By Amanda Little
Chase away the winter blues by exploring the world as it wakes from its snowy slumber. Enjoy the best blooms around the world, from the Netherlands to Thailand!
Make your way to Colombia when spring blooms to witness the beautiful, oversized floral displays farmers put together in Medellin. Known as silleteroes, the bountiful bouquets are put on wooden pallets and carried through the streets in a magnificent, floral parade lined with cheering spectators. Live music accompanies the spectacle, making the Fiera de las Flores, Festival of the Flowers, one of the biggest holidays in Medellin.
Many know of the breathtaking sight of thousands of cherry blossom petals floating through the air in Japan, but cherry blossoms aren’t the only bloom to see. Follow the sakura-covered streets of Kyoto or Tokyo to Kawachi. Seek out the Kawachi Fujien garden tunnels and wander along incredible cascading wisteria. Dangling overhead and blooming in full force down the sides of the tunnel, it’s a spectacular sight to see. Stay a little longer to see the stunning lavender farms that bloom in the summer in northern Japan. Streaks of purple mingle with red and orange poppies, baby’s breath, and pink catchflies to create a stunning rainbow of flowers fit for a postcard.
Going to a desert for spring blossoms sounds a little counterintuitive, but with 54 public gardens and a villa surrounded by 100,000 roses, Marrakesh in Morocco is the place to be. The alluring city offers a beautiful display of flowers, and six hours south of the city is the Valley of Roses, where rosebuds are picked for essential oils, potpourri, and rosewater.
Stroll through Cape Floral Kingdom in South Africa and enjoy the enchanting natural views offered by this biodiverse hotspot. Here, flowers come into full bloom in late summer, with wildflowers adorning x4x trails, the N7 highway, and hiking paths. If you continue on through to Namaqualand in the early fall, you’ll get to see the beautiful blooms along the Wildflower Route as well as 3,500 varities of flowers, including the king protea, South Africa’s national flower.
Tulips come to mind when imagining the Netherlands in the spring, and there’s a good reason why. Their two-month-long tulip festival includes stunning flower mosaics, the self-proclaimed most beautiful spring garden in the world, and 800 varieties of tulips. Make your way through Keukenhof to explore its garden and the lovely town lined with flowers for the spring, and even get a crash course in tulip history at the garden exhibit.
From pedigree roses to vibrant sunflowers, Italy is an amazing place to be as flowers bloom. Taking an afternoon to wander through the rosarium Roseto Finischi will allow visitors to explore the garden with the most variety of roses in the world, neatly grouped, classified by Latin name, and ordered by original year of introduction. Or travelers can take a walk on the wild side and wander the maze-like rows of magnificent sunflowers. Grown from mid-June to early August in Tuscany for 300 years, they’re a sight to see. Continue on to Umbria to snap photos of orange poppies sweeping out over the landscape.
For those making their way through Chiang Mai, Thailand in early February, prepare to see a vibrant spectacle of giant flower floats parading down the street. The festival is known not only for their amazing flower arrangements, can chun, globe amaranth, African marigolds, and chrysanthemums, but also young Thai women marching with the floats, wearing floor-length gowns and carrying orchid baskets for the beauty pageant part of the festival. A marching band brings up the rear, and all of these beautiful flowers showcased during the parade can be bought at the 24-hour Ton Lamyai flower market along the Ping River.
Many know of the magnificent lavender fields that gave Provence its claim to fame. Visitors can wander through the lovely-smelling rows of purple flowers that brought about Lavender Day, as well as the harvest competition, lavender scented soaps and merchandise, and an extensive lavender growers’ market. Hoever those strolling along the outside of Claude Monet’s stone house in Giverny will be able to find the muse of his paintings: narrow footpaths lined with nasturtiums, and the stunning pond with water lilies floating on the surface. Both places call for photos.
As one of the dewiest places on earth, there is always something green and growing in Kauai, Hawaii, but those looking for truly spectacular blooms should visit in spring and summer. Take a camera through the McBryde Garden Biodiversity Trail that condenses 450 million years of plant evolution and history into a 10-minute hike. Start in the misty 80-foot tunnel, and continue past amazing red coral trees, pua kala blossoms, tropical fruit orchards, and more.
Head for the Swiss border after visiting Zurich to see the magnificent Mainau Island in Germany. Sail along Lake Constance to visit the island, nicknamed Blumeninsel or “Flower Island,” to see sweeping green lawns, massive flower beds radiating wonderful colors and more than 110 acres of Spring beauty. Snap photo after photo as you traverse this island garden, explore the staircase overflowing with tulips, and stop to smell the flowers.