There are dozens of public and private gardens in the Lake Geneva region, some of which are good for family outings as well as for plant-lovers. Here is a selection of the best. For addresses you would like to add, please post a comment and include your impressions. If GL agrees with you we will add it to this guide, with information on fees and hours.
Alpine Garden, Meyrin. Some 3,600 plants, rose garden and alpine garden, with villa, walks, play area, ducks, goats and more, making it an easy family visit. Address is 7, chemin du jardin alpin, Meyrin. May 2006 description on the American Women’s International Club of Geneva site. No entry fee.
The national Arboretum in Aubonne, the only arboretum in Switzerland with native as well as plants from around the world that have adapted to the climate. Four walks to view plants, from 1-1/2 to 5 hours, take you through meadows and forests on the hillside above the lake. Centre’s own site, in French.
Botanical Gardens in Geneva: 28 hectares, moved from the city centre to here in 1904, includes rock garden, herbarium (by appointment) with 5.5 million specimens, making it one of the five largest collections in the world. Gardens own site, in French. Site has directions; 8:00-19:30 in spring and summer, no entry fee; shop.
Le Jardin des Cinq Sens, Yvoire, France. Former vegetable gardens recreated as a Middle Ages formal garden complete with labyrinthe and designed to appeal to all the senses. Classified officially in France as a “jardin remarquable.” Summer, open daily 10:00-19:00; entry fees from €5.50-9; family rates.
Le Jardin d’Iris, Chateau de Vullierens iris gardens, near Morges. Spectacular collection of irises, open daily, 9:00-18:00, to June 18. One of the best collections of day lilies in Europe, displayed from mid-June to mid-August, Monday-Saturday, 14:00-18:00. Numerous trees older than 200 years. Entry fee, online plant catalogue but no shop.
Quais des dahlias, Morges, from July to mid-October, more than 100 varieties of dahlias, 1,800 plants, along the 1.5 km of waterfront in Morges. Free small train if you don’t want to walk.