SOURCE: Cheapflights.com

Cheapflights.com

August 06, 2013 12:13 ET

Beautiful, Blissful & Bizarre - Cheapflights.com Takes a Garden Tour Like no Other

Unearths the World's Top 10 Unusual Gardens

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - Aug 6, 2013) - When people hear the word garden, many are likely to conjure up images of flowers, fruits and vegetables. Others may think of gardens as a personal hobby, while some may imagine public gardens such as Central Park or Versailles in France. The travel experts at Cheapflights.com, the online leader in finding and publishing travel deals, have discovered another dimension in the world of gardens and invite you to take stroll through their Top 10 Unusual Gardens from around the world.

We kick off the garden tour below with five breathtaking yet quirky gardens from Cheapflights.com's Top 10 Unusual Gardens:

  • Las Pozas, Xilitla, Mexico - A "Surrealist Xanadu" in the heart of the Mexican jungle, Las Pozas (the Pools) combines man-made structures with exotic flowers, native plants, waterfalls and pools to create a strangely harmonious and peaceful garden. The gardens are the creation of eccentric English poet and artist Edward James, who bought the 80-acre former coffee plantation in the mid-1940s in an attempt to create his own Garden of Eden. Between 1949 and 1984, James built a total of 36 surreal concrete sculptures and structures on the site with names such as the House with a Roof like a Whale and the Staircase to Heaven. As of 2007, the gardens are maintained by the Fondo Xilitla foundation.

  • The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Dumfries, Scotland - Science and mathematics plus sculptures and landscaping equal one fascinating garden of cosmic proportions. The Garden of Cosmic Speculation is a 30-acre garden created by landscape architect and architectural theorist Charles Jencks at his home, Portrack House in Southwest Scotland. Inspired by science and mathematics, the garden's sculptures and landscaping are suitably based on everything from black holes to fractals. There is also a distinct oriental influence thanks to Jencks' late wife Maggie Keswick, an expert on Asian garden design. While the garden is private, it does open up to the public one day a year as part of Scotland's Gardens Scheme and raises money for Maggie's Centres, a cancer care charity.

  • Rock Garden of Chandigarh, India - The saying goes that one man's junk is another man's treasure, but in the case of the Rock Garden, a city's junk was transformed into everyone's treasure. Public servant Nek Chand began creating his masterpiece in 1957 from cast-off industrial and home waste he collected from demolition sites across Chandigarh. However, his chosen site was actually conservation land with a building restriction. He managed to keep his construction secret for 18 years and, when the authorities finally uncovered the garden, it had grown into 12 acres of courtyards filled with hundreds of sculptures. Thanks to public support, the garden was saved from demolition, and Chand was awarded a salary and a workforce of 50 so he could complete his vision. Today, Nek Chand's Rock Garden is spread over a massive 40 acres.

  • A French Kiss in Akaroa, Christchurch, New Zealand - Held every year late in the New Zealand summer, the Ellerslie International Flower Show attracts a global audience of garden designers and garden lovers who come to see the best of garden design, gardening trends and new products. Founded in Auckland in 1994, the show moved to its current (and fitting) home in Hagley Park, Christchurch, New Zealand's Garden City, in 2008. In 2013, landscape designer Ben Hoyle picked up his sixth Gold Medal for his sunken oasis called "A French Kiss in Akaroa" that featured a lounge pit filled with pillows where visitors could take in a unique view from below the waterline. The inspiration for the garden came from the history of the French settlement in the South Island town of Akaroa. Kate Hillier, exhibition manager at the Ellerslie International Flower Show said the garden, along with several others, had been donated to New Brighton -- a coastal suburb in Christchurch that was badly damaged in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. "We look forward to seeing the garden live on, brightening the days of people living in such a seriously damaged area," Hillier said.

  • Forestiere Underground Gardens, Fresno, California, United States - Forestiere Underground Gardens are the creation of Sicilian immigrant Baldasare Forestiere, who built the garden over 40 years from 1906 until his death in 1946. Inspired by a childhood fascination with the catacombs in Rome, Forestiere built the Underground Garden as an escape from the scorching Fresno summer. Today a listed California Historical Landmark, the three-level underground structure is a network of rooms and passageways and features a summer and winter bedroom, kitchen, fish pond, a parlor complete with fireplace, and several subterranean gardens. Many of the garden's plants are more than 100 years old and, thanks to the underground construction, are protected from frost over the winter months. The garden is home to a variety of fruit-bearing trees and vines from citrus to berries that were planted at different times, so the trees bloom one after the other giving a lengthened growing season.

Rounding out our list of bizarre gardens around the world are: Arctic-alpine Botanic Garden, Tromsø, Norway; Bookworm Garden, Sheboygan, WI, USA; Tarot Garden (Giardino dei Tarocchi), Tuscany, Italy; Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech, Morocco; and Poison Gardens, Northumberland, England. To read the complete details and view stunning images of Cheapflights.com's Top 10 Unusual Gardens, visit www.cheapflights.com/news/top-10-unusual-gardens/.

About Momondo Group
Momondo Group is an online travel media and technology company that is driven by the belief that an open world is a better world. The group now serves travel search and inspiration to over 13 million visitors a month -- plus 6 million travel newsletter subscribers -- via its Cheapflights (www.cheapflights.com) and momondo (www.momondo.com) brands.

Skygate began the sourcing of complex air-travel data in 1992, while Cheapflights pioneered the online comparison of flight deals for users in 1996 and momondo launched meta-search in the Nordic countries in 2006.

The Group has offices in London, Copenhagen, Boston and Toronto, with a consumer base across more than 20 core international markets but users all over the world.

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