Keukenhof, one of the world’s best-known gardens, will soon be in bloom in the Dutch town of Lisse. The famous grounds will welcome visitors for seven weeks starting March 23.

Keukenhof, one of the world’s best-known gardens, will soon be in bloom in the Dutch town of Lisse. The famous grounds will welcome visitors for seven weeks starting March 23. (iStock)

Technically speaking, the start of spring has yet to arrive. But the cultural calendar is rich in upcoming events celebrating flowers and all things green.

Keukenhof in Lisse, Netherlands

The Dutch town of Lisse, located roughly between Haarlem and The Hague, lies in the heart of the Bollenstreek, the name for the part of the country given to the cultivation of flower bulbs. The region’s crowning glory is Keukenhof, one of the world’s best known gardens. For seven weeks in spring, the famous grounds pulls in up to 1.5 million visitors, all eager to cast eyes and snap shots of its dazzling blooms. While tulips are the stars of the show, hyacinths, daffodils, lilies, roses, carnations and irises all add to the garden’s glory. Sculptures, themed gardens, a petting zoo, playgrounds and greenhouses ensure that all comers, no matter their ages or interests, will find their happy place. Keukenhof welcomes guests from March 23 through May 14 in 2023. Tickets purchased online cost 19 euros for adults and 9 euros for ages 4-17. Online:

Floralia in Brussels, Belgium

With the coming of spring, the grounds and greenhouses of the Kasteel von Groot-Bijgaarden (Grand Bigard), a moat-encircled, 17th-century brick castle to the northwest of Brussels’ city center, explode in a riot of color and scent. From the million bulbs planted by the estate’s busy gardeners, hyacinths and daffodils raise their pretty heads, joined by nearly 400 varieties of tulips. The exhibition is made possible through the participation of Dutch bulb producers and exporters eager to showcase their wares. The 20th edition of Floralia Brussels will welcome visitors 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily from April 1-May 4. Adult admission costs 16 euros; children ages 6-14 pay 5 euros. Online:

BUGA in Mannheim, Germany

Spinelli Barracks, a U.S. military base in Mannheim until its return to Germany in 2014, has undergone a dramatic transformation that was years in the making. For roughly six months, the site will host the Bundesgartenschau (German National Garden Show), known as BUGA for short. These horticultural exhibitions, hosted in a different German city every two years, feature landscape architecture and explore concepts such as sustainability and urban renewal. Mannheim’s BUGA 23 stretches over four miles and into the city’s Luisenpark, which can be reached by means of a cable car crossing over the Neckar River. Features of the newly created green corridor include experimental gardens, water features, spaces for special events and a panoramic walkway. More than 5,000 events and attractions, from flower shows to sporting competitions and jazz concerts, are on the agenda. The BUGA 23 can be visited daily between April 14 and Oct. 8. Entry to the park costs 28 euros for adults, while children up to the age of 14 enter for free. Online:

Madeira Flower Show

The Portuguese island of Madeira, located west of Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean, is green and temperate, making it pleasant to visit any time of year. Each year, the arrival of spring is heralded by a celebration of its botanical bounty. The Madeira Flower Show transforms the capital city Funchal’s gardens and public spaces into exuberant displays of color and fragrance. Performances by local groups add a sense of community to the festivities. The festival itself runs April 27-May 21; its highlight event, the Flower Festival Float Parade, takes place April 30. Online:

RHS Flower Shows

The Royal Horticultural Society, better known as RHS, is the largest gardening charity in the United Kingdom. In addition to promoting horticulture through the maintenance of five large gardens, it organizes annual flower shows and festivals attracting droves of visitors and extensive media coverage. These events are of particular appeal to home gardeners, who can find inspiration among its show gardens, floral displays and expert talks, or take home plants purchased on site. Upcoming events include the RHS Malvern Spring Festival, running May 11-14 at the Three Counties Showground in Worcestershire, as well as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, to be held May 25-27 on the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. Online:

Temps de Flors in Girona, Spain

With its charming Old Town crisscrossed by staircases and a well-preserved, 13th-century Jewish quarter, the history-rich Catalonian city of Girona makes the perfect backdrop to this nine-day festival of spring blossoms. Cobblestone alleys, courtyards and landmarks take on a new look when enhanced by stunning floral arrangements. Florists pull out all the stops as they compete for prizes in interior décor, with dozens of establishments such as shops, hotels and restaurants lending their premises as exhibition space. The festival’s 68th edition runs May 13-21. Online:

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now