If ever there was a concept of flower tourism, then the cherry blossom season in Japan would take the cake. But as much as we’ve heard of the sakuras, there are other parts of the world that provide equally stunning blooms. Here’s a round-up:
Cherry blossoms, Japan (March-April), and Washington DC, US (March-April)
Thousands of people from around the world flock to Japan to revel in the gorgeous sight of the sakura — cherry blossoms — as it envelops parts of the country during spring. Follow the trail of the pink and white blooms across Japan, as there are specific dates, starting from Fukuoka to Niigata, for hanami (the Japanese word for viewing cherry blossoms). The hanami parties date back to 16th century Kyoto, and, now, there are special pink menus, picnic offerings and cultural events organised for tourists during the season. Gardens are beautifully lit up at night, and the archways form a surreal floral landscape. In Washington, too, the month-long festival is organised to mark the 1912 gift of 3,020 cherry blossom trees from Tokyo. Though, initially, there were 12 varieties, now only two — Yoshino and Kwanzan — dominate the region.
Tulip Garden, Srinagar (April-May)
The Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden of Sringar, Jammu and Kashmir, is nestled at the foothills of the snow-clad Zabarwan Range, on the banks of the Dal Lake. It is the largest tulip garden in Asia, and, usually, a 15-day festival is held during spring, in the months of April and May. Spread over 30 hectares, it is said to hold over 12 lakh plants and almost 50 varieties of tulips. Other flower speices include daffodils, hyacinths and ranunculus.
Bodnant Garden, North Wales (May-June)
Spread over 32 hectares, Bodnant Garden is home to many rare and award-winning champion trees from across the world. It boasts of thousands of species of plants, including around 350 varieties of rhododendrons, tulips, magnolias and daffodils. It is most famous, though, for its laburnum arch, the longest in the UK, which flowers during May-June. The garden has been designed in such a manner that visitors will always have the opportunity to see flowering trees specific to that season.
Valley Of Roses, Bulgaria (May-June)
The Rose Valley in Bulgaria is said to produce almost half of the world’s rose oil. Located near the town of Kazanlak, a month-long rose picking festival is usually held in June. Tourists can join locals in picking roses for distillation or just do a souvenir tour.
Other flower destinations:
Tulip season, Netherlands (March-May); ranunculus flower fields, California, US (March-May); neelakurinji season, Munnar, India (June); lavender fields in Provence, France (June-August).