Gardening has seen major transformations over the centuries. From a symbol of extravagance and opulence, it’s become a hobby anyone can enjoy, even those with limited means. Anywhere you go, there’s a garden of some sort, whether it’s a few rows of custom-made planters on a balcony or acres of clipped magnificence and exotic plantings.
Like most modern-day whimsies, however, the scale of a garden is dictated by how much money you can freely spend on it. And not surprisingly, gardens of the very rich are meant to make your jaws drop. So how do the rich take a breather from the bustling city life? Let’s take a look at some impressive examples:
Garden Squares in London
London is known to be a bustling metropolis, but some people have the privilege to escape from all this and unwind. Tucked away in exclusive neighborhoods are London’s last bastions of peace and quiet. One example is the Carlton House Terrace Gardens in Westminster. To have limitless access to its garden, you must own a flat there; a unit costs about £8.79million.
A flat in Ladbroke Estate in Notting Hill also gives you access to Rosmead Garden, one of the areas lush and popular garden squares. Many of the homes have direct backdoor access to the garden, which explains the high price tags.
Optical Glass House in Hiroshima
The Optical Glass House, featured in BBC Two’s miniseries “The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes,” is what happens when architects are given free rein on their design. From the outside, the house looks like an ordinary office block in Hiroshima Street. But inside, it’s a breathtaking glass castle with towering maple trees that stretch their branches into the sky.
But what really makes the house unique is that, despite being a calm sanctuary, it does not completely shut the city out. The veil of glass bricks gives a subtle view of cars and people passing by without being disturbed by the noise. There are three private courtyards inside the home, each one bathed with natural light flowing from an opening in the ceiling. There’s enough privacy and yet it’s part of the place, with the elements like rain, dappled sunlight, and the welcome breeze allowed to enter.
Kensington Roof Gardens
In London, the best gardens are reserved for glamorous occasions. The Kensington Roof Gardens, where hundreds of celebrities and royal guests have come to dine and party, is one such example. This world-class venue is known for its lavish receptions, over 70 mature trees, flamingos, a famous restaurant, and a guest list that includes the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Moss, Madonna, and members of the rock band Queen.
Patrick Blanc’s Indoor Vertical Garden, Paris
France boasts an endless list of magnificent gardens, but Patrick Blanc’s urban tropical oasis is truly extraordinary. After spending years studying plants in tropical rainforests as a botanist for the French National Centre for Scientific Research, he had the great idea of using all his learnings to create thriving indoor and outdoor green wall systems. He is now known as a vertical garden master, with his house in Paris as one of the finest examples of his craft. It’s a living indoor jungle in itself, complete with irrigation systems, a stream underneath a glass floor, and a tangle of ferns and exotic plantings that climb from the floor to the ceiling.
Even with a relatively small square in a jam-packed city, some gardens prove that you’re only limited by your imagination.