This idea has been lolling around in my head for quite some time. The idea of a “Flower Lover’s Bucket List”. A true flower enthusiast already has a running list of “must see” flower places in their head; places that they yearn to visit simply so they can take in the stunning scenery of flowers in full bloom. The fabulous thing about flowers is that they typically exist in more than one country or continent, so this Flower Lover’s Bucket List may be tailored to find locations near you. The following five locations are places I have experienced first-hand, and I’m here to tell you, they deserve to be on your radar to stir up a bit of floral wanderlust.
1. The Poon Hill Loop of the Himalayas in Nepal during rhododendron season
This one comes in first on my list because it was simply one of the most unexpected and magical floral experiences I have ever encountered. As I hiked up to the Anna Purna Base Camp in Nepal, I had seen sparse yet intense rhododendron trees dotting the hillside, however when I got to the summit, I met some fellow hikers who told me about the flowering forest that they experienced on their trail to the top, which was via the Poon Hill Loop. I decided to hike this route back, and my eyes have never had such delight. Imagine rolling forests of pure pink, with petals creating a rosy carpet to soften each step you take. Then drop the crisp, white Himalayan mountains in as a backdrop, with a pure blue sky. Simply stunning. This occurred in mid to late March, which is also the perfect time to take on a trek in the Himalayas because it is not yet “high season” however the weather is perfect. The Poon Hill Loop is also a lovely and shorter 3 day trek, so if you’re new to the trekking game it’s a good place to begin.
2. The Blue Lotus Water Garden outside of Melbourne, Australia
This water lily and lotus garden is a fantastic way to spend a day. I was living in Australia, working at a renowned flower shop in Melbourne, Flowers Vasette, when I learned of the Blue Lotus Water Garden’s existence. The shop I worked at received lotus flowers and pods, as well as waterlilies, from this fabulous flower farm and garden. To my disbelief, I happened to have February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day, off of work, and I had learned that the lotus flowers were at their peak. I seized the day, and figured out how to navigate public transportation to arrive at this magnificent place, just outside of Melbourne, in Warbuton, Australia. It was a hop, skip and a jump, utilizing trams, trains, a bus and my legs to finally arrive at the garden, but when I did, I was glad I put forth the effort, because it was ahhhhmazing. The farm is 14 acres, and has lovely walking paths which traverse ornate bridges to lead you through the blooming lotus plants. There are also several green houses which showcase exotic flowering plants as well as the world’s largest lily species: the Giant Amazon Lily, but the blooming lotus flowers were the true attraction. Imagine thousands of lotus flowers standing tall and dancing in a soft breeze. You can see all stages of life, from the tight buds to the open flower face, to the stunning green pods. It was a day trip that will never be forgotten, and if you find yourself in Melbourne, Australia in early to mid February, definitely take a trip to these gardens.
3. Purple Haze Lavender Farm located in Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula
To my luck, I learned that the state of Washington is known for having lush lavender fields. After enjoying the 2017 AIFD (American Institute of Floral Design) Symposium in Seattle, Washington, I planned a last-minute road trip through the Olympic Peninsula, and around the Pacific Northwest. One of my first stops was at the Purple Haze Lavender Farm, and the farm’s fields were blooming brilliantly. Breathing in the fresh air, laced with a heavenly lavender aroma, was pure paradise. The soft purple all around was as calming as the scent from the flowers, and the farm wasn’t overly crowded as it was early in the season and later in the day. It was early July, and Purple Haze was open for guests to pick bundles of lavender, to roam the rows of flowers, and to enjoy lavender based treats like ice cream and candies. There are lavender fields all around the world, but this one was extra epic because of it’s proximity to the phenomenal scenery of the Olympic Peninsula.
4. Washing DC’s National Monument during Cherry Blossom season
Washington DC is an incredible place in and of itself, with dozens of top-notch museums and national monuments open to the public. Now, combine that with the soft pink blossoms of hundreds of cherry trees and you can understand why this is a place to add to your floral bucket list. When I went, I was on spring break from University, and it was at the end of March and beginning of April. The grounds all around the National Monument were speckled with flowering cherry trees, and they were so soft and billowy that they looked like pink clouds placed on the Washington Monument grounds. Typically everyone thinks of Japan for Cherry Blossoms, but let me tell you, springtime in Washington DC is a true sight to behold.
5. Lupine fields of Northern Michigan
Sometimes we forget to delight in the beauty of own backyards. I was taking a road trip in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan one summer, when I suddenly realized it was lupine season - and they were out in full force. Instagram had shown me the lusty pictures of lupine in New Zealand, with gorgeous mountainous lake backdrops, but as I was driving along on a two-lane highway in Northern Michigan, I was so awestruck at the vast fields of lupine that I simply had to pull over and pause. Ranging in shades from rich purple to light lavender and even precious pink, I couldn’t help but walk amongst the blooming flowers and snap photos a-plenty. Northern Michigan has rugged beauty as well, with rocky outcroppings, dense forests, and the a fantastic freshwater coastline that is both inviting and swimmable.
Written By Holly Haveman, WFC USA
And there you have it. Five distinctly different places that will delight any flower lover or floral enthusiast. Let this list serve as inspiration to find these same flowers when they bloom in a location near you!
(All pictures by me except for Washington DC Cherry Blossoms picture from fodors.com)