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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

Seven places that offer floral spectacles

Sneha Mahale, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, August 03, 2014
First Published: 17:56 IST(3/8/2014) | Last Updated: 20:21 IST(3/8/2014)

A flowering plant is a momentary source of joy in an urban jungle like Mumbai. But, a visit to any of these places can induce euphoria with the millions of flowers they have to offer during certain periods of the year. 

Tulips, Noordoostpolder, Netherlands:

Though not wildflowers, the Tulip Festival in the Netherlands is a must visit for any nature lover. Dutch tulips can be found all over the country, but Noordoostpolder is a popular option for the sheer numbers on offer. Every year, in April and May, thousands come to see the tulip fields in the region, where bulbs planted a few months ago have filled acres of land with colour. Tourists can choose from hiking, biking, horse carriage rides and covered wagon tours, and combine them with cultural attractions and culinary experiences.  

Bluebonnets, Hill Country, USA: 

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You wouldn’t need GPS or Google Maps to find the official flower of Texas, the bluebonnet. To see these deep blue wildflowers, which grow almost anywhere and everywhere in the Hill Country region of Central Texas, you just need to hire a car from Austin and drive. From late March to mid-April, fields are carpeted while highways in the area are lined with bluebonnets. In fact, so popular is this
species that some farms in the region are even known to grow them. 

Rhododendrons, Himalayan foothills, Nepal:

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From March to May, which happens to be spring in Nepal, a stunning display of floral blooms can be found thriving in the mountainous regions. This is also the best time to see 30 varieties of the country’s national flower — rhododendrons. Several locals turn tourist guides at this time of the year and take travellers up the popular trekking spots that dot the hills and gentle mountain slopes to view these native plants.

Daffodils, Golden Triangle, England:

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Around Gloucestershire — the Golden Triangle is the place to see wild daffodils in full bloom in early spring (from March). The meadows and woods in the region are famous for their display of the bright yellow flower. Bluebells, wood anemones and wood violets can be found in the region. 

Wildflowers, Kaas Plateau, India:

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Called Maharashtra’s Valley of Flowers, the Kaas Plateau in the district of Satara comes alive in the monsoon with wildflowers blooming in the area. Over 1,500 varieties of plants are found on the plateau, and include many species that are not found anywhere else in the world. The best time to visit the spot is from August to October, with September being the right month to see birds like Bonneli’s Eagle and Malabar Crested Lark.

Cherry blossom, across Japan:

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The country’s national flower — cherry blossom (sakura) — has been a crowd-puller for a while now. Millions are known to visit the country in time to see the dainty white and pink flowers in full bloom. And, what adds to their allure is that the blooms of the cherry blossom tree don’t stick around for long — most are on show only for a week. Though the  season begins in March, the date of the first bloom cannot be predicted. But once it does start, the period is celebrated across the country with sakura festivals.

Valley of Flowers, India:

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The UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in the upper reaches of Garhwal, Uttarakhand. The blooming here starts as soon as the snow begins to melt, but the best time to visit would be from August to September, when the monsoon has begun its retreat. Over 300 species of wildflowers can be found in this area, and their myriad shades form a carpet across the valley. The site is usually open to the public from June to October.

Also visit:
Often described as one of the most scenic routes in the world, a drive through South Africa’s Garden Route is a must for the diverse landscapes it offers. The Garden Route National Park is home to more than 30 species of Proteas. Many species of heath or erica can also be found in the park, growing alongside the road. The most obvious is the Erica canaliculata, which has pink bell flowers. Bush-tick berry, identified between May and October by its canary yellow flowers, grows in the sands along the coastal plains.


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