En español | Across the country the arrival of spring brings bright floral landscapes. These five annual garden tours are particularly lovely opportunities to enjoy its blossoming.
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PHOTO BY: Courtesy Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
Skagit Tulip Festival (Mount Vernon, Washington)
“The Pacific Northwest is a ‘Goldilocks’ zone for tulips,” says Cindy Verge, executive director of the Skagit Tulip Festival, held annually in the Skagit Valley, 60 miles north of Seattle. The area, near the same latitude as the Netherlands, is home to some 350 acres of tulips, which grow beautifully in this marine climate. The self-guided driving tour of the tulip fields takes about 30 minutes, but you can also walk through the rows of brilliant flowering bulbs. The festival includes millions of tulips at RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town, two commercial tulip growers with oceans of tulips. Download a festival map from the website as well as the brochure for events. Due to the pandemic, attendance at those two stops is limited; buy timed entry tickets in advance for RoozenGaarde ($15) and Tulip Town ($10 for adults, including parking, entrance and trolley ride). At Tulip Town you can also buy special passes to learn how to cut your own bouquet or give you access to the fields during morning and evening golden hours for photography.
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PHOTO BY: Courtesy of Garden Club of Virginia
Garden Club of Virginia Historic Garden Week (destinations across Virginia)
The Garden Club of Virginia Historic Garden Week, a tradition since 1927 (excepting 2020, canceled due to COVID-19), is the only statewide house and garden tour in the country. For eight consecutive days when blooms are at their peak in this region, 102 private gardens in 25 communities across Virginia will showcase private landscapes, public gardens and historic sites, from the foothills of the Shenandoah Valley to the beaches of Tidewater, through tours hosted by member clubs. Some tours will offer outdoor demonstrations or porch talks on topics like floral design and composting; you can plot your daily itinerary according to your interests. Tickets prices vary by destination; find details, including a downloadable guidebook, on the website.
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PHOTO BY: Courtesy of Historic Charleston Foundation
Charleston Glorious Garden Tours, and 2021 Festival of Houses & Gardens (Charleston, South Carolina)
Fridays, April 30 – May 21
Known for formal gardens that feature year-round greenery and flowers ranging from azalea to camellia, magnolia, hydrangea, jessamine and roses, Charleston in springtime offers an especially lush display, often in elegant settings. This year, Glorious Garden Tours celebrates the gardens, history, culture and architecture of this beloved Southern city, with guided tours in the Old and Historic District on four Fridays. Each day includes a stroll of four to six gardens from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The guides will show you the fragrant blooms and offer background on the history and architectural features of the stately houses where they’re cultivated. Tickets are $75 per person, with proceeds benefiting Historic Charleston Foundation. Check the website for more details and to purchase tickets.
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PHOTO BY: Courtesy of Visit Frederick Tourism
Beyond the Garden Gates Garden Tour (Frederick, Maryland)
Frederick, founded as a German settlement in 1745, is a must-see in spring. Just an hour’s drive from Washington, D.C., it’s a treat for the history buff. Hours can be spent strolling the 40-block-long historic downtown district lined with 18th- and 19th-century buildings, but it’s also home to the Beyond the Garden Gates Garden Tour, a self-guided walking tour of the charming heart of Frederick when it’s beautifully bedecked in blossoms. The tour winds through or beside 15 public spaces, parks and buildings, along with a few tucked-away gems, fashionably festooned in spring florals. Register online starting in mid-April.
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PHOTO BY: Courtesy of Jennifer McInteer
2021 Mary Lou Heard Garden Tour (Long Beach, California)
June 26 and 27
Mary Lou Heard was a passionate local horticulturalist who created a garden tour in 1994 highlighting the small gardens cultivated by area homeowners. Every year brings more fans to this self-guided tour of “real gardens by real people,” tucked into Southern California’s Long Beach neighborhoods. Thirty home gardens are included this year, including a yard transformed from an overgrown patch of weeds into a Mediterranean paradise and a whimsical fairy garden. No tickets are required for this two-day event (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Donation jars are set at each of the locations, with funds going to the Sheepfold, a shelter that helps women in crisis. Download the guide from the website.
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