Travel

Stressed? Look at These Beautiful Gardens

Claire Takacs

When I was little, we lived in England for a few years, and my mom and aunt used to drag all us cousins to tour gardens on the weekends. At the time, I found it SO BORING, but now that I’m a grown-up myself, I can see why they were so moved. Take a look at these photos…

Claire Takacs

Claire Takacs

The photos above are by Claire Takacs. Her Instagram page is beyond inspiring. Doesn’t your heart rate slow immediately?

Éva Németh

Éva Németh

Éva Németh

Éva Németh

Éva Németh

The website of House & Garden UK features gorgeous gardens around the world. (These photos are by Éva Németh.)

Ngoc Minh Ngo

Ngoc Minh Ngo

Ngoc Minh Ngo

Ngoc Minh Ngo

I also love following Ngoc Minh Ngo, and it’s amazing to know that she’s self taught.

Thoughts? Don’t you wish we could beam ourselves to these gardens? What makes you feel calm and centered?

P.S. A San Francisco apartment with a lovely garden.

  1. Very beautiful images, thank you for sharing. In the last few years I’ve become totally obsessed with houseplants. I’m turning my entire home into a beautiful garden of my own. 😊😊

  2. lilbear says...

    Totally addicted gardener (for the last 20 years!) here so definitely in favor of more on people’s gardens. For anyone designing gardens -check out John Brookes’ books. He explains and shows how to lay out spaces in a way that FINALLY clicked for me (reading other stuff I was mostly just confused). And it works!

    • Longdenlife says...

      Yes! John Brookes was a fantastic designer. I have a couple of his design books

  3. Rae says...

    Sigh. I keep coming back to this post to gaze at the photos. I think I am more of a garden person than a house person. We bought our current home based primarily on the land and haven’t once regretted it. I would love to see a regular garden tour feature here!

  4. I love this article! I love gardens! Breathtaking! This is why we should take care of the environment.

  5. Emma says...

    Oh how very beautiful your gardens are, for me there is nothing more peaceful in life then sitting under a tree in a garden filled with zillions of flowers and butterflies all around. Smelling the roses and lilacs while day dreaming ……I so miss my garden!

  6. Anna says...

    Love these. We’re building a house and for the first time will have a real yard.

    My husband is all house focused and I am like, “We can plant a dwarf fruit tree here! Let’s do a vegetable garden over there! Roses! Native grasses! What would the bees like?!”

  7. Tiffani says...

    I love this! Gardens and arboretums are top destinations for me on every vacation and I like to go visit the botanical garden in the big city 2 hours away from where I live in the winter. I live in Iowa and our winters are cold, dry and bleak. It’s an instant mood booster to visit the botanical garden and enjoy some color, warmth and humidity when the weather has been depressing for weeks.

  8. K says...

    breathtaking!

    besides paying bills and buying own toilet paper (ok I still get half of my supply from my dad), my other sign of adulting is the love all the “boring old people” things now

    this also reminds me of Madison Cox’s landscape work that my uncle showed me once

  9. Absolutely stunning. It’s always a good idea to be close to nature as possible;e.

  10. Kayleigh Collins says...

    Trust me when I say you would not want to beam yourself there right now. The weathers been bloody miserable, in mid May!!

    • MB says...

      Ha that’s why the gardens are so verdant – it hasn’t stopped raining for 2 weeks!

  11. Violeta says...

    Dreamy post, thank you Joanna! I am missing the charming and pretty gardens of temperate England. Look forward to returning some day soon.

  12. Kelly M says...

    Well, I followed Claire and Ngoc on Insta as quickly as I could! Thanks for this fantastic post. Love beautiful gardens! I have a feeling I would have loved them as a kid too. Instead, I oohed and ahhed over mossy forests while camping every summer (not complaining about that experience, that’s for certain). I’ve always been in awe of nature!

  13. Simone says...

    My boys thought the same about touring gardens (boring, mom!) until I got them in on it with me. Plant ID, looking for pollinators, tasting herbs right out of the ground… they are just as excited to go roam through a new garden as I am now!

