Flower and garden lovers are a special breed. They don’t just stop to smell and explore mother nature’s bountiful gifts, they study them, grow them and will go to the ends of the earth to discover destinations that have mastered the art of cultivating them.
We recently covered the top ten amazing garden destinations every flower lover must see before they move on to the next life, but we thought we’d cull the global landscape again and assemble a seasonal guide to some of the most unique festivals, events and destinations that focus on the glorious beauty of flowers.
All over Japan chrysanthemums are pinched back, primped and lovingly tended to peak in November. You will find displays of them here and in China, and it’s hard to pick one spot to recommend. But try the Bunkyo Chrysanthemum Festival at the Yushima Tenjin Shrine, which is convenient to central Tokyo. The 2,000 plants make an overwhelming display, especially the helmetlike ozukuri specimens: 1,000 flowers on a single stem.
From December 7 to 15, if you happen to be in Singapore, be prepared to see more lights mixed with flowers than you thought possible. The Singapore Garden Festival is held at the National Orchid Garden in the Singapore Botanic Garden. It is the first international garden show in the tropics for top award-winning garden and floral designers. There are landscape designers, fantasy gardens. The December festival attracts crowds but the big competition is the orchid show in October, and the International floral design competition set for 2020.
And now it’s time to make plans for special Christmas displays at the great mansions, when they pull out the best floral dinnerware, load on the poinsettias and orchids, and throw open the doors to let you see this year’s fir-tree theme.
For holiday spirit, it feels good to go to a small town in Pennsylvania, one like Kennett Square, with about 6,000 people, some modest holiday decorations, cheerful store windows, caroling by the Brandywine singers, horse-drawn carriage rides, a couple of weekends of village holiday markets and the fire department brings Santa to have breakfast with the children. Kennett Square has something else: shuttles that will carry you to Christmas at Longwood Gardens, where 200,000 lights turn on at 3 pm every day it’s open, and carolers warble every evening. If this one-two punch doesn’t give you ideas for decorating a table, door or mantel, you aren’t paying attention.
A Guided Age Christmas
One of the many mansion on the Hudson River, the Mills mansion in Staatsburg, NY, about 90 miles north of New York City, decks itself out for the holidays. November 30 there are guided tours of the mansion at a modest fee. The mansion is host to other events during the holiday season, with information at the Dutchess County web site.
Make Your Own Semi-Permanent Bouquet
At a do-it-yourself workshop in New York City, budding floral designers have the opportunity to choose from 15 different kinds of flowers, including two kinds of roses in many colors, and several kinds of fillers, all of which have been preserved to last a year. They look and feel fresh, don’t require water. The fee is $40 a person for the teeny-tiny bouquet above, two “fancy” flowers and lots of filler, plus container. (Note: I did not see that big yellow daisy among the choice of flowers, but who knows?) There are multiple tempting choices for upgrades, all of which involve larger containers. Guests are invited to bring food and alcohol, which will lower your inhibitions against trading up. Sponsored by Petal-Eon. At 1740 Broadway, 15th floor, Tuesday, December 17, 7 to 8:30 pm. You must register in advance.
So if you’re a flower or garden lover, grab your calendars, check out your frequent flier miles, and make some plans. Flowers may be your first love, or maybe they are only one of your interests. Aren’t you lucky?