Four of the best flower festivals for 2022, from the Netherlands to Girona

The world’s ultimate flower festival gets underway this season, celebrating sustainable garden design and innovative horticulture.

By Sarah Barrell
Published 17 Apr 2022, 06:07 BST, Updated 19 Apr 2022, 06:56 BST
Models in the Parsley Box Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.

Models in the Parsley Box Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.

Photograph by RHS

This month, the Dutch town of Almere welcomes the Floriade — the floral spectacle held once a decade in the Netherlands. With over two million visitors expected, it’s one of the biggest — and most thought-provoking — horticultural exhibitions in the world.

‘Growing Green Cities’ is the theme of the event and some 160 acres have been given over to 400 global exhibitors, including cutting-edge garden designers and horticulturalists, who are set dazzle with displays of plants, vegetables, fruit and produce. Blooms are only part of the show, however; many of the exhibitors will showcase their latest green innovations, too, from state-of-the-art solar roof tiles to elaborate, space-saving vertical gardens. 

There’s plenty for travellers to enjoy at the event, held just east of Amsterdam, including national pavilions from exhibitors including Italy, Greece and India; a trip over the site in a cable-car; a visit to a ‘tiny house’ built from over 7,000 tons of recycled plastic waste; or a wander through the incredible biodiversity in the arboretum, showcasing plants we could use as both sustainable food sources and a way of greenifying our cities. Green-fingered gourmets can even sample an array of plant-based dishes, too. 

Sowing the seeds for a greener future, the festival’s legacy will last long after its six-month run in the shape of Hortus, the expo’s urban district where plant-dominated streets lined with eco-friendly homes have already been built — the groundwork for a green residential neighbourhood of 660 homes. Floriade runs from 14 April to 9 October. 

Discover three more of the best flower festivals, below.

1. London: RHS Chelsea Flower Show

24-28 May

Following last year’s one-off autumn event, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show returns to its regular springtime slot. Apart from last year and a hiatus for the two world wars, the show has been held every May since 1913. This year’s show highlights planet-friendly gardening and designs that promote biodiversity. 

2. Pennsylvania: Longwood Gardens

The Orchid House at Longwood Gardens has re-opened after a revamp that’s returned it to its original, 1920s splendour. Two hours west of Philadelphia, Longwood is renowned for its 5,000-strong orchid collection and pioneers projects that are aimed at safeguarding this endangered flower. 

3. Girona: Girona Temps de Flors

7-15 May

May sees the return of Girona Temps de Flors, when hundreds of floral displays adorn buildings, patios and gardens throughout the Old Town and Jewish quarter of this Spanish city. Cultural sites including Girona History Museum and the Arab Baths also offer free entry during the festival.

Published in the May 2022 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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