  14. ARC says...

    Lovely photos and gardens, and I am following the IG accounts mentioned now. Visiting gardens (once they had opened) has become one of my favorite things to do during the pandemic. While Northern California generally is rather dry, we do have some lovely gardens around: Filoli Gardens, Ruth Bankcroft Garden, Hakone Gardens (Japanese garden), UC Santa Cruz Botanical Garden and so on. It’s so peaceful to stroll gardens, and I discover new plants and views each time I go. Would love to have a green thumb or the budget to hire a landscape designer or architect to create a drought-tolerant native garden!

  15. Hello Joanna! Although I’ve never been to England myself, these pictures remind me of an amazing aesthetic of Jane Austen’s and Charlotte Bronte’s novels and films based on them. These are really great stress relievers. Thank you for sharing!

  16. Alex Pearl says...

    100%

    Throughout this pandemic, I’ve been watching BBC Gardener’s World with Monty Don and it’s the most relaxing, inspiring, and simple joy. It’s kind of strange to pay $5 a month to watch a garden show from 2011 to present day, but everyone I’ve turned on to this show has thanked me (in the US – apparently he’s HUGE in the UK and Australia). I can get my 5 year old daughter and 65 year old dad (both are total chatterboxes) to quiet down, get cozy, and ooh and ahh at the gorgeousness of the English garden.

    • Kelsey says...

      I have to second the gardener’s world recommendation! So relaxing and informative! There are a few other shows with Monty on Amazon that are very good; “Big Dreams, Small Spaces”, one that I believe is called History of the British Garden, and several docuseries on different nations gardens (Italian & French).

    • Bethany says...

      Ales, I, too, have started watching BBC Gardener’s World and I love it. I started with the season from 2020 and strangely, I want to cry after every episode. I don’t know what this is, but I get hugely emotional every time Monty Don starts talking about “these strange times,” and I love the videos they’ve shared during this season from people at home often gardening for the first time. I cry, but it’s the good kind.

    • I LOVED watching Monty Don when Big Dreams Small Spaces was on Netflix.

      On another note, a really interesting book is called Gardening for Butterflies by the Xerces Society about the host plants butterflies need to reproduce and which vary by region (this book only covers North America). It’s a beautiful, informative read!

    • Robin says...

      I love Monty Don. We randomly came across his Italian gardens series years ago (thank you TV Ontario). My husband’s not really a gardener but he was as fascinated as I was. We ended up planning a vacation to Italy around several of the gardens in the show (we were in our early 30s) and it felt a bit random but meant we discovered some truly magical little towns as well as big cities. I can’t wait to go back. One day.

    • Longdenlife says...

      I live in the UK and am a big Monty fan. My mum is a gardening fanatic so I was bought up as a kid watching Gardeners World since the 1980’s (I believe its being going much longer than that!). I find Monty’s voice very reassuring and calming and hope to film my garden this summer to submit to the programme.

      I work in education in the UK which can be pretty stressful so my garden is my space where I can switch off, potter, sow, dig and weed and also record my garden on instagram too. There is also something reassuring about the cycle of nature, including in a garden- whatever is going on with the world, nature keeps it own timetable. Its a great platform for inspiration, ideas and answers to all types of garden questions.

  17. Katie S. says...

    For anyone in western Washington, Bloedel Reserve is as amazing as all of these photos combined! Definitely worth a trip. There is no food, drink, pets, or ‘noise’ allowed so it truly feels like magic.

  18. Nigerian Girl says...

    This made me so nostalgic for my year in England.

  19. Wow thanks for the inspiration! I have a big outdoor landscape at home and I often visit when I take a break from work.

  20. Emily says...

    Just want to throw a little plug for the landscape architects and landscape designers across the world who create these beautiful spaces! I’m a landscape architect by training and profession, and while my specialty in isn’t designing spaces such as the above, I feel the need to let people know that these are real jobs and they are pretty incredible! :)

    If anyone wants to know more: https://www.asla.org/aboutlandscapearchitecture.aspx

    • Alex says...

