Calgary Herald

Petal-powered destinatio­ns for spring

- MICHELE SPONAGLE

After a mild winter, spring is here. And with it robin sightings and flowers aplenty. For blossom boosters, here are some not-to-be-missed garden travel spots.

Butchart Gardens Victoria, B.C.

Many Canadians have a love-hate relationsh­ip with Victoria. We’re jealous that spring arrives early, yet we adore the city for its natural beauty and for these stunning, century-old gardens. Another reason to be jealous. There are more than 50 gardeners on staff, making sure all 22 hectares are exquisitel­y manicured with weeds nowhere in sight. butchartga­rdens.com

Chateau de Versailles Versailles, France

Over the top? Yes, just a bit. But these opulent gardens were designed for a king, no less. Louis XIV, a.k.a. the Sun King, wanted something that matched the splendour of his home. Mission accomplish­ed. Spread over 100 hectares, it features grandiose fountains and statues, yet also quaint spots tucked away from the tourists. chateauver­sailles.fr

Keukenhof, Holland

What better way to say hello to spring than a parade?

On April 12, decorated floats travel 40 kilometres, past the Keukenhof park, touted as the most photo- graphed place in the world. It’s huge: 32 hectares, 100 varieties of tulips, seven million flower bulbs and 2,500 trees in 87 varieties. keukenhof.nl

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Surrey, England

Beware. This is the world’s largest flower show and you’ll be tempted to purchase everything. You face a couple of conundrums: How do you ship a 250-kilogram garden statue home and what do you tell Canada customs when they confiscate your not-for-import seeds and bulbs? Just go and be dazzled.

Bury your credit card in the garden for now. rhs.org.uk

Canadian Tulip Festival, Ottawa

Now in its 60th year, this event being held from May 4 to 21 is now the largest of its kind in the world. It began when Princess Juliana of the Netherland­s gifted 100,000 bulbs to Ottawa as a thank-you for providing a safe haven for the royal family during the Second World War. tulipfesti­val.ca

 ?? Peter Wilson, Postmedia News ?? The Keukenhof near Lisse in Holland becomes a paradise of colour, lasting from late March to mid-may.
Peter Wilson, Postmedia News The Keukenhof near Lisse in Holland becomes a paradise of colour, lasting from late March to mid-may.

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