the whole hog and opt for a fancier water feature. Features, fountains, ponds and pools are some of the best ways to give your garden a new lease of life because, when first introduced, they offer something completely different to your area. Make sure to have a look at some of these stunning water features.

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But it doesn’t all have to be necessarily expensive: you don’t need fancy and costly tools and areas to help spruce your garden up.You can add colour to your garden, and not just by way of the flowers you plant or grow there. A good idea is to buy cheap and colourful plant pots, or even paint old ones to add even more vibrancy to your outdoor haven. Whether you go for summer pastel colours, or bold bright ones, your garden will be brought to life instantly. However, you should always continue to take care of the basics of your garden, which is looking after the nature that grows there — because if done right, they are a way of really sprucing up the environment themselves. You should begin to tend to your lawn as soon as the weather allows you to. Feed your lawn on a regular basis with granular feed, and continuing to do so throughout the summer months, will stop your grass from ever looking as it is suffering from a serious case of wear and tear. This makes the garden look greener and far more inviting.pexels-photo-212324.jpeg
Green grass
So, there you have it. A few things you can do and introduce to your garden to give it an injection of life and really spruce it up!

Orchid Propagation

Propagation from seed requires specialist laboratory equipment, but some orchids can be successfully propagated at home by other means:

From plantlets: These appear from the growing points of stems of some Dendrobium, Epidendrum and Phalaenopsis species. Detach the plantlets when they have developed several good roots, and pot them up in orchid compost. Water them sparingly at first, and mist daily.

From stem cuttings: These can be taken from many Dendrobium orchids. Cut off a stem up to 30cm (1ft) long and cut it up into 7-10cm (3-4in) sections, with at least one dormant bud on each section. Place the cuttings in a tray of damp sphagnum moss, and keep them humid and shaded. Detach and pot up the plantlets that form from the buds.

By division: This method can be used to propagate orchids such as Cattleya, Cymbidium and Odontoglossum in spring, just after flowering. Only divide plants that are overcrowded in the pot. Cut through the rhizomes that join the pseudobulbs, making sure that each division has at least three healthy pseudobulbs. Trim off any dead roots and remove any brown and shrivelled pseudobulbs before re-potting the divisions individually.

Garden Projects



Summer is still at least half a year away yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some work done in your garden! In fact, some renovation of the outdoors of your property right now could be started around now and be finished for summer so you can enjoy them properly in the sunshine.


You shouldn’t underestimate the ability of your garden to adjust to the colder climate. A lot of people seem to think that winter is a time in which nothing is worth doing to your garden - that you’ll just end up wasting your time because everything out there is dead and infertile.


But this simply doesn’t apply to every sort of garden work. Indeed, crafting a beautiful garden for winter is something a lot of gardeners are keen on. But what about landscaping? A lot of people would dismiss any full-on renovations for this time of year. Besides, how would they possibly be done in time?


Not all renovation projects take nearly a year or more to complete. Here are a few ideas you get started on now and finish in time for the sunny months.




Secluded resting place


Feels strange the type the phrase “resting place” when talking about your garden, right? I’m not referring to building yourself a grave in your backyard! I’m referring to the development of a small and simple getaway tucked somewhere near the back of your garden. Bring in a few hedges and flowers towards the back of your garden and get yourself a luxurious outdoor chair. Position everything so where you’re sitting is out of the house and vice versa. In other words, make this seating area secluded by vegetation. You’ll be surprised at the feeling of escapism this can bring!


Decking


This is one of the most popular home renovations of all time, and for good reason, too. It’s practical, fun, luxurious, and adds great value to a property. But can decking really be completed within six months? If you get the planning done properly and work with good contractors, then you can get it done in a matter of weeks without having to skimp on quality. In these darker, wintry months, you may want to ensure that there’s decent protection so the wood doesn’t get too wet while you’re working on it. As long as you have that, there’s no reason why you can’t start a decking project in winter and get it finished by summer.




Courtyard


Another project you may think takes much longer than it actually does. Even if you throw in some new steps leading up to your back door, the project can be completed in a matter of weeks. Of course, a “garden courtyard” is actually a much more vague term that you may realize. There are so many varieties out there, so it’s possible that the image you have in your head is a very complex project that could indeed take a little too long for it to be ready in time for summer. Your best best is to check out a bunch of courtyard ideas to see what would work best for your garden.