Welcoming spring with flower festivals

Keukenhof Park, just south of Amsterdam, features millions of tulips.

Keukenhof Park, just south of Amsterdam, features millions of tulips.

Welcoming spring with flower festivals

After a long, cold, dark winter, the scent of springtime is finally in the air. And with that our attention is shifting from indoors to out.

Traditionally, the world’s greatest garden and flower festivals are held in early-to-mid Spring. Whether you attend a garden show looking for inspiration or just for the sheer pleasure of floating through such amazing displays, studies show that simply visiting a garden and being surrounded by plant life benefits people both mentally and physically, reducing blood pressure, increasing brain activity, and producing a general upbeat feeling.

In light of that, this spring is the time to visit one of the many garden events blooming around the world. From cherry blossom and tulip festivals to world-class flower shows featuring the latest inspirations from the world’s top gardeners, you will be absolutely spoiled for choice.

And if you get inspired, all the better! You might just find yourself creating your own little oasis at home, whether it’s a full-scale garden or a perfectly executed urban window box.

Bloomin’ Britain

Chelsea Flower Show in London. Photo: Bethany Clarke

Chelsea Flower Show in London. Photo: Bethany Clarke

The star of Britian’s garden festival season might also be the most famous in the world, attracting nearly 160,000 visitors each year. Since it started in 1862 it has featured designs from some of the world’s top gardeners, with traditional as well as artisan, urban, and avant-garde gardens included in the mix. Queen Elizabeth has attended every year but five since 1952, and it is said to be one of her favorite events on the Royal Calendar.

May 19–23
RHS Chelsea Flower Show, London
rhs.org.uk

Tulips aplenty

Holland’s Keukenhof Park, just south of Amsterdam.

Holland’s Keukenhof Park, just south of Amsterdam.

With a rich history dating back to the 15th century, Holland’s Keukenhof Park, just south of Amsterdam, features millions of buds springing to life in a visually stunning display. From its roots in 1949, Keukenhof’s tulip festival has developed into the greatest one in the world. You’ll also be treated to other flowers featured, such as orchids and hyacinths.

March 20–May 17
Keukenhof Tulip Festival, Lisse, Netherlands
keukenhof.nl/en

More than just flowers down under

While March sees Australia heading into fall, not spring, the Melbourne Flower Show is still the place to go Down Under. Featuring award-winning displays, workshops, sculpture exhibitions, and entertainment for children and adults alike, this show is a must-visit for anyone with a green thumb.

March 25–29
Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show
melbflowershow.com.au

Short season – top tips

The theme for this year is ”Summer Salon: Creative Inspiration for Your Garden Space.” Gardening enthusiasts will want to visit this show not just for the fabulous displays, but also for handy tips on how to make the most of the somewhat short gardening season in Northern Europe.

March 26–29
The Nordic Gardens/Nordiska Trädgårdar, Stockholm
nordiskatradgardar.se

Festivities, floats, and parades, blossoming DC

Cherry blossoms at Jefferson In Washington DC.

Cherry blossoms at Jefferson In Washington DC.

In 1912, when the mayor of Tokyo gifted the city of Washington with 12 varieties of cherry trees, few could have predicted that more than 100 years later the annual appearance of the cherry blossoms would attract over 700,000 visitors to the city each year. The enthusiastic annual parade is the highlight of the festival, featuring floats, giant helium balloons, and marching bands. Two cherry tree varieties, Yoshino and Kwanzan, dominate the display, but it’s worth seeking out some of the lesser-known varieties as well.

March 20–April 12
National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington, D.C.
nationalcherryblossom­festival.org

Smaller garden shows

France
Super-stylish: Courson, May 15-17, domaine-de-courson.fr
Plant-focused: Saint-Jean de Beauregard, April 10-12, domsaintjeanbeauregard.com

Belgium
Hex Gardening Show, June 12-14, hex.be

Italy
Tre Giorni per il Giardino Show, by appointment in March, fondoambiente.it

Text: Judi Lembke

Scandinavian Traveler

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