Five of the World’s Most Beautiful Gardens

With springtime just around the corner, you cannot help but picture gorgeous flowers, birds singing, and baby animals being welcomed into the world. What a beautiful experience.

For most of us, we have to go somewhere other than home to take in sights like that but for some lucky people, that scene is right in their own backyard. This list is composed of five of the most beautiful gardens in the world. Some are widely known while others you may have never heard of.

1. The Gardens at the Biltmore Estate

Biltmore fall garden
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The Gardens at the Biltmore Estate were designed by prominent landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead. The Biltmore has everything from an Italian Garden to the first managed forest in American history.

The Estate boasts lots of lengthy trails to carry you from one part of the garden to the next, two and a half miles of trails altogether. Each section of the garden is named. You could spend a week here and never get bored.

2. Huntington Botanical Gardens

Huntington Botanical Gardens
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Originally started by the owner of the property, Henry Edward Huntington in 1904, these gardens are, in a word, magnificent. The man credited with designing the gardens is William Hertrich, a landscape supervisor. The property includes eighteen different “specialty” sections. There is even a desert garden which spans twelve acres.

There are the three-acre Rose Garden, the Jungle and Subtropical gardens, a formal Shakespeare Garden, a walled Zen Garden, lily ponds, and a twenty-acre grove. With all of this to look at and explore, a visit to the Huntington Botanical Gardens is a good day for anyone.

3. The Gardens of the Château in Versailles

Château in Versailles
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André Le Nôtre was hired by Louis XIV to design the gardens surrounding the Château. The making of these gardens was not an easy undertaking. Loads of soil had to be removed to make room for the various flower beds. There is a Grand Canal and an Orangerie than can blow any commoner’s mind.

4. Gardens at the Bodnant Estate

Bodnant Estate Garden
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One of the most beautiful gardens was started by the McLaren family in Britain, but mainly by Henry McLaren, also known as Lord Aberconway. This garden features grand formal Terraces, the Pin Mill, the Laburnum Arch, a deep valley with trees and streams, and flower blooms that can be seen throughout the year, no matter the weather. It’s a whimsical paradise.

5. Garden of Kensington Palace, London

london kensington palace and gardens
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The garden at Kensington Palace has been influenced by many of the Royal women in London. Inspired by their inner beauty and attention to detail, the gardens have become a favorite for royal family fans around the world.

There are too many beautiful gardens to list them all here, but I hope you’ve enjoyed this short list of the most beautiful gardens in the world. Go do some digging and planting by yourself or with the help of experts such as those with Maple Grove Landscaping.

Top 5 Agriculture Stories of 2011

U.S. agribusiness is a complex environment that draws many interests, professions and policy considerations together to produce food for Americans and the larger world market, and as a consequence, there is always industry news.

Below we take a look at the Top 5 agriculture stories of 2011, as a way to gauge the progress of the past year and perhaps better predict what the future holds for American the agricultural community.

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1. Farm Bill Failure

The failure of the Congressional “super-committee” to come to a consensus on how to reduce the budget meant that several pieces of proposed legislation failed to pass, including the 2011 farm bill.

It was really no surprise and the failure did not directly harm U.S. agriculture, but it means that negotiations will have to begin anew for a possible 2012 farm bill. The real concern is that a budget deal will not come, triggering across-the-board cuts that will impact agribusiness without the input of industry advocates.

2. Farm Group Sues EPA

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) began 2011 by filing suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), accusing the federal regulatory body of putting a stranglehold on U.S. agribusiness through overregulation.

The regulation in question involved modest reductions in nitrogen, phosphorus and the byproduct of sediment runoff into the Chesapeake Bay, and the 6 million-member organization put its collective foot down. AFBF members appealed to Congress to reign in the EPA, although the litigation remains unresolved.

3. Ethanol Subsidy Controversy

At one point in 2011, it appeared Congress had come to a consensus about ending the years-long subsidies (and import tariffs on foreign corn/ethanol) enjoyed by corn growers for ethanol production as part of the Economic Development Revitalization Act.

Of course, the legislation died and $6 billion in subsidies continued to flow into the ethanol-producing industry in 2011. Critics argue the industry is stable enough to stand on its own and that the subsidies are only helping to drive up the prices of food since so many food products are corn-based or corn-fed.

4. Produce Lobbyists Petition USDA

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issues a pesticide report every year detailing the use of pesticides in U.S. agriculture for the EPA, but in 2011 produce lobbyists took issue with the report and the way it was being used by activists to criticize and stigmatize certain food items as being exposed to more pesticides.

Activists maintained that the growing market in organic foods is proof of people’s concerns about pesticides and their interest in avoiding foods sprayed with them, but the industry countered by arguing that the produce grown is safe and that consumers are being misled by information from the USDA.

5. Food Stamp Frenzy

It was reported in May 2011 that recipients of food stamps through the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) had reached a record number of 40.8 million, causing partisan clashing about the nature of the “welfare state” and the abuses of SNAP.

A seeming disconnect in the argument, however, came in the fact that U.S. food producers indirectly rely on SNAP to move agricultural products. Even so, more cuts to the program are expected and will likely pit many policymakers who challenge the largesse of welfare against their own constituents – farmers who grow the food purchased with SNAP funds.

Read also: Garden Obelisks

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