Hortus Haren, just south of Groningen, is a large park that began its existence as a botanical garden in 1626. Its attractions include a Celitic horoscope tree circle, a Chinese tea house, rescued parrots, and an insectarium with stick insects and giant cockroaches. It also has many botanical features such as a subtropical greenhouse with carnivorous plants and many themed gardens. Open daily all year, except for New Year and Christmas, with a small entrance fee.
The Celtic Ogham garden ("Keltische tuin") is the newest addition, approached by a winding tunnel, under a waterfall, and then across a small lake. The intention is to create a mystic setting for its "tree horoscope", a circle of trees planted according to the Celtic calendar. Each tree has a label describing the character of people born within that tree's range of the year. The intervals and predictions are different from the usual horoscopes, referencing the characteristics of a tree rather than a constellation in the Zodiac. There is also a small maze.
The Hidden Ming Empire ("Het Verborgen Rijk van Ming"), reached by way of a rock tunnel under a different waterfall, includes a traditional Chinese tea house that serves traditional Dutch lunchtime sandwiches, cakes, and beer. Outside the tea house is a faithful reconstruction of a real garden from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) with lovingly restored authentic Chinese pagodas and a feng shui garden.
Other specialized gardens include the Laarman Tuin (the oldest part), an English garden, rose gardens, a water garden, a hydrangea garden, agricultural gardens, and a bamboo garden.
Although an English brochure is available, all signs and exhibit labels are in Dutch only, including the tree horoscopes, so if you don't speak Dutch, bring a Dutch friend, or at least a dictionary. Their English webpage is at