Ahead of the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show, the quintessentially British annual celebration of horticulture and floral design which will delight West London from 21st – 25th May 2019, Hills Balfour rounds up spectacular gardens around the world. From Japanese plum gardens and native Hawaiian botanical parks, to the Chilean flora which has inspired a 2019 RHS Chelsea show garden, here are just some destinations not to be missed in bloom…

Glorious gardens in… 
  1.  Chile
  2.  Nashville 
  3.  Japan with Prince Hotels & Resorts 
  4.  Brecon Beacons 
  5.  Québec in Canada
  6.  Hawai‘i
  7.  Greater Fort Lauderdale 
  8.  Arizona 
  9.  Vienna 
  10. Palm Beaches 
  11. New York City
  12. Trentino in northern Italy 

Chile comes to Chelsea 
As the world’s longest country Chile’s biodiversity is vast, stretching across five distinct geographic and climatic zones. Chile’s flora and fauna is abundant, from the north for the country home to the Atacama Desert, the driest in the world to the Central Valleys defined by its Mediterranean climate and wine valleys and further south to the Lakes and Volcanoes region stretching into Patagonia and the Antarctic Territory. This year, garden designer John Snow in partnership with tour operator Trailfinders, will be showcasing ‘Undiscovered Latin America’ at the RHS Chelsea flower show. The show garden is inspired by the temperate rainforests and National Parks of Chile, best explored on a road trip, and will feature Chilean endemic plants. www.chile.travel/en/ 

Stop and smell the tulips in Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville’s Cheekwood Estate & Gardens come to life in April, as over 150,000 tulips burst into bloom across the estate during “Cheekwood in Bloom”. Snowdrops, crocus, hyacinths, daffodils, magnolias, redbuds and dogwoods also feature throughout the gardens, putting on an unforgettable show as warmer weather and longer days arrive in the city. Throughout April, the gardens are home to a number of activities and events from yoga and brunch to garden tours and live music. This year Cheekwood celebrates the Howe Garden 50th Anniversary, one of the most beloved gardens on the estate. www.visitmusiccity.com 

Sanyo-so gardens in Japan
Sanyo-so is a traditional Ryokan hotel, part of the Prince Hotel & Resort collection nestled in the depth of the Japanese countryside on the Izu Peninsula, just south of Tokyo. The Ryokan features 36 individual guest outhouses designed in the traditional Japanese Sukiya style, with titami floors and delicate sliding doors. Built in 1929, the hotel is set in a grand Japanese garden measuring 9,900 metres squared. Renowned for its year-round beauty, the hotel’s garden is alive with colours of the seasons, offering weeping cherry trees in spring, iris in summer, the changing leaves of maple in autumn and cherry trees and Japanese plum in winter. The hotel is also loved by the Japanese Emperor and Empress, who enjoyed their honeymoon here and their private ryokan overlooked the entire garden. The Sanyo-so gardens are also home to the Izu Nagaoka Onsen (hot spring), with geothermally heated spring water and contains a wealth of restorative minerals. www.princehotels.com/sanyo-so/ 

Victorian garden glory in Brecon Beacons National Park, South WalesBlooming Marvellous! 12 Gardens Around The World Ahead Of The RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Within the Brecon Beacons National Park there are 17 interior parks and gardens of national importance, dating back hundreds of years from the 12th to the 20th century. Craig-y-Nos Country Park, located in the secluded upper Swansea Valley, is a 40-acre Victorian garden with shady woodlands, meadows, ponds and rivers. The historic grounds of Craig-y-nos Castle, once home to the internationally famous opera singer Adelina Patti, are located on the banks of the River Tawe. Home to fashionable Victorian parkland features of the day including walled kitchen gardens, glasshouses, rock gardens, a croquet lawn and a rose garden, visitors can now wander round the gardens freely year-round and enjoy the spectacular colours that change throughout the seasons.  www.breconbeacons.org 

Reford gardens in Québec, Canada
The Reford Gardens in Québec’s Gaspésie region is an enchanting horticultural attraction offering bold and characterful gardens on the Metis River. Elsie Reford first established the gardens in 1926, transforming her fishing camp over three decades into today’s glades, gardens, arbetorium, museum and lodges open for the public to enjoy. This year, Reford Gardens will also celebrate the 20th anniversary of the International Garden Festival. The festival invites designers to create new temporary gardens and interactive spaces open to the public for the duration of June 2019. For the 20th anniversary, the festival will be launching a parallel programme for young designers in their twenties to curate a series of experimental landscapes on display at Reford Gardens, not to be missed by guests discovering Québec’s Maritime regions. www.quebecoriginal.com/en-gb/    

Tropical Hawai‘i haven on Kaua‘i 
The Hawaiian Islands are home to some of the world’s most beautiful gardens, arboretums and landscapes. McBryde Garden, located on the island of Kaua‘i, is a botanical park for threatened and endangered plants of the tropics. Located in the verdant Lawai Valley, it is home to the world’s largest botanical research collection of native Hawaiian species and extensive plantings of palms, flowering trees, ornamentals, orchids and other plants from tropical regions. The landscape is a combination of sprawling expanses and niches of plantings, bordering a meandering stream. The Conservation and Horticulture Center serves as an intensive care unit for endangered species and is an excellent visitor attraction. www.gohawaii.com 

