Looking for a getaway? Take a look at this portfolio of glorious trips for gardeners in search of winter sun. With few school holidays on the calendar, beaches, hotels, and planes are likely to be soothingly quiet. The weather is also behaving. The monsoon period, which affects India and the Far East, has generally rained itself out by the end of September. From the loveliness of our nation’s capital in spring to exotic gardens in faraway lands, these tours will reward garden lovers with beauty, dramatic vistas, and vibrant nature, all under warm, sunny skies.
Exotic Thailand, Hill Tribes, Elephants, Floating Markets, And Burma!
A 13-day tour that takes you to see gardens in Bangkok, elephant rides in Chang Mai, the Hill Tribe people and Burma
Long seen as the Far East country most reliable for winter sun, Thailand has vast appeal, with some 2,000 miles of shoreline along the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Thailand does not have an old tradition of making domestic gardens, though modern Thais appreciate gardens. Thailand does however have an ancient tradition of making Buddhist temple compounds. It has lush natural fauna and flora. The county is rich in wild orchids, collected by connoisseurs and grown in hanging baskets everywhere. The Bangkok Botanical Gardens are dedicated to the King of Thailand. The different sections of the gardens are separated by water. The Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens are in a spectacular location in the mountains just outside Chang Mai and have a colorful display of Thai flora. We call this a holiday in Paradise. Tour departs on January 9-21, 2017.
Dazzling Dubai and Abu Dhabi
A 6-day holiday that showcases Dubai and Abu Dhabi
There are several reasons that the most glitzy of the United Arab Emirates has become such a haven from the U.S. winter: The architectural ambition of hotels such as the Burj Al Arab, the warm sands of Jumeirah Beach, the trendy bars and eateries that dot the cityscape, and the retail joys offered in vast shopping temples such as the Mall of the Emirates. And, best of all for garden lovers, it has the world’s largest botanical garden. Tour departs March 21-28, 2017.
Who would have thought that the largest botanical garden in the world would be based in the middle of a desert? This is the Miracle Garden in Dubai, which is guaranteed to “WOW” you.
An 8-day tour that includes Rabat, Fez, Marrakesh and Casablanca
You do not need a beach to enjoy winter sun. Marrakesh is proof of that. This fabled citadel on the edge of Saharan sand is a mix of swirling souks, relaxed riads and epic Islamic architecture punctuated with important gardens and all wrapped up in North African mythology. That it rarely drops below 68 degrees F between October and March is almost incidental. This tour departs on March 25-April 1, 2017.
Colorful Costa Rica
A 9-day tour that includes San Jose, Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest and the beaches of Manuel Antonio
Two thirds of Costa Rica is dedicated as National Parks. Costa Rica has nearly half a million plant, animal, and insect species, representing 4% of the planet´s biodiversity. From the mountains to the sea every region has its own microclimate. Monteverde is a cloud forest. Due to its altitude, the clouds penetrate through the forest, creating a stunning canopy rich with larger-than-life plants that are home to butterflies, giant macaws, monkeys, panthers, and much more. This is an ideal holiday for the gardener dreaming of jungles, gardens and sugary beaches. This tour departs March 2-10, 2017.
Hidden Gems of Washington D.C. and the Cherry Blossom Festival
A 6-day tour that explores the highlights of D.C. during the Cherry Blossom Festival
Washington D.C. symbolizes the ideas of our nation’s founders and is one of the most beautiful cities in the world in which to celebrate spring. The broad, tree-lined streets on the banks of the Potomac are punctuated with imposing monuments and brilliant cherry trees. In 1912, Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo City gave the ornamental cherry trees to the city of Washington to enhance the growing friendship between the United States and Japan. This tour departs April 5-10, 2017.
By Susan Martin for Proven Winners,
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners
When you head to the garden center this spring, you'll find more patterned flowers than ever before. All those stripes, speckles and pinwheels are dazzling but it takes a little know-how to pair them with other flowers in container recipes. Here are five creative ways to design spectacular container recipes using patterned flowers.
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