      Adding to this plug! I work with a lot of landscape architects (I’m a lighting designer) and they are amazing. Landscape Architects not only create beautiful outdoor spaces like these gardens, but they are also tackling some of the biggest problems facing our planet – climate change, coastal resiliency, equitable public space… At least once a month I consider going back to school to be a landscape architect. Maybe when my kids are older…

    • sarah says...

      well THESE are the loveliest comments to happen upon on a challenging work day! I am a landscape designer and MLA (don’t have my LA cert yet) and love what I do but it feels like an invisible job sometimes. love these images and am grateful for these plugs!

    • S says...

      Agreed with all of the above! I just graduated with an MLA and am starting my first LA job tomorrow. Landscape architects often fly under the radar — very few people realize our role in shaping and managing the outdoors, even in “wild” spaces like national parks. What a nice surprise to stumble upon these comments here!

  21. Cynthia says...

    These gardens are beautiful!

  22. Meghan says...

    Joanna, you’re speaking to my childhood directly! My dad was in the military and we spent a year in England. While we never did make it to France/Italy/literally any country in Europe like my 10-year-old self dreamed, we did see allllllllll the country homes and gardens :P

  23. Rue says...

    Involuntary grin during what’s really been a stressful week for me! Thank you!

    I grew up in New York and moved to the mountain south several years ago. I always want to kind of shake my NY friends and be like, “LOOK! Look at how beautiful southern landscapes are!” Just my dog walks alone, with the magnolia blossoms the size of dinner plates.

  24. Julie says...

    It is my dream to transform our backyard into one of these magical spaces. My flowers bring me such peace and contentment. I really do feel my shoulders drop and my blood pressure lower when I am sitting amongst them.

    • K says...

      omg that sounds so cool i have a recurring dream of finding a magical plant-y oasis in my childhood backyard

  25. Mouse says...

    There is nothing like an English country garden; that seemingly chaotic gentle sprawl of flowers and shrubs. I think part of our response is about the idea of home. One of my favorite blogs is Ben Pentreath’s; I could look at his Dorset house and gardens forever. It’s personal, unlike a botanical garden or a formal garden. It’s one’s own little patch of home.

  26. Colleen says...

    Thank you for these, I feel myself relaxing already before I dig deeper.

  27. Jess says...

    These gardens! The light! The colours! The textures! Although to be honest this makes me feel stressed out, not relaxed, because it reminds me how lame my garden is in comparison and how I don’t really know how to make it better. I’d love to read a post about how to put together plants in a garden to create these kinds of effects. Although I know that lots of people don’t have the privilege of a garden.

    • Kayla says...

      Ha, I’m glad I’m not the only one that felt stress from looking at these! Even DIY perennial gardening can be a massive down payment for plants that will last and the first thing that ran through my mind was how expensive it would be to recreate these views. And then there’s the weeding (which I have a very love-hate relationship with). But oh, they are lovely to look at once you get past that initial anxiety!

    • Would love to see CoJ do a post on how to green up/garden in any space, from a backyard to an apartment without any outdoor space. A garden doesn’t have to be grand or expansive, it can also small and sweet.

  28. Sarah K says...

    This post made me want to re-read The Secret Garden. Loved these photos.

  29. Beth says...

    Do have a look at the National Garden Scheme on YouTube if you get the chance. It’s a scheme here in the UK where gardeners (big and small) open their gardens to the public for charity once a year. And serve tea and cake and sometimes sell plants. It didn’t happen last year due to Covid so they did it virtually instead. Loads of soothing video tours on YouTube.

  30. Annie says...

    Up early, cup of tea, me and the cat looking out of the window together. That’s a peaceful start.

  31. Janey says...

    Love this, so beautiful. It’s my dream to actually own a beautiful garden and be able to enjoy it every day but for now just admiring others little patches of nature is as close as I can get! One day…..

  32. Ali says...

    These are beautiful! Have you heard of Nicole De Vesian? Her story is amazing – she used to design textiles for Hermes, then upon her retirement she moved to the south of France and created the garden La Louve (French for The She-wolf) . It’s the most gorgeous mix of french and Japanese influences and I can’t stop looking at photos of it.

  33. Agnès says...

    English gardens are green poetry to me! I love their delicacy and apparent messiness, it’s all magic and surprises. I also know it takes year and a lot of work when no one is watching.

