April showers usually bring May flowers. But thanks to unseasonably warm temps, spring flowers have sprung a bit earlier this year. From tropical flowers indigenous to Brazil to Dutch tulips and Japanese cherry blossoms, here’s a roundup of some of the best flower festivals and exhibitions across the country.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival
The nation’s capital comes alive with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, hailed as the nation’s greatest springtime celebration. The festival runs each year, March through April, and includes many free, diverse events that promote traditional and contemporary arts and culture, nature and community spirit. To see the blossoms, walk or bike to the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, East Potomac Park (Hain’s Point) and the Washington Monument grounds. Sightsee the historical landmarks and monuments along the way.
Macy’s Flower Show 2012
The yearly Macy’s Flower Show is a great source of green-thumb inspiration. The theme for 2012 is “Brasil: Gardens in Paradise,” and through an array of towering palms and exotic plants and flowers, the exhibit transports tropical flora fans in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis and San Francisco to the lush wonders of the rainforest and the vibrant, modern cities of Brazil. In New York, don’t forget to stop by the festive, Carnival-inspired window displays at the flagship Macy’s in Herald Square after you exit the show. Admission is free, and the show is open during store hours.
See the pretty pink cherry blossoms in bloom during Hanami at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The annual event celebrates the garden’s 220 cherry trees and follows the Japanese tradition of enjoying every moment of the cherry blossom season. During the Sakura Matsuri Festival in April, visitors can participate in tea ceremonies and enjoy drumming and other demonstrations and performances. Admission to the BBG is $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors. For Sakura Matsuri, admission is $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors.
Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
Who says there’s no natural beauty in Las Vegas? Each spring, Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens presents an extravagant floral exhibit like “Dutch Garden,” featuring a 26-foot windmill, 11-foot carousel, live musical performances from 5 to 6 p.m. daily and a floral interpretation of Claude Monet’s Fisherman’s Cottage on the Cliffs at Varengeville. If you can’t make it to Vegas, experience the Conservatory from anywhere in the world on a high-definition streaming Earthcam.
The Biltmore Festival of Flowers
Tiptoe through thousands of colorful tulips at the Biltmore Festival of Flowers, open every year April through mid-May, on George Vanderbilt’s 8,000-acre estate in Asheville, North Carolina. By May, the grounds will also be covered with irises, peonies and acres of azaleas. Plus, festival guests can enjoy live music every weekend starting at 4 p.m., a self-guided visit of Biltmore House, access to the gardens and Antler Hill Village, free wine tasting and guided tour of the winery and free parking. Admission is $59 for adults, $29.50 for children 10 – 16 and free for children 9 and under.