9 Seasonal Blooms Around the World
After the dreary winter months, spring pulls out all the stops in the world’s gardens, hillsides, and even deserts. April to June (in the northern hemisphere) and September to November (in the southern hemisphere) are peak seasons for spotting spectacular wildflowers, as well as strolling among planted beds and relaxing beneath ornamental trees. Whether you’re a garden enthusiast, photographer, or simply in search of some seasonal cheer, here are the top places to see springtime flowers in bloom around the world.
Okinawa, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hokkaido
Arguably spring’s most famous flowering, Japan’s sakura (cherry blossoms) brighten cities across the country from early spring. These delicate pink flowers make their first appearance on the southern island of Okinawa in March before following the season north to Tokyo and Kyoto in April and finally the northern island of Hokkaido in May. If you can’t make it to Japan, Washington DC has its own spring cherry blossom season, featuring trees given to the city in 1912 by Tokyo.
One of the most famous—and most famously painted—gardens in the world, this lush retreat was planned and tended by the Impressionist master Claude Monet at the end of the 19th century. Once a private garden, today it’s one of the most famous sights in Giverny and at its most colorful in spring. Take a day trip from Paris to tour the Japanese-style garden and iconic water lily pond depicted in hundreds of Monet’s later works.
Cape Floral Region
Spring means different months to different hemispheres. At the UNESCO-listed Cape Floral Region, September and October are the best times of year for springtime blossoms. This vast stretch covering 54,000 acres (22,000 hectares) of land from the Cape Peninsula to the north is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, and dazzling fields of wildflowers are easy to admire on a day trip to Table Mountain just outside of Cape Town or to West Coast National Park.
Among Canada’s premier gardens, this vibrant oasis is particularly beautiful in spring when thousands of seasonal blossoms blanket the grounds. One of the most famous attractions near Victoria, the 55-acre (22-hectare) park includes manicured flower beds, lily ponds, and footbridges, as well as a number of themed landscapes. Set just outside the city, the gardens are best visited on a tour that includes shuttle service from Victoria or as part of a day trip from Vancouver.
Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden
When most people think of tulips, Holland comes to mind. Kashmir, however, is home to the largest tulip garden in Asia and hosts an annual Tulip Festival each spring. Visit the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden overlooking Dal Lake as part of a Kashmir tour to admire more than a million tulips from around 65 varieties, in addition to springtime daffodils, hyacinth, and ranunculus blooms—all grown from bulbs originally imported from, you guessed it, Holland.
This isolated high plain set in the Apennine Mountains has been home to shepherds and farmers for centuries, and today it is also one of the top flower-spotting destinations in central Italy. Each spring, the plateau erupts in color as the fields planted with rapeseed, lentils, and sweet clover bloom while poppies and other wildflowers take over plots left fallow. Join a guided hike or e-bike excursion through this pristine alpine countryside—and don’t forget your camera.
Just west of the Andes peaks, Chile’s Atacama Desert is the driest desert on earth—but even here spring showers bring flowers. Visit this arid plateau on a self-drive adventure between September and December after the season’s rains and you’ll be treated to a picturesque vista of blooming wildflowers carpeting this rugged landscape in a field of pink and purple blossoms.
Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve
Set in the western Mojave Desert about 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of Los Angeles, the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is known for its rolling hills that become covered in golden California poppies (as well as countless other native wildflowers) between March and May. The nearby town of Lancaster celebrates the state flower each April with the 3-day California Poppy Festival. Break up your days exploring Los Angeles with a day trip to this unique corner of southern California.
Valley of the Roses
Set along the route between Ouarzazate and Dades in the southern foothills of the Atlas Mountains, the Assif M’Goun River valley has long been Morocco’s hub for commercial rose production. Between April and May, the cultivated flowers reach full bloom and their petals are gathered by local women to be used in everything from cosmetics to pharmaceuticals. Set off from Marrakech to tour this captivating area, infused with the scent of roses for a few magical weeks each year.