Flamingo Gardens in Greater Fort Lauderdale, Florida 
Flamingo Gardens in Fort Lauderdale is 60 acres of tropical paradise, showcasing more than 3,000 species of rare tropical and subtropical plants. The Arboretum at Flamingo Gardens features hundreds of native and exotic trees, accented with lush under-story plantings, ponds, streams and a waterfall. Flamingo Gardens is also home to the largest collection of towering Florida Champion Trees. The seasonal butterfly and hummingbird gardens attract the Ruby Throat Hummingbird in winter and the South American Malachite butterfly. Guests can also visit to the Flamingo Gardens Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary, home to the largest collection of Florida native wildlife including alligators, bobcats, peacock, and of course, flamingos! www.sunny.org/ 

Scottsdale Arizona, Desert Botanical Gardens
Unlike other botanical gardens, the Desert Botanical Garden in Scottsdale, Arizona gives visitors the chance to experience the beautiful cacti that thrive in the Sonoran Desert. The Desert Botanical Garden showcases more than 50,000 desert plants in outdoor exhibits nestled amid the red rocks of the Papago Buttes. Visitors can stroll through five thematic trails to explore the fascinating beauty of Sonoran Desert plant life, from towering cacti and alluring succulents to brilliant wildflowers and lush trees. On the trails, guests will experience the plants which flourish in one of the hottest and driest parts of the world. The Sonoran Desert in Scottsdale is the only place in the world where the Saguaro cactus grows and blooms mid-May to mid-June, giving Scottsdale visitors the chance to see Arizona’s state flower, the Saguaro Blossom. www.visitarizona.com/  

Imperial parks and vineyards in Vienna
Offering a varied landscape from green parks to tree lined boulevards, Vienna is the only major world capital with an extensive wine growing industry within its city limits. More than half of Vienna’s metropolitan area is made up of green spaces including 280 imperial parks and gardens enriching the cityscape. On the edge of town, the vineyards in the 19th district flourish and the greenery of the Vienna Woods are particularly idyllic, offering wonderful city views to stroll, hike and bicycle. As well as parks, Vienna’s urban farms, allotments and garden shops can now be found in many parts of the city. In the middle of the city ‘The Karlsgarten’ is Vienna’s first display and research garden for urban agriculture, where various types of fruit, vegetables and grains are cultivated. www.wien.info/en  

Escape to the natural world in The Palm Beaches’ Morikami Japanese Gardens
Hailed as a cultural and artistic escape, the Morikami Gardens are a celebration of the natural world.  Situated west from Delray Beach in the heart of Florida’s Palm Beach County, the essence of Japan spans a 16-acre park, boasting a world-class bonsai display, expansive gardens with strolling paths, beautiful lakes teeming with koi and galleries of historical and contemporary Asian art. The wider 200-acre park features nature trails, pine forests and picnic areas. The gardens reflect major periods of Japanese garden design, from the eighth to the 20th century, and serve as an outdoor extension of the museum. According to the garden designer, Hoichi Kurisu, each garden is intended to express the character and ideas of a unique counterpart in Japan. Located in a tranquil natural setting, Morikami invites visitors to explore its many facets and discover Florida’s heritage and its connection with Japan. www.thepalmbeaches.com/ 

In full bloom: New York City
New York City has plenty of green spaces where visitors can find themselves surrounded by flora in bloom, in all of the five boroughs. The Bronx’s public garden, Wave Hills overlooks the Hudson River with paths that wind across a carpet of bright wildflowers in springtime and pools adorned with water lilies and lotus flowers through the summer and autumn. In Brooklyn, visitors flock to Brooklyn Botanic Garden where beauty and education collide, with over 18,000 varieties of plants to discover. In spring, hanami, or cherry-blossom viewing, is at its prime when the garden is overtaken by pink blossoms of more than 200 trees. Alternatively, soak up history and nature at the iconic High Line which is one of the city’s most popular green spaces. Built on a once-abandoned elevated rail line, the green space offers unparalleled views of Manhattan’s far west side with places to sit and people-watch, patches of grass, seasonal blooms and fascinating architectural features throughout. For more information, please visit www.nycgo.com   

Discover spring flower festival in Trentino, northern Italy 
Trentino is the region in northern Italy that runs from the top of Lake Garda into the Dolomites. From the blossoming apple trees which cover the Val di Non in a pure shade of white to the flowering crocuses which turn Mount Casale’s meadows yellow, white and purple, springtime is a beautiful time to explore Trentino and enjoy its countryside trails and paths. The Valle di Ledro, located close to Lake Garda in the south of Trentino, bursts into bloom with more than 1,000 different kinds of wild flowers each spring. The arrival of spring is celebrated with an annual Flower Festival, a popular local fete where traditional mountain foods such as polenta, chops and salamelle sausages are served. This year, the event takes place on Sunday 19th May and visitors are encouraged to walk there from Mezzolago village. For more information, please visit:  www.visittrentino.info/en