Hawaii Tropical Botanic Garden on the "Big Island of Hawaii" - Papaikou, HI
This lush, stunning garden is on the "Big Island" of Hawaii north of Hilo. The "Hilo" side of the island is very different from the dry side on the other side of Mauna Kea where you'll find Kona with miles of beaches and large hotel complexes. I enjoyed visiting both but my favorite was being able to camp in Hawaii Volcano National Park. I was even there when lava was flowing into the sea - amazing.
Villa Taranto's English style garden on Lake Maggione in northern Italy.
When you visit Lake Maggione you must also visit the other Borromean Islands - Isola Bella with it's ostentatious terraced garden complete with white peacocks and Isole Superiore - the Fisherman's Island that used to be a village but is now filled with restaurants. Take the connecting ferries from Stresa and sail between the islands. A wonderful ride on a sunny day. I took this trip in the rain and it was nice even then.
Shin-en Garden at the Heian Shrine in Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto is filled with gardens. Many are inside temples and there are over 1600 temples in Kyoto. The shrine was actually built in 1895 in conjunction with an Industrial exhibition. and is surrounded by a stroll garden, The garden is noted for its cherry blossoms in the spring and its irises in summer. I was there in the Spring when the cherry blossoms were floating in the air but it's beautiful in any season. It's roofed Bridge of Peace is a landmark. AND there are more amazing gardens to enjoy in Kyoto including the amazing moss garden. Take your time and enjoy them all.
Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago, Illinois
The garden is located on Chicago's North Shore. There are 27 gardens and 4 natural areas on their 385 acres along with 6 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. If you're in Chicago don't forget to check out their wonderful architecture.
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, Oregon
There are more than 200 parks and gardens within the city limits of Portland. You also must visit the International Rose Test Gardens with over 10,000 rose bushes with views of Portland and Mt. Hood. The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is another "must see" especially in the Spring when the azaleas as well as the rhododendrons are blooming.
Trauttmansdorf Castle gardens in Merano, South Tyrol, Italy
If you own a castle with a great view of the Alps, why not have a fabulous garden? A castle in this location was first documented in 1300 and then expanded several times by various owners until it became the property of the Province of Bolzano that renovated the interior and established a museum. Italian gardens have their own unique style and feel and the cafe serves wonderful espresso and pasta!
Kinkaku-ji (Golden Temple) garden in Kyoto, Japan
The original Zen Buddhist temple was built in 1397; the current building is a replica built in 1955 after an arson fire. It is surrounded by a Japanese stroll garden in the style of the Muromachi period, which is considered the classical period of Japanese garden design. that emphasized the integration of the buildings and their setting. When in Kyoto, there's also a Silver Temple with another wonderful garden - be sure to find that one too.