Marking the start of Spring with St David’s Day, bluebell season, and the clock change just around the corner, gardens around the world will soon be blooming with colour over the next few months.
From the Zen-like gardens of the Far East, to where the mainland meets the ocean, check out our pick of picturesque gardens, inspiring observatories, and wonderful wildflowers to visit across the globe.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens – Pittsburgh
A green oasis in the middle of Pittsburgh’s vibrant Oakland neighbourhood, Phipps Conservatory encompasses 15 acres, including a 14-room glasshouse, 23 distinct gardens, trails and guest exhibitions showcasing a unique variety of plants.
Orchid and tropical bonsai collections are among the highlights and March see the launch of the Spring flower show ‘Canopy of Colour’ encouraging visitors to look up and look forward to a season of renewal. The exhibition will feature thousands of spring blooms displayed in signature beds and suspended from above. Installations include a rain curtain, motorised windmill, blue sky of hanging baskets and a family of topiary bears all accompanied by a peaceful soundtrack curated especially for the showcase.
Everglades National Park – Florida’s Paradise Coast
Where the mainland meets the ocean, the Everglades National Park is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of the largest wetlands ecosystem in the USA. The wetland provides an important habitat for numerous rare and endangered species of flora (and fauna) as the unique environment is made up of tropical jungle, mangroves and cypress swaps.
The great floral variety of the Everglades is one of the key resources of the park and among the more prominent and colourful plants are bromeliads and epiphytic orchids. Thirty-nine native orchid species can be found in the park, in addition to the rare ghost orchid. Take a guided eco-tours to enjoy the park in all its glory.
Yosemite’s Tuolumne County – California
Comprising the High Sierra, Gold Country and the lion’s share of Yosemite National Park, travellers will enjoy surrounding themselves with nature, natural beauty and endless outdoor recreation in Tuolumne County. Thanks to Yosemite’s varied elevation, wildflowers can be spotted in different parts of the park for nearly six months of the year.
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, located just off the northern entrance to the park is awash with colourful wildflowers and can be enjoyed on one of five hikes. Varying in lengths and difficulty, the Wapama Falls loop will showcase the brightest species, including shooting stars, purple lupines, lilies, yellow monkeyflowers, paintbrushes and poppies – the California state flower.
Rocky Mountain wildflowers of Colorado, USA
Colorado’s alpine meadows are home to some of the most vibrant and colourful collections of wildflowers in the world and offer some truly serene hikes and adventures. On Colorado’s eastern plains, wildflowers begin to spread their petals in April and May. But in the Rocky Mountains in western Colorado, where snow often doesn’t melt completely until mid-June or later, wildflowers usually don’t pop up until July and August.
This late bloom means that the colourful display is often concentrated and profuse. At altitudes ranging from 8,500 to 14,000 feet, the pinnacle of this blooming season is usually around the 4th July. The five most iconic Colorado wildflowers include: Colorado Columbine (the official state flower), Elephantella, Mountain Iris, Woodlily and Fairyslipper.
McKinley Rose Garden – Sacramento, California
The rose, the official flower of the United States, serves as a silent ambassador of peace and a symbol of unity. California’s state capital, Sacramento, is home to a number of rose gardens, the largest of which is McKinley Park’s rose garden. This 1.5-acre garden, created in 1928, features more than 1,000 rose bushes, tree roses, and blooming annuals, with new award-winning varieties planted each year. Benches are situated in strategic locations so one can sit to admire the prized blooms and enjoy the tranquility of the garden.
The garden, which is maintained by volunteers from Friends of East Sacramento, is free for visitors to enjoy. Fans of Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird may recognise the garden as the setting where Danny and Lady Bird confess their feelings for each other.
Parker Lake – Mammoth Lakes, California
Mammoth Lakes is home to incredible mountains, expansive valleys and crystal clear mountain lakes – leaving visitors awe-struck with parks and viewpoints. Parker Lake is a fascinating, wildflower-trimmed trail, tucked in a small canyon overshadowed by the 12,000 ft. craggy peaks of the Sierra Crest. The Parker Lake trail will treat visitors to views of the lunar-like landscape of Mono Lake and nearby Mono Craters, topped off by a colourful array of flowers (especially in late June/early July) before transitioning into a forest of enormous Jeffrey pines and quaking aspens.
THE ISLANDS OF TAHITI
The Water Gardens of Vaipahi
For tropical foliage this spring, the south coast of Tahiti boasts the natural wonder of the Water Gardens of Vaipahi. With several waterfalls and over 75 species of flora and vegetation, all kept fresh by Tahiti’s only fresh water lake, Vaipahi is home to ancient myth. According to legend, the nearby river once played an important religious role because the spirits of the former Teva tribe considered the waters as “the path of purification” for souls.
Biogradska Gora National Park – Montenegro
Located on the Balkan Peninsula and surrounded by natural beauty, Montenegro offers big experiences in a small and accessible environment. Montenegro is home to five national parks that cover a total area of over 1,000km. Home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, one of the last primeval forests in Europe (1,600 hectares) lies in the Biogradska Gora National Park. Although the smallest of the five national parks in Montenegro, the diversity of nature is by far the largest. Located in the northeast, there are 26 different habitats of plants with 220 variations, 150 kinds of birds, 10 kinds of mammals, 86 kinds of trees and in the waters, three kinds of trout with 350 kinds of insects that call the park home.
Much of Biogradska Gora remains untouched and a real USP is the accessibility and location of the lake – right by the entrance. Keen hikers can explore the 3.5km loop, hop on a daily boat tour or take the train. All three activities are highly recommended.
Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa
Kanazawa City is home to the Kenrokuen, an Edo-style garden boasting teahouses, trees, bridges and a range of water features. To avoid being perceived as a threat to the Shogun, Kanazawa’s leaders historically chose to invest their wealth in agriculture and the arts as opposed to military might, resulting in the city becoming one of the most culturally rich areas of Japan. The garden is classified as one of the three most beautiful Japanese gardens, attracting both national and international fame.
Hitachi Seaside Park, Ibaraki
While all eyes will be on the cherry blossoms, Japan has plenty of flora to offer. Hitachi Seaside Park has over 350 hectares of spacious park on the Pacific Coast and has a unique environment that allows for sand dunes, forests, grasslands and springs to coexist. Spring is the perfect time to view flowers such as poppies, daffodils and tulips.