  34. Lucy says...

    I’m British by birth and most of my family still lives in the UK. Because of Covid, I haven’t been home to see them in over two years. This makes me homesick, but also brings into sharp relief some of the things I love about Britain, including beautiful gardens, hedgerows, long summer evenings, and everything about the Cotswolds–possibly the most magical place on earth. Thanks for sharing. xxx

    • Verity says...

      I’m just the same, Lucy, and feel so homesick seeing these! Especially the picture of Lowther Castle, which is literally just down the road from where I grew up (and where my parents still live). Hope you can get home soon!!!

  35. S says...

    Beautiful! Recommend this film: Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf

    • Marissa says...

      I would love to watch! Do you know how to access the film? I don’t see it on any of the typical streaming services, but I may have missed it somewhere

    • Ali says...

      ooh i love him!

  36. Bee says...

    Lovely post, there is a YouTube vlogger called Fashionmumblr, and she and her partner bought and are styling a home in the Cotswolds, and near every episode they are also updating their lawn and planting while her two sweet dachshunds run about. Peeking into what has given others peace in what has been a shared stressful year has been so necessary for me! Highly recommend checking out for other garden/lifestyle vlogger lovers <3

  37. Mallory says...

    Where my Monty Don-heads at??? Gardeners’ World is by far the most relaxing show on tv. I have to pay extra for a BritBox subscription to be able to watch it here in the US, but it is worth every penny. My husband laughs whenever he catches me watching it since I am extremely indoors-y and don’t even own a houseplant.

    • Jaime says...

      HERE!!! Fully agree. I’ve become a Monty evangelist among my friend group, ha. Big Dreams Small Spaces & all of his special garden series (Italy, France, Japan) are also amazing. He’s just so so good & another great Instagram follow. :)

    • rachwhatsit says...

      LOVE MONTY DON! IT’s on netflix!

    • Rosalie says...

      Monty Don!!!!!!!!!!!! Britain’s, and my, favorite gardener! He is just the best. I love his casually elegant style, and I’ve been buying my husband Monty-style clothes.

    • Cynthia Miller says...

      I started following him on Instagram, but haven’t watched the show.

    • Nissa says...

      Raising my hand enthusiastically! We watch Gardener’s world on Sunday mornings, as a family. Watching from Florida, English gardening looks so exotic compared to what we have here and we can’t get enough! If you haven’t seen it yet, Monty Don’s American Gardens is a beautiful love letter to the massive diversity of climates and unique gardening cultures in the U.S.

    • Rach says...

      Right here!! Obsessed!

    • Mel says...

      Same!!! I want to be Monty Don when I grow up ;) My mother is an amazing gardener, just the greenest thumb and has an allotment (not sure if this word translates to a N. American context?) where she grows the majority of her and my dad’s fruit and veg for the summer and fall. I, on the other hand, not so much! So I’ve been watching all the Gardener’s World and hoping my brain is passively storing all the random gardening tips so that I can one day attempt my own beautiful garden/veg patch. Fingers crossed :)

    • Hope says...

      Right here!! My hb and I are obsessed. I also fell asleep in nearly every episode throughout pandemic bedtime, aka 9:45pm. That was a major bonus because it meant I was actually relaxed enough to sleep.

    • Sarah says...

      Ha! Came to the comments to find and join the fan club :) We watched all the Monty Don specials over the winter 2019/2020 before starting to watch GW last year (from the beginning of the season, just when Covid hit). It’s our soothing sunday morning ritual, too, I unvoluntarily always take a big breath of relief once each episode starts :) (We don’t have a balcony or back garden either – it’s basically where I get “all my greens” from!)

  38. Lisa says...

    My husband and I have been watching the BBC’s Gardener’s World as our pandemic stress relief. It is refreshingly simple and soothing. We’re in arid Colorado so much of the advice doesn’t hold, but it still draws me in without offering a bit of drama. I must be 37 going on 80.

    • A says...

      Every Friday night in our house, at the witching hour of 9pm, sitting on the sofa, agog. Even the cat comes up and enjoys it. So relaxing, reassuring and informative, as well as beautiful. Because it is about gardens there is no need for haste or exclamation, no “wow!”, no smart-arse comments. Just friendly coves showing us how to grow things.

