By: Jessica Azar
In spring, the South comes alive as the weather warms and stunningly beautiful flowers and gardens come. You don’t have to look further than your own backyard to see the world coming back to life, but you can better experience the splendor of the Southern spring by visiting the many flower festivals and showcased gardens that celebrate the season. Here are links to a few places where you can immerse yourself in the best that the South has to offer!
- International Cherry Blossom Festival (Macon, GA) – The festival runs from March 17 to April 3, 2016.. Treat yourself to the incredible beauty of more than 300,000 Yoshino cherry trees in the Macon area and the surrounding events. In 1949 William Fickling, a Macon resident and Realtor, came across the area’s first Yoshino cherry tree in his own backyard. Hebegan planting more Yoshinos and shared cuttings with many other Macon residents. In 1973, Fickling spearheaded an initiative to plant Yoshino cherry trees all over Macon, and in 1982 the Festival was born. It’s now ranked one of the top 20 events in the South and one of the top 50 in the US.
- Francisville Spring Stroll (St. Francisville, LA)-Begun in 2004, The St. Francisville Spring Stroll showcases plantings and landscape architecture that thrive in the semi-tropical environment,, that exists in the Zone 8 and Zone 9 gardening categories. This year’s Stroll is scheduled for April 30, 2016, and will feature four large private gardens tended by master gardeners and the West Feliciana Parish schools’ educational gardens.. Annually gardens are selected and critiqued by Dr. Dan Gill, a respected professor from LSU’s AgCenter.. The event is a fundraiser for local schools, 4H, and the AgCenter.
- Bluebonnet Festival (Chappell Hill, TX)- This is the 52nd year of the Official Bluebonnet Festival of Texas, so declared by the Texas Legislature. It take place April 9-10, 2016. Hundreds of exhibitors will compete in their specialties of gardening, jewelry, home décor, handmade crafts, cooking, and more. Live entertainment takes place throughout the weekend and provides a fun time for families to enjoy the beauty of the breathtaking bluebonnets that adorn the free festival.
- Festival of Flowers (Mobile, AL) – This amazing four-day festival takes place March 10-13 this year and features a variety of events, including the famous Azalea Trail Run. This year’s theme is “Taking Flight with Flowers” and will feature eight acres of exhibits for guests to explore. Be sure to see the amazing “World of Flowers” exhibit, where thousands of blooms have been flown in from all over the world! Drive the 35-mile long Azalea Trail in Mobile and see the extensive blooming beauty of the azaleas as well as beautiful homes and gardens.
- Oakwood Tour and Victorian Tea (Raleigh, NC)- Set in the carefully maintained, historic 19th Century Oakwood neighborhood of Raleigh, this celebration combines a high Victorian tea for guests with a tour of the area’s most stunning private gardens. This year’s Tea and Tour take place on April 30 and May 1. It sells out every year, so get tickets early for this one. Guests are encouraged to wear their tea finery and hats for the event.
- Gardens of Madison County (Madison County, MS) – An annual fundraiser for Madison-Ridgeland Academy, this is a fantastic festival featuring eight gardens with a large variety of things to see, including vegetable gardens, tropical plants, water features, roses, and much more. Unique presentations on cooking, décor, and gardening tips can be found at each of the featured gardens as well as beautiful table displays at each home. This year’s tour will take place April 30 and May 1.
Wherever you travel this spring, be sure to look for the area’s blooming plant life and enjoy the beauty it adds to your surroundings. Ask the local tourist center if there are any noteworthy blossoms to be on the lookout for and where to find them. I promise, it will make your trip more memorable.