In just a couple of days’ time, the clocks will go forward by one hour marking the arrival of British Summer Time. Sixty minutes that normally go unnoticed as we sleep will be exchanged for longer days, milder weather, and palpable positivity.
Springtime in rural England is something everyone should experience at least once. The perfect spring morning begins with the enchanting sound of jubilant birdsong closely followed by the warm glow of the sunrise. I like to call it nature’s alarm clock. There’s a sweet freshness in the air, the uplifting aroma of blossoming trees combined with lush green grass. And everywhere you look, there are signs of life.
I’m a keen gardener, amateur at best, and between April and September my garden is a veritable haven for nature. My concern for our declining bee population paired with my mild obsession with photographing butterflies means it is filled with the most fragrant, brightly coloured flowers you can imagine. With the temperatures on the up, it’s almost time for me to get back out there.
In celebration of this beautiful time of year, I’d like to present seven of the most impressive spring flower displays from around the world:
Wisteria Tunnel at Kawachi Fuji Gardens, Japan.
Established in 1977, Kawachi Fujien is home to around 150 flowering wisteria trees, some more than 100 years old. Showcasing 22 different species in colours ranging from white to violet blue, this breathtaking display has to be seen in person to be truly appreciated. Try and visit between late April to early May when the annual wisteria festival is in full swing and the flowers are at their very best.
Nemophila at Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan.
Spanning as far as the eyes can see, this veritable sea of Baby Blue Eyes is enough to make anyone think they are dreaming. There are in excess of 4.5 million flowers blanketing the ground, transforming this expansive landscape into a blue haze. One for the bucket list, for sure! If you’d like to visit, this year’s Nemophila festival, Nemophila Harmony, will be taking place from 27th April to 14th May.
Lupins at Lake Tekapo, New Zealand.
The lupin is one of my favourite flowers so to see such a healthy population set amidst a backdrop as picturesque as this is a dream come true for a photographer like me. This particular variety, the Russel Lupin, was introduced to the already stunning Lake Tekapo during the 1950’s, but now grows in abundance, producing a vibrant display from mid November to December.
The appearance of the bluebell is a definitive sign that spring has arrived. This quintessentially British wildflower is instantly recognisable thanks to its sweetly scented, bell-shaped flowers, and can be found flourishing in woodlands during the months of April and May. 50% of the world’s population of bluebells can be found right here in the UK, so you won’t have to go far to find them.
Tulip Fields in The Netherlands.
Now, this is definitely one for the bucket list! An iconic sight during spring, the sprawling flower fields of The Netherlands receive thousands of visitors from all over the world. These famous fields are dominated by a colourful array of tulips that have been planted in such a way that they make for some truly spectacular photographs, both from ground level and the skies above. The flowers reach their prime in April so if you’re planning a visit, this is the time to go.
Cherry Blossom in Washington D.C., U.S.A.
While the vast majority associate these pretty pink and white flowers with Japan, you’ll find a very impressive display in Washington D.C. where spring has sprung, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival is well under way. The festival is held annually in commemoration of Toyko’s Mayor Yukio Ozaki who, on 27th March 1912, gave 3,000 cherry trees to the city to symbolise the blossoming friendship between Japan and the United States. The trees can be seen encircling the Tidal Basin and providing a beautiful pastel canopy over the grounds of Washington Monument. My sources tell me that the highly anticipated ‘peak bloom’ is a mere few days away – a must-see if you’re in the vicinity.
Claude Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France.
Located just 50 miles northwest of Paris, on the right bank of the Seine, lies the quaint village of Giverny; perhaps best known as the location of Claude Monet’s home, and magnificent garden. As you walk around the grounds Monet himself designed, you will no doubt feel you’ve stepped right into one of his paintings. The Japanese footbridge crossing the pond with the water lilies is one such scene. Looking at the sheer quantity and variety of flowers that adorn his garden during the spring (and summer) months, it’s easy to see why so many visitors are attracted to this little patch of paradise year after year. I’d like to visit, too.
There are so many more I could share with you, but I’ll save those for another time. I do hope you’ve enjoyed the article. Please feel free to leave me a comment below, or reach out to me on Twitter, particularly if you’ve visited any of these places yourself.
This post has been updated for 2018.