By Georgina Cruz
To borrow a phrase from Gertrude Stein, “A rose is a rose is a rose.” And no better time than spring to stop and smell one or two! Each spring it is nice to pause and enjoy a visit to a garden to spend a relaxing few hours enjoying the color, feel and aroma of flowers and of buds so full of the promise of beauty.
Here are four of my favorite gardens and floral festivals that I have visited through the years –one nearby and others abroad:
- Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival at Walt Disney World – Presented now through July 5, this annual event features gorgeous topiaries with fantasy touches that personi-fy popular Disney characters including princesses, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald Duck, the Sev-en Dwarfs and many more. Among new topiaries this year are characters from Disney’s “En-canto,” Mirabel, Antonio, Isabel y Luisa. In addition to the popular and photogenic topiaries the festival features floating gardens, a Butterfly House dedicated to this lovely insect (I never miss it!), flowers everywhere, special food and beverages, gardening workshops, children’s activities, and live entertainment. Many of the events are included in the ticket to the park. For infor-mation, visit EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival | Walt Disney World Resort (go.com).
- Butchart Gardens, Victoria, Canada – This garden is on Vancouver Island, near the pictur-esque city of Victoria, in the beautiful province of British Columbia where the custom is that residents go out and count the flowers each spring (and the total is typically in the billions, with last year’s count being 22 billion blossoms). A 55-acre garden, it was established 118 years ago. It is a peaceful, beautiful place whose fame attracts more than one million visitors each year who come to admire its 900 varieties of floral plants that can be admired from lovely trails and in 26 greenhouses. Info: The Butchart Gardens – Over 100 Years in Bloom – Victoria, Canada
- Keukenhof Gardens, the Netherlands – Located near Amsterdam in Lisse, Holland, this garden, dedicated to tulips and other flowers is Europe’s largest floral park, open from March 23 to May 14 this year. Each spring more than seven million tulip bulbs are planted and bloom in a gorgeous show, with flowers of every color except black (and they are trying to create a black tulip too!). Visitors stroll through the garden and enjoy the sight of fields of colorful tulips that extend as far as the eye can see. Among the themed areas is the “Red Romance Garden” which is considered as one of the most romantic spots in Holland with flowers in red and white, and nobody leaves without taking some photos of the themed garden with the iconic windmill. Info: Welcome to Keukenhof.
- Gardens By The Bay, Singapore – An icon of Singapore, a city-state in Asia, this spectacu-lar garden takes up 249 acres in the Marina Bay Waterfront area, in the heart of Singapore. Among my favorite attractions is the “Supertree Grove,” a group of impressive vertical gardens in the shape of trees that rise from 25 to 50 meters high. In this section in the evenings there is a light and music show. Another of my favorite attractions is the Flower Dome, the largest greenhouse in the world according to Guinness World Records in 2015. It houses thousands of plants and trees including orchids and magnolias from five continents. Other attractions of Gardens By The Bay include themed gardens and conservatories. Info: https://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg.