Scotland’s Botanic Gardens
February 1, 2014 – 2:45 pm | No Comment

Road Trips Gardeners may think that the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh is its only location in Scotland. Nope. It’s just first among four, all in the southern part of Scotland.
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, …

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Flower Tourism in China
April 18, 2014 – 8:28 am | No Comment

china_flower-tourism Special to Road Trips for Gardeners
By Xinhua via eTurbo News

“People love flowers as they represent beauty,” said Xiong Yuanbin of central China’s Wuhan University. “The love for beauty is almost a human instinct.”

Besides the more mundane options of visiting historical or cultural sites, making a trip to see flowers has become quite the rage among the Chinese public in recent years, but turning flower tourism into a world-class item in China is still some way off.

Every Spring tourists congregate at flourishing destinations such as Kunming in the southwest and Wuyuan in the east, to view magnificent spectacles of rape flowers, cherry and peach blossom, and tulips. The improved high-speed railway network makes such trips fast and convenient.

This is a trend local governments are delighted to encourage, as it contributes more to a city than just the obvious economic benefits.

Famed for its cherry trees, for many Wuhan University has become a must-see every March. The campus was crowded with 50,000 visitors a day during the flowering season last year. This year, authorities capped the daily limit at 40,000.

In 2013, Wuhan attracted 170 million domestic and foreign visitors and many came for the city’s “five flowers”: cherry blossom, azalea, lotus, peony and plum blossom. Always keen to maximize the allure of the flowers, the city came up with idea of making the most of arguably China’s best known athlete, tennis player Li Na, by placing a life-size wax statue of her in some popular parks.

Ingenuity aside, flower tourism remains somewhat under-exploited.

“Flower tourism in China is still short-sighted, limited by preoccupation with short-term gains,” said Long Xinmin, president of China Southern International Travel Company.

In contrast, vibrant flower tourism industries such as cherry blossom in Japan, lavender in France and tulips in the Netherlands, nurture brands with an emphasis on eco-protection, an aspect, according to Long, almost entirely overlooked in China. Pictures of domestic beauty spots strewn with garbage after the scourge of visitors often make the post-holiday headlines.

Thanks to this disparity between domestic and international environment, Chinese tourists making overseas flower trips have been on the rise.

“The number of visitors going to France for the lavender season is growing at 30 percent every year,” said Li Tianshu, sales director of Hua Yuan International Travel Co., Ltd.

Many wedding photography agencies said bookings are full for this year’s shooting at Japan’s April cherry blossom and France’s July lavender.

“China’s flower tourism has tremendous potential but it has to look beyond immediate gains and give due attention to the environment. We have to learn to invest our various flowers with distinctive cultural elements,” said Li.

In China, the peony has a rich history and cultural tradition behind it, but not enough is done to make this known to foreign visitors. Consequently, the iconic bloom is unable to serve as a ready source of income, like tulip for the Netherlands, he added.

Season of Blossoms
April 16, 2014 – 8:33 am | No Comment
Season of Blossoms

Road Trips Gardeners have two months to check out what’s blooming in Door County, Wisconsin. Now through June 8, 2014, it’s the Season of Blossoms — the time of year when the landscape comes alive …

Virginia’s Historic Garden Week
April 14, 2014 – 8:42 am | No Comment
Virginia’s Historic Garden Week

Each spring, Road Trips Gardeners are invited into Virginia’s hidden landscapes during Historic Garden Week. This year’s dates are April 26 through May 3, 2014.
Historic Garden Week began in 1927, when a flower show organized …

Healthy Seedlings Mean Healthy Plants
April 13, 2014 – 8:28 am | No Comment
Healthy Seedlings Mean Healthy Plants

Special to Road Trips for Gardeners
“Really healthy plants start with really healthy seedlings,” explains John Kempf, a lifelong Amish farmer. As founder and CEO of Middlefield, Ohio-based Advancing Eco Agriculture, Kempf specializes in optimizing …

Belle Plaine’s “Hidden Arboretum”
April 11, 2014 – 8:04 am | No Comment
Belle Plaine’s “Hidden Arboretum”

The Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine, Kansas, is an unusual facility. Located 20 miles south of Wichita, it is home to massive cypress, oaks and champion Japanese maples planted over the last 100 years by …

The Points East Tulip Festival
April 9, 2014 – 8:21 am | No Comment
The Points East Tulip Festival

There’s nothing quite like a tulip festival where a Road Trips Gardener can pick the flowers.
That’s the promise of the Points East Coastal Drive’s You-Pick Tulip Fields from May 9 through 31, 2014.
Head …

Orchard in Bloom
April 7, 2014 – 8:19 am | No Comment
Orchard in Bloom

If you’re wandering the Midwest the first weekend in May, Road Trips Gardeners, consider a detour through central Indiana, for Orchard in Bloom.
The garden show, now in its 25th year, will take place May 2 …

Texas Bluebonnets
April 4, 2014 – 8:27 am | No Comment
Texas Bluebonnets

The 50th annual Bluebonnet Festival takes places from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 12, 2014, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 13, 2014, in Chappell Hill, Texas.
Like most small town fests, it has …

Poppies in Antelope Valley
April 2, 2014 – 8:37 am | No Comment
Poppies in Antelope Valley

The poppy season is expected to peak in mid-April this year at Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Natural Reserve, located 15 miles west of Lancaster, California, at 15101 Lancaster Road.
The reserve …

Keukenhof — Now!
March 31, 2014 – 8:13 am | No Comment
Keukenhof — Now!

If there’s one bucket list destination for Road Trips Gardeners, it’s got to be Keukenhof. This springtime extravaganza in Lisse, the Netherlands, has to be seen to be believed.
Although it opened last week (March 20, …

Awaken Power Tools for Spring
March 30, 2014 – 8:56 am | No Comment
Awaken Power Tools for Spring

Special to Road Trips for Gardeners
By STIHL, Inc.
It’s time for gardeners to awaken their outdoor power equipment from its winter slumber. Before pulling tools out of storage and putting them to work, they …