Home DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT Senior Seeker: Best Places in the World to See Spring Blossoms
Senior Seeker: Best Places in the World to See Spring Blossoms PDF Print E-mail

We were visiting Holland at just the right time. It was the first of May, and we took the bus from Amsterdam about 30 miles out to the famed Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse. Even before we got there, many of the fields along the way were blankets of brilliant yellows, whites, reds, blues and purples, giving us a preview of what was in store for us. Every spring, more than a million visitors from all over the world visit Keukenhof during its two-month blossom time, from the last week in April through June. There are hundreds of varieties of flowers, but the big attractions are the tulips. Hundreds of thousands of bulbs of many bright colors are carefully hand-planted in the fall in beds that stretch for 70 acres of the garden grounds. When springtime comes around, so do the admirers. For more information: Keukenhof, Stationsweg 166a, 2161 AM Lisse, The Nethlands. Go on line to: www.keukenhof.nl.

Cactus flower, Tucson AZ

We live in Tucson, Arizona, and our backyard looks out on a portion of Saguaro National Park. All around us we see the stately saguaro cacti (or is it cactuses?), some as old as 100 years, as they stand ten to 50 feet tall like desert sentinals. In April and May, the saguaro, many other varieties of cactus and other desert plants burst with millions of large and small blossoms of red, orange, pink, blue, lavender, yellow and white.

The park stretches over 100,000 acres, and is home for many other varieties of life. Hikers and joggers covering the miles and miles of trails may encounter doves, cactus wrens, hawks, humming birds and famed star of many animated cartoons, the roadrunners.

Animal life in the desert park features coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, toads, lizards and the piggy-like javalinas. We often see rattlesnakes near the trail, which is fortunate. If you don’t see the rattlesnakes and fail to hear their warning castenets, then you’d better be a very fast hiker or jogger.

If you plan to visit Saguaro National Park, be aware of its very varied climate schedule. From November to April, the nights get as low as 32 degrees, while daytimes are usually in the 50s to low 70s. From May through October, night temperatures are in the 50s, while daytime sunshine can spike from the 90s to as high as 110 degrees. We and other smart hikers, golfers and joggers do our summer desert wanderings between 5 and 9 am.

The address of Saguaro National Park is 3693 South Old Spanish Trail, Tucson, AZ, 85730. Phone: 520-733-5153 and 520-733-5158. Online address: www.saguaro.national-park.com.

We’ve visited London’s Chelsea Flower Show. In 2009 it will be held from May 19 to 23 at the Royal Hospital. It’s strictly a commercial enterprise, where merchants bring in their best blooms, bushes and ornamenal trees and create attractive beds to show them off. There are various entry prices for both businesses, private buyers and tourists. Just about everything on display in the Royal Horticultural Society site is for sale. The annual event is very popular, so anyone who wants to be there during its short three-day schedule should get tickets as far in advance as possible.

The address is Chelsea Flower Show, Royal Hospital Chelsea, London SW3. Phone: 0844 209 0362 (or +44 (0) 844 209 0362 from outside the UK) Contact online: www.rhs.org.uk/Chelsea/2007/index.asp.

Japan is famous for the early spring blossoming of its cherry trees. In Tokyo the best places to see the annual explosions of pink and white are Ueno Park and Koishikawa Botanical Garden. Of course, Washington DC was the happy recipient of Japanese cherry trees in 1912, a gift from the then Emperor of Japan. He was not the same Japanese ruler on December 7, 1941 when Japan delivered some other kinds of gifts at Pearl Harbor. This spring, tourists and Washington residents can enjoy the 3,500 cherry trees in glorious bloom at East Potomac Park and around the Washington Memorial.

Of course, there are many other great spring flower exhibitions throughout the world. If you’re planning to travel in the next several months, check with your travel agency or the internet to find if you can fit any of them in your schedule. It will be well worthwhile to visit a garden, whether just a private one in front of a single house or in glorious display by the thousands at a big exhibition.

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