gardens around the world: 2 posts

Holland Tulip Experience : Visiting Keukenhof Gardens

Who says that tulips have no scent? After spending several hours sticking my nose inside more than three dozen varieties, I discovered that not only are tulips perfumed, their fragrances vary dramatically. Some smell of potato peels and pear brandy, others of cloves soaked in honey and crushed green buds. Lemon, moss, wet earth, rose, carrots, and apricots are some other scents I wrote down in my notebook. A dusky purple hybrid called Cuban Night reminded me of waxed wooden floors. Some varieties may smell lighter than others, but all of them have a distinctive perfume.

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Every spring the flower fields in the Netherlands burst into bloom, transforming the surrounding countryside into a surreal painting of vivid red, yellow, and blue.  At the height of tulip mania in the 17th century, a single bulb could cost as much as a house, but even after the economic bubble burst, the flower remained a distinctive national symbol. Today, the flowering fields draw lots of visitors, and one of the most popular destinations is the Keukenhof, considered to be the world’s largest flower garden.

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Cherry Blossom Showers : Brooklyn Botanic Garden Walk

A path leading up to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Cherry Esplanade opens up on a fairy tale view of graceful alleys. With its soft greens and pinks, the wide expanse looks as if it could have been painted either by Monet or by a 19th century Japanese artist.  Under the cherry tree canopy, which is so thick with blossoms that you catch only glimpses of the sky, the light is caressing and delicate. Suddenly I feel that I need a floaty chiffon dress and a wreath of wild flowers in my hair to properly fit into this sylvan setting. Plenty of girls around me are doing just that and strike nymph-like poses to be captured on film. When the gusts of wind grow stronger, you have a sensation of being inside a snow globe, except instead of snowflakes, you feel the brush of pink petals against your cheeks.

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