TAKE MY WORD

My Favorite Garden

We asked experts to recommend a garden anywhere in the world. You'll dig their answers.

ORONO, MINN.
Noerenberg Gardens

This is a garden that beer built—and landscape architect C. Colston Burrell finds it intoxicating. "It's a journey through lots of colorful plantings in an artful design," says Burrell, a residential designer who has twice won the American Horticultural Society's book award. Grain Belt Brewery founder Frederick Noerenberg created the garden on the north shore of Lake Minnetonka, just outside of Minneapolis, first planting a grove of Scotch pine and Norway spruce that reminded him of his native Germany. The garden is noted for its ornamental grasses and some pretty resilient azaleas, which are cold-hardy down to -35 degrees Fahrenheit. 763/559-9000, threeriversparkdistrict.org/parks, free.

NEWTOWNARDS, NORTHERN IRELAND
Mount Stewart

Spread across 90 acres on the Ards Peninsula, about 30 minutes east of Belfast, Mount Stewart is one of the finest gardens in Europe. Founded in the 1920s by Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry, with advice from gardening legend Gertrude Jekyll, Mount Stewart contains so many subtropical plants that you'll have to remind yourself you're in Ireland, says Helen Dillon, one of Europe's best-known gardeners. There are more than 100 eucalyptus trees, some of which top out at 120 feet, as well as an eye-popping stand of bloodred and orange rhododendrons. The whimsical topiaries include an Irish harp, a shamrock, a sailboat, stags, the goddess Diana, and the devil. 011-44/28-4278-8387, nationaltrust.org.uk, $11.

APPLEDORE ISLAND, MAINE
Celia Thaxter's Garden

Celia Thaxter's Garden is on an island 10 miles off the coast of Portsmouth, N.H. "You can only reach it by boat, which is pretty exciting stuff for a gardener," says designer Gordon Hayward, author of several books, including The Intimate Garden. Framed by spectacular sea views and tended by volunteers and staff from the nearby Shoals Marine Laboratory, the garden is only 750 square feet, but it's filled with colorful annuals such as red poppies and blue love-in-a-mists. Nineteenth-century poet Celia Thaxter fashioned the garden, saying it gave her "perfect happiness." 603/430-5220, sml.cornell.edu, full-day tour $85.

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND
Hamilton Gardens

The small city of Hamilton is home to "one of the most spectacular gardens you'll ever see," says Richard Lyon, an award-winning landscape architect in Kennett Square, Pa., who also leads garden tours of New Zealand. Built on the site of an old sand mine, the 143-acre public park is like a trip around the world. There's an Indian walled garden with a carpet of Persian roses, dianthuses, sweet williams, zinnias, and more; English-style garden rooms with a fountain and a dovecote (and doves); a Japanese Zen garden with artfully raked sand; and an American modernist garden with a kidney-shaped pool and a mosaic of Marilyn Monroe. 011-64/7-838-6782, hamiltongardens.co.nz, free.

TAKE MY WORD: GARDENS

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