“When it is Spring, it is best to believe in something,”* and I believe in celebrating flowers.
Fortunately, I am not alone in this belief. All around the world, flower festivals, home garden tours, and flower shows offer an immersive experience in color, fragrance, form, and design, all in celebration of flowers. I’ve been seeking out these experiences for years, I encourage you to set out on travel adventures to experience these extraordinary events celebrating flowers.
This year in Almere, the Netherlands, the once-a-decade Floriade Expo opens April 14 and runs through October 9. This international exhibition and garden festival features flowers, horticulture, and garden design representative of 40 countries. I was there in 2012, and baring the world going even crazier, I will be there again this year. New growing techniques, Italian Lemons, gardens of Pakistan, roses from Morocco and Orchids of South American will spread over 60 acres with greenhouses and purposely built facilities provide an array of plants and ideas. It is the Olympics of Flowers.
For over 30 years, Canberra, Australia, holds an annual Floriade Expo, celebrating their Spring beginning in October. The community so loves this event that when Covid played havoc with their plans in 2021, organizers distributed 300,000 bulbs and annuals to local schools, community groups, and organizations to celebrate the beauty of the flowers. Plans are underway for the celebration again this year. Flowers, music, food, art, and more flowers are in the works.
The two largest flower festivals in the US are the Philadelphia Flower Show (the longest-running in North America), held in June, and the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival every February.
Both shows feature exhibition gardens, plant sales, demonstrations, art shows, floral designs, and thousands of enthusiastic gardeners.
Individual garden tours let you inside to see home gardens for inspiration and eye-popping delights. Historic Virginia Garden Week is April 23-30, when 42 garden clubs organize home garden tours across the entire state of Virginia. Drive to as many regions of the state as you wish and explore all styles of gardens.
The garden clubs create floral displays for every venue, and the history of the home and landscape designs are endlessly fascinating.
Home garden tours are an annual fundraiser for local communities and you may find them when you are on your way to a different destination. The day I arrived at the Green Bay Botanic Garden in Wisconsin was the day of the local garden tour, and it was a great chance to see the local community and gardens.
You can find flower shows featuring individual varieties of flowers, such as roses, zinnias, or lilacs, around the country. Mackinac Island in Michigan, welcomes Spring with the Lilac Festival in June. The entire island smells of lilacs, fudge, and horses.
Locally my favorite is the Phoenix Chrysanthemum show held in mid-November. Local chrysanthemum growers exhibit their perfect varietal specimens that you will never see in your grocery store floral department. For just a brief weekend event, an assembly of color and form is yours to enjoy as local floral designers create amazing designs featuring mums. It’s impossible to leave without feeling amazed at the varieties.
Flowers are my delight, my passion, and they never fail to attract and amaze me. In a world of stressful news, flowers brighten your view, calm your spirit, and inspire your joy.
I’ve mentioned here only a few of the events I have attended. Here are some links to flower festivals and garden events to consider as you plan to walk among flowers.
*On Flowers, Kathryn Kleiman & Sara Slavin