6 of the World's Greatest Urban Jungles

Matt Owens

A part of the team at Urbotanica, Matt is passionate about sustainable living and growing his own fresh food! 

For those who love nature, cities can at times be a crippling, sensory overloaded place where wildlife's only appearance is that of a pigeon or a rat. Yet, with more of us choosing to migrate towards the cities than ever before, the outdoor area has become a highly contested piece of real-estate. 

There are, however, enthusiasts and green thumbs alike engaged in a constant battle to refresh the concrete jungles they inhabit, not just for themselves but for the benefit of other residents. Here at Urbotanica, we have selected some of our favourite city gardens that embody what we're all about.. photosynthesis!


1. Central Park

Named as one of the world’s best skyscrapers, One Central Park in Sydney is an urban architecture marvel for its garden inclusive design, which can be admired in its 35,000+ plants across 380 odd species. The key design technique by French botanist Mr. Patrick Blanc was the combination of hanging gardens and vegetation that could grow unabated by soil, instead relying on suspending the leave shoots and letting the roots attach to a remote-controlled irrigation system. We would love to see similar progressive designs adopted in more Australian cities soon! outdoor garden ideas


2. The Bay, South Garden

The largest of the three gardens located in the Marina Reservoir, Singapore - Bay South Garden features some of the world’s best tropical horticulture under one controlled roof. The conservatories inside the massive dome are intended to be an  showcase of sustainable building practices. With the spectacle of an entire glass roof without interior support, hoards of visitors are drawn towards the Cloud Forest and Super Trees, the later of which incorporates an eco-friendly design to collect rainwater from the outside of the domes and circulate them via the trees, with the intention to regulate hot air, and circulate cool water for use by the plants.

3. Getty Villa

 Opened by oil tycoon J. Paul Getty in 1954, the Getty Museum that later became the Getty Villa in 1974, is recognised as a pinnacle for anyone wanting to further their education of culture and art from ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria, with more than 44,000 artefacts spanning across 7,000 years. The Villa of the Papryi is the inspiration behind the architecture of this villa, and as you walk through the vast landscape of marble and gardens you forget the fact that you are in a re-creation, as opposed to the real thing. 

4. The Barbican Conservatory

 Settled inside arguably the most prominent example of British brutalist architecture, the Barbican Garden Room and Conservatory in London is second only to its British counterpart, the Kew Gardens, in size. This is beneficial for solitude seekers alike, with the Barbican experiencing fewer visitors under its pyramidal glass roof compared with Kew. Having over 2000 tropical plants, a koi carp pond and an aviary that hosts the likes of finches and quails, the many private nooks and sheltered walkways make the garden room a peaceful persons heaven. 

Indoor herb garden kit

5. Duddell’s Garden Terrace

Located in Hong Kong, Duddell’s was founded by three of Hong Kong’s most influential young minds. For the city, it represents another coveted destination for those who appreciate great food and arts. The two Michelin starred restaurant is connected to a garden terrace, which despite being located in one of the world’s busiest cities, occupies a sustainable design that complements the world-renowned food. This goal of design house, Studioilse, was to shut out the noise by landscaping the terrace with vibrant foliage and shades of green. The garden theme carries through the indoors where wooden furniture and organic materials transport you to a much more soothing environment to the hustle and bustle of Central, Hong Kong.

6. Villa d’Este

The Este family were Lords of Ferrara for almost 200 years before the site in Tivoli, Rome was commissioned to become their villa. With completion prolonged and overdue, the site finished construction closer towards 1569. With its high maintenance costs, it was not until 1922 when the Italian state acquired the property that the resources needed to maintain it were used. The unique design of Villa d’Este is most apparent in the 51 fountains and 875m of canals and channels which direct water to hundreds of various spouts and water jets, all working entirely with the force of gravity to push the water out – no pumps needed!

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