    • amber says...

      I don’t know, one of the viewer’s garden videos they featured on the show was from Colorado, so there goes that excuse ; )

      Plus, all my twenty-something friends are hardcore organic gardeners/farmers and we know allll the latin names and arcane knowledge you can imagine so that’s the other excuse decimated, therefore: get out there! Nature is amazing!

    • Alex Pearl says...

      It’s my favorite show now!

  39. Em says...

    Working in my own garden is a big stress reliever and anxiwty reducer too, especially pulling those weeds!

  40. M. says...

    Such lovely photos! Yes, to beaming ourselves to them!!

    I love gardens. Many of my precious memories of places I’ve lived in are of gardens. Gardens can both surprise and comfort you. They hold space for you. And there is always something new to notice, if you pay attention.

    There is the surprise of discovering a new garden or new plants whose names you do not know when you move to a new city, and there is also the comfort of finding plants you do know even half way across the world. And then, as years pass by, there is the anticipation of seeing your favourite flowers bloom year after year and the nostalgia for those that are not near.

    I often find myself wondering how some gardens I love are doing. Sending a love note and a thank you to them from across the miles..

    Tip: always check the map if there’s a garden nearby to visit :)

  41. Mandy says...

    I love these so much. I’ve resigned from my current job and hope to spend much more time with plants.
    I’m eager to take an English garden tour with my Aunt Lise next year (and also to try on fancy jewelry together when we aren’t looking at plants). I get The English Garden magazine, and read it at night in bed. I read, look at, and make notes about everything very, very slowly so that by the time I finish one issue I have the next issue.

    • Agus says...

      I really loved your comment

  42. Denise says...

    The gardens are beautiful and I think fondly of Monty Don.
    What calms me most is to sit for a long long time on a bench (or even in the car) way up high on a sea cliff looking out to sea over the edge of the world. Basically, to stop moving myself and to feel the whole of the world move instead. It’s enormous, this feeling, and It’s really something unexplainable. Something about the movement of the entire body of water of the Pacific and my little water-droplet of a body riding along with the Pacific and the Earth. I’ve never been able to explain it beyond feeling round & full up, or gushy like the most profound love affair, but it’s mainly the movement of all that water. Anyway… talk about woo-woo west coast (USA), I am her! :)

    • Solange says...

      This is beautiful, Denise- From a fellow woo-woo West Coaster

  43. Jj says...

    Would love if CoJ readers showed us their gardens! I love all gardens– from sprawling acres to simple city window garden. Also, it would allow both hemispheres to show off their goods. I know I would love seeing flowers when I am sun deprived.

    • Keagan says...

      Wonderful idea!

    • M says...

      Love this idea!!!

    • Laura says...

      Yes, more garden posts please!! I love this idea so much. I’m on a constant hunt for inspiration from other green thumbs and would love to see some garden tours here :)

    • Meghan says...

      YES! Great idea, like the reader’s outfit post :)

    • Em says...

      This is such a fun idea!

    • Rosalie says...

      Love this idea! I’m always looking for garden inspiration!

    • Iza says...

      Love this idea! Especially would love to see small balcony jungle inspiration.

    • Em says...

      Came here to say this too. Watching my garden grow from frozen ground (Montana) every spring, but especially 2020, is one of my greatest pleasures.

    • bump! I made a comment above requesting a post giving tips on gardening in spaces of all sizes- but this idea is even better

  44. MJ says...

    I’m in the hospital waiting to be induced with baby #2 and these are helping me relax. Thank you!

    • Caroline says...

      You got this!

    • Rosalie says...

      Thinking of you! I was induced with my first baby, and it took a long time, but it ended up being a wonderful experience.

  45. Mary M Hartman says...

    I love visiting gardens too! And, to your previous post on what do you eat when you are alone? I am alone and I cook for myself. I find it rewarding and restful. I do have to plan and I don’t mind seconds or thirds of the same thing. Even if we are alone, we should take care of ourselves and enjoy the little everyday things. Gardening and cooking fall into that for me.