Garden Adventures: Escape from Winter Grey

PHOTO: Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens, Coral Gables, Fla.
Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens

Show of hands: Is anyone not ready to come out of hibernation yet? The frozen winter is drawing to a close, and soon the sun’s going to peek out and thaw the land. Just to get you ready, here’s a gallery of gorgeous gardens throughout the Western Hemisphere that will burst into bloom from now through June.

PHOTO: Great Dixter House, Sussex, U.K.
Royal Horticultural Society/Heather Buckley
Great Dixter House, Sussex, England

Heather Buckley, RHS Photographer of the Year (2013), knows what viewers need in a flower close-up: pink petals, happy bees and beautiful, blue sky. This photo of foxgloves goes a long way toward shrugging off winter doldrums.

PHOTO: Sattui, Napa Valley, Calif.
V. Sattui Winery
V. Sattui, Napa Valley, Calif.

Napa Valley is known for its gold-and-purple harvest scenescapes ... but springtime in the valley looks just as gorgeous, in a totally different palette. The picnic area at V. Sattui in St. Helena is a gorgeous hangout spot and one of the few in Napa Valley where visitors can enjoy a casual alfresco meal.

PHOTO: Winter flowers in Coral Gables, Fla.
Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden
Winter flowers in Coral Gables, Fla.

This is what the winter gardens look like up close and in full color in greater Miami: tropical, vibrant, glowing in the sunshine. Ready to invest in that South Florida vacation condo yet? If not, you’re just plain stubborn.

PHOTO: Cherry Esplanade at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, N.Y.
Antonio M Rosario/Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Cherry Esplanade at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, New York

You’ve got to love New York’s abilities to rejuvenate. After 15+ snowstorms, the city faces forward – ready to welcome spring in all its surprising beauty. Case in point: cherry blossom season at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Tourists who can’t believe New York City’s gorgeous springtime potential should book a “Cherry Blossom Immersion” at Kitano New York: revel in the blooms, drink the sake, ride in the limo, fall in love with the city. This is the best season to feel like you’re starring in your own rom-com.

PHOTO: Elizabeth II Botanic Park, Cayman Islands.
Lena Katz
Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, Cayman Islands

Although East Coasters often escape winter in the Caribbean, it’s not like they’re often flying off to some lush garden of Eden. There are only a couple such succulent hideaways. And randomly, one is on Grand Cayman. This not-so-hidden gem comes on like a cruise ship tourist-trap, but as you go wandering through its lush fields and tiny pathways, you can’t help but be spellbound by the gorgeousness.

PHOTO: Chelsea Flower Show, London.
RHS Images
Chelsea Flower Show, London

Speaking of royals, here’s a snap of the Queen Regent of all floral shows, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show on the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Love the red hat amid all the yellows.

PHOTO: Keukenhof Gardens, Holland.
Viking River Cruises
Keukenhof Gardens, Holland

Of all the spring flowers, there’s maybe nothing cuter and more cheerful than the tulip. The stems aren’t pricy, but oh-so-colorful and round and cheerful. Just one bouquet makes the day brighter. A full field of tulips, as seen here on Viking River Cruises’ “Tulips & Windmills” itinerary, is the antidote to 100 (or was it 1,000?) days of winter.

PHOTO: RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Yorkshire, U.K.
RHS Images
RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Yorkshire, England

Tour company Collette recently partnered with Royal Horticultural Society to offer RHS Garden Holidays. In the greenest and most beautiful months, the itineraries take travelers to the Eternal Gardens of Rome, Chelsea Flower Show, pretty-as-a-painting Yorkshire and various other verdant landmarks. This photo captures the daffodil borders in spring at Harlow Carr.

PHOTO: Gothenburg Botanical Garden, Sweden.
Goteborg.com
Gothenburg Botanical Garden, Sweden

A magical green retreat in the middle of a bustling Swedish city, the Tradgarden (in its native language) is a total surprise -- and such a pleasant one when the sun comes beaming happily out around mid-May. Locals kiss off work to lounge on the river banks, take their dogs to the grassy knoll or hang out in the cafes. As they should: Sunny days in Scandinavia are precious.

PHOTO: Garden Wisley, Surrey, U.K.
RHS Images
RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey UK

Wisley is the last word for British green-thumbs. During the winter months, the U.K. may be dreary and gray. But in the spring, Wisley is carpeted with crocuses, rhododendrons, begonias and other beloved blooms. The Laboratory (pictured) is the flagship garden, renowned for its Glasshouse and voluptuous rose gardens.

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