In Europe and the UK, spring floral festivals are popping up all over. If you're the gardening type, add these to your itinerary for your next big trip, writes Sara Bunny.
Amsterdam Floriade Expo, April 14-October 9
In a city already well-known for flowers, the once-a-decade Amsterdam Floriade Expo is big even by Dutch standards. The horticultural extravaganza features extensive gardens, a 10,000sq m Crystal Palace of floral displays, art exhibits, films and concerts, all with sustainability and environmentally-friendly innovation at its heart. The show is so huge there is a cable car above the gardens so visitors can take it all in, and green-thumbs buy multi-day passes to tackle it in sections. Can't make it to the expo and don't want to wait another decade? There's always Amsterdam's classic Tulip Festival, held each year in early May.
Madeira Flower Festival, May 5-29
On this scenic Portuguese island, the annual flower fest includes lively street parades, flower markets, an exhibition pavilion and a floral-themed fashion show. Steeped in tradition, the event also includes folk dancing and a community flower wall made by local children to symbolise peace. Not keen on flowers? There's even a golf tournament and classic car rally for those with other interests.
Chelsea Flower Show, May 24-28
As the UK's best-known horticultural event, the Chelsea Flower Show began more than a century ago. Each year, categories include container, balcony, show and sanctuary gardens, and the centrepiece Great Pavilion features stunning displays from throughout the world. This year's event includes a houseplant studio, complete with a clinic for diagnosing ill plants, as well as a discovery zone with the latest in horticultural science.
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Brussels Flower Carpet, August 12-15
Every two years, Brussels is transformed into a floral masterpiece, featuring a 70m-long carpet of blooms in the Grand Place Square. The "carpet" includes more than 500,000 begonias and dahlias, and is built by a team of volunteers in less than eight hours. The show also includes live music and fireworks displays, and visitors are encouraged to head up to the balcony of the Town Hall for the best views of the spectacular display.