A dozen hand-picked destinations with real “flower power”
By Linda McClain, CTA
Even though the calendar says “spring”, we still have to wait a few weeks for the telltale signs: the warmer weather, the longer days, and of course, the colorful fresh blossoms. But, you don’t have to wait to enjoy the flowers – below are a dozen destinations that ooze of Mother Nature’s floral bouquets.
60th Annual Festival of Houses and Gardens – March 15-April 14
Charleston, South Carolina
Renowned for three centuries as “a city set in a garden,” Charleston holds this festival during the peak of the historic port city’s blooming season. Enjoy tours of private gardens in 150 historic houses in 11 colonial and antebellum neighborhoods. A true southern paradise, Charleston will entice you with its old world charm and hospitality. For more information: www.historiccharleston.org.
Annual Cherry Blossom Festival – March 31-April 15 ( Parade – April 14)
The National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift to the city of Washington of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to enhance the growing friendship between the United States and Japan and celebrate the continued close relationship between our two countries. For more information: www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.
Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival – April 5-June 3
Walt Disney World
Disney’s talented horticulturists give you a behind the scenes look at how they create and maintain the beauty of Disney World. Visit Minnie’s magnificent butterfly garden and see colorful foliage with hundreds of free flying butterflies. Don’t miss the world showcase exhibits. From Japan, China and parts of Europe, you will observe beautiful floral and gardening displays. For more information: www.wdwinfo.com.
Biltmore Estate Festival of Flowers – April 7-May 20
Asheville, North Carolina
Spring arrives with a stunning display of more than 100,000 tulips, daffodils and hyacinths in the Walled Garden (www.romanticasheville.com/biltmore_flowers.htm). Also, enjoy spectacular garden tours at Biltmore Estate Gardens April through October (www.biltmore.com).
Historic Garden Week, Virginia (statewide) – April 21-28
Step through the gates of more than 250 of Virginia’s most beautiful gardens, homes and historic landmarks. Three dozen Historic Garden Week tours present a rich contrast of some of the country’s finest properties at the peak of Virginia’s springtime color. For more information: www.vagardenweek.org.
Nantucket Daffodil Festival – April 27-29
More than three million daffodils bring visitors to the Massachusetts island of Nantucket. Just 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, this tiny island finds good reason to celebrate spring each year. They include an antique car parade featuring over 100 cars decorated with daffodils, an annual tailgate picnic featuring elaborate gourmet cuisine, children’s daffodil parade and daffy hat pageant. For more information: www.nantucketchamber.org.
59th Tulip Festival – May 11-13
Celebrate Mother’s Day and Albany’s historic Dutch heritage right in our own backyard as Washington Park comes alive with thousands of vibrantly colored tulips. Tulip Fest is one of Albany’s oldest and most highly anticipated events. See who is crowned Tulip Fest, enjoy the live music and shop the many vendors. For more information: www.albanyevents.org.
Gardens for Connoisseurs Tour – May 12-13
This fundraiser for the Atlanta Botanical Gardens includes tours of 11 private gardens.
For more information: www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org.
14th Annual Fields of Lupine Festival – June 8-25
Franconia, New Hampshire
View nature’s creative floral display of lupines within this beautiful region of the White Mountains. Enhancing the picture perfect scenery are dazzling butterflies that are attracted to the long-lasting flower blooms. There are also a number of events such as historic tours, garden workshops, concerts, performances, arts, crafts and beautifully scenic road trips. For more information: www.harmanscheese.com/lupine.html.
Secret Garden Tour – June 15-17
Newport, Rhode Island
Self-guided walking tour of private gardens of some of Newport’s most prestigious properties.
For more information: www.secretgardentours.org
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
One of the most impressive horticultural displays anywhere is Longwood Gardens. Situated in Pennsylvania about 30 miles west of Philadelphia, it was created by industrialist Pierre S. du Pont and is sometimes referred to as the du Pont Gardens.
The gardens have 1,050 acres of meadows, woodlands and spectacular fountains, which shoot up from manicured gardens filled with seasonal flowers. You can also visit 20 indoor gardens and choose from as many as 800 horticultural and performing arts events, such as the chrysanthemum festival, held every fall. A must-see site includes the Topiary Garden, where evergreen shrubs are clipped into the shapes of a table and chair. For more information: www.longwoodgardens.org.
In case you missed it, mark your calendar for next year:
Canada Blooms – March 7-11
Toronto, Ontario Canada
This annual show is the country’s largest indoor garden show. For more information: www.canadablooms.com.
Gardenscape 2007 – March 15-18
“The best of garden shows East Coast and West”- New York Times. Featuring many classes and seminars, including an interactive children’s garden. For more information: www.rochesterflowershow.com. l
Linda McClain, CTA, is owner of Capital Region based Linda McClain Travel Services “From The Islands To The Highlands, No Dream Is Too Far From Here!” For more information call 372.7657 or visit www.lindamcclaintravel.com.