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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Top petal-powered, blooming destinations

Posted: 04/7/2012 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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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.

-- LONGWOOD GARDENS

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

All year round, there's something beautiful to look at with more than 11,000 types of plants. It's like a one-stop shop for all things green. Events range from seminars on garden photography and deer resistant plants to breakfast with the Easter Bunny. The look is distinctly European, while the history is all-American, founded by a Quaker family, then bought by Pierre S. du Pont in 1906. longwoodgardens.org

-- 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 55 acres 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 250 acres, it features grandiose fountains and statuary, yet also quaint spots tucked away from the onslaught of tourists. chateauversailles.fr

-- KEUKENHOF

Holland

What better way to say hello to spring than a parade? On April 12, decorated floats (with flowers, of course) travel 40 kilometres, past the Keukenhof park, touted as the most photographed 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 to prevent a buying spree. rhs.org.uk

-- CANADIAN TULIP FESTIVAL

Ottawa

And let's not forget the wonder in our own backyard. Don't tiptoe through the tulips, just gaze at them lovingly. 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

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 7, 2012 D6

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