Beautiful Gardens Around the World

Biltmore - America's largest private house.

Our plan was to visit Biltmore Estate in North Carolina to see the azaleas flowering. David has a soft spot for azaleas. This particular plan also involved blue skies and sunshine. I have a soft spot for not being cold and wet. Unfortunately neither the weather nor the azaleas co-operated. On the day of our visit, in early April, the skies were grey, the weather was cold, there was a constant threat of rain and only a few of Biltmore's azalea bushes had begun to blossom. At least the tulips were flowering. They were a great consolation prize. It is hard to imagine a more perfect flower. There were row upon row of them - vivid yellows, reds and purples all in full bloom challenging the chilly weather to move over and make way for spring.

Kirstenbosch - Is this the world's most beautiful botanic garden?

Sunbird on protea
Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden in Cape Town is one of the great botanic gardens of the world. Nestled against the slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch is 36 hectares of pure flower heaven. Somehow we missed seeing Kirstenbosch on our first trip to Sth Africa -  honestly I don't know how that happened, but this time it was so lovely we went back twice.

Take my advice and go in spring. We visited in the first week of October and then again in the last week. The flowers, especially the magnificent yellow proteas, were slightly better in the first week but any time in October will give you a stunning display.

Wildflowers in Western Australia: Kings Park, Perth.

Kangaroo Paw, Kings Park Festival, Perth
The days might be getting colder in the northern hemisphere - but - it is spring in Australia, and spring means flowers! David and I have flown for five and a half hours across the continent from our home in Sydney to Perth to see one of the best displays of wildflowers on the planet. Western Australia has 12,000 species of wildflowers, over 60 percent of which are found nowhere else on earth.  When you think of the vast expanse of Australia's largest state (2,600,000 sq kms) don't just think red desert and endless open expanses, think magnificent floral tapestries in every colour of the rainbow.