As our wonderful and wild world comes to an abrupt hold, it is only Mother Nature who continues to bloom and if anything, she is blooming better than ever. Yearly there are many flower shows, exhibitions and festivals around the world, of course mainly held during the Spring of the hosting country. This does make visiting the gardens more accessible due to the opposite seasons of the worlds hemispheres. However if you can’t take a trip, thankfully social media can transport us into the gardens beds with an easy swipe of a finger.
What was once the ‘kitchen garden’ of Teylingen Castle is now the very famous spring garden show spanning 8 weeks and show casing 7 million flowering bulbs. The garden was first opened to the public in 1950 and has not looked back since. Of course the main focus is on flowering bulbs, with 800 different tulip varieties on display. There are also sculptures, works of art, flower shows, inspirational gardens, boat trips, bike hire, fields of flowers and even a windmill all in the 32 hectares of blooming beauty.
Arriving at Keukenhof early will mean you avoid some of the 26,000 daily visitors, it is recorded that 1.5 million people visited the garden in 2019. You needn’t worry too much about the day you choose to visit, the bulbs are planted in 3 layers, so there is always something beautiful flowering.
Kuekenhof is normally open from mid March until early May and is not very far from Amsterdam, an easy day trip.
As the self proclaimed ‘most famous flower show on earth’, it has evolved over the 107 years of operation from one single marquee to covering 4 hectares of public grounds and seeing 157,000 visitors over the course of 5 days. The RHS Chelsea flower show was first opened on May 20th 1913 and with only the world wars putting the show on hold it has grown and changed with the times to keep up with the modern take on gardening. This year the designers of the garden had intended to show case how to become a more sustainable gardener focusing on climate change and how to live in harmony with nature in our urban lifestyles. The pavilion would have showcased the best of world wide nurseries who have a wealth of knowledge to share. The house plant studios were to be dressed like every room in a house to show us that no matter the size, light condition or humidity levels we can all have the indoor jungle we so much desire.
The first two days of the flower show is only open to RHS members but the last three days are open to the public, with so many visitors it is recommend to arrive early and be prepared to wander around the area for the entire day. An incentive to stay until closing on the final day is that from 4 pm they being their plant sell off. In an effort to reduce waste at 4pm a bell rings and it is all for one, one for all. You won’t be able to bring all the beautiful plants back to NZ but you may be able to enjoy a gorgeous bunch of flowers for the rest of your stay in London, we know what we would be doing!
Coming closer to home and somewhere that may be more accessible to us all is the Melbourne flower show which is held in one of the most beautiful times of the year, Autumn. The days can still be warm, but not stifling hot and the trees are changing to various shades of a rusty palette. Held over two stories in the exquisite heritage listed Royal Exhibition building and the sprawling Carlton Gardens the show is held for 5 days with the Friday evening open for Gardens by twilight, where you can mingle with friends over a flute of bubbles or a glass of locally produced gin whilst listening to live music. What better way to end a working week.
With a major focus on emerging lifestyle trends, what you can find at the show is how you can maintain an achievable garden, floral fashion parades, work shops and large floral installations among other things to inspire and rouse the inquisitive side of all that attend. Hopefully meaning that you will walk away with more than an arm full of bulbs, tools and garden and floral accessories. With all that walking, exploring and shopping what better way or better place is there to relax amongst the flowers with a high tea. At the Melbourne international flower and garden show you can enjoy the world class food and beverage options showcasing superb local suppliers.
At the moment and for the next wee while we will only be able to look at these gardens from the screen on our devices, but hopefully next year we will be able to at least visit one garden and flower show whether it be within New Zealand or abroad. These are just three of our favourite and I can guarantee you that after a little bit more digging around (pardon the pun) I can not wait to visit and explore; these type of events are a florists dream. I have been very lucky to have spent a day wandering around the Kuekenhof and I would definitely not turn down the opportunity to explore again.