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The world's best flower festivals

Published May 18th, 2015

If, as American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson famously wrote that “Earth laughs in flowers...”, then in certain parts of the globe at certain times of the year, the laughter runs through the colourful streets for all to enjoy. Join us for a tour of the world’s best flower festivals.

 

An American flag at the Pasadena Rose Parade.

Pasadena Rose Parade

Kicking off the biggest and bestest global flower parades for the year, the pretty Californian city of Pasadena hosts the Rose Parade. Held on New Year’s Day each year (or January 2 if New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday), the flower parade forms part of America’s New Year celebrations, preceding Pasadena’s famous New Year’s Day Rose Bowl college football game. In true US style, the Pasadena Rose Parade is bold and dazzling with flower-covered floats, marching bands and horses. Dating back to 1890, the parade is a nationally televised and much loved spectacular.

 

A fish of flowers at Chiang Mai Flower Festival.

Chiang Mai Flower Festival

Thailand’s contribution to the world flower festival circuit takes place on the first weekend of February each year with the bloomin’ wonderful Chiang Mai Flower Festival. Celebrating the area’s well-deserved reputation as a floral heavyweight, there are beautiful displays of chrysanthemums, damask roses, dendrobium orchids and more. The festival lasts for a whole weekend in the Northern Thailand city of Chiang Mai, with the popular Flower Festival Parade being held on the Saturday, and a Miss Chiang Mai Flower Festival competition to crown the festival queen.

 

A hippie van made of flowers at the Netherland's Bloemencorso.

Bloemencorso

April sees an explosion of colour throughout the Netherlands, with their famous tulips, daffodils and hyacinths brightening up the countryside and marking the arrival of spring. The country’s famed bulb-growing region of the Amsterdam hinterland between Haarlem and Leiden is celebrated at this time of year with the Bloemencorso (flower parade) week. Lots of fabulous floral events take place through the week with a different theme directing the artistic parade creations each year.

 

Her Maj loves the Chelsea Flower Show.

Chelsea Flower Show

London in spring is a wonderful place to be, and the city is all abuzz come May each year with the hugely celebrated and legendary Chelsea Flower Show. Held by the Royal Horticultural Society in the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, flower-loving locals and visitors flock in hordes to see the best of British floral décor and garden design. Held over five days, there are highly revered awards for displays of distinction, which get more elaborate year after year - recent highlights included an exotic orchid garden from Taiwan and a garden suspended in the air. No wonder it’s one of Her Majesty’s favourite events.

 

Batalla de Flores

The historic Batalla de Flores dates back to 1908, brightening up the streets of the town of Laredo in northern Spain on the last day of August each year. Think bright processions of floats adorned with elaborate floral décor alongside street stalls, bold brass bands and, let’s face it, mucho sangria thrown into the mix (well, it is Spain!). The day ends with the announcement of the parade float winner plus fireworks over the bay and much revelry on the streets. Olé!

 

Canberra brings the pretty with Floriade.

 

Floriade

Let’s face it, it’s not the most exciting place in the world but we couldn’t write about flower shows of the world without mentioning Canberra’s spectacular effort. Marking the arrival of the Australian springtime each September, Floriade brightens up the streets of the capital with over one million flowers, with the event lasting for 30 days throughout September and October. The festival’s illuminated NightFest runs over four nights with live music, light shows and night markets dotted alongside the magnificent flowerbeds.

 

Amy Dalgleish

Wanderlust pommie, currently living the dream in sunny Byron Bay.