2 March 2012
Spring is very gradually peeking its head over the shoulder of winter. With the arrival of March after a whole extra day of February, we’ve decided to start the celebrations. You say early, we say we’re just getting in there first.
Celebration comes naturally to the Moroccans. And in spring, they get ready to fill the air with the scent of flowers for the annual Rose Festival which take place every May. The three-day Rose Festival’s heart is in the Dades Valley which is affectionately known to locals as the Valley of the Roses. The town of Kelaa-des- Mgouna overflows with rosewater and the festival fills the streets with music, food and celebration. It’s a party not worth missing. Head to the Rose Festival after days exploring Marrakesh and the Toubkal National Park for a nice fragrant finish.
WHERE TO STAY
Start off in Marrakesh and rest your head in the opulence of Riad Farnatchi, right in the heart of the action, you’ll be waited on hand and foot. Not bad.
Once you’ve made your way to Kella-des-Mgouna, the beautiful red brick riad, Kasbah Ait Moussa is the perfect hub from which to join the party. Hole up in their cosy Moroccan rooms, then head out for flower festivities.
INTERNATIONAL PETAL LOVE…
If you aren’t heading to Morocco this spring, there are plenty of other flower-filled festivals throughout the world where you can get your fragrant fill:
THE TOURNAMENT OF THE ROSES, CALIFORNIA
On New Year’s Day, dozens of floats decorated with millions of roses parade through the city of Pasadena. The parade is the opening event before the Rose Bowl – the first American football game of the year.
CORPUS CHRISTI FLOWER FESTIVAL, ITALY
All over Italy, the locals lay down their own kind of carpet. The streets are lined with the intricate designs of the flower carpets that run for hundreds of metres through the towns. Beats the red carpet any day if you ask us.
CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL, JAPAN
As Spring spreads through the land in the Far East, Japan’s trees burst open with the beautiful pink shades of cherry blossoms. There are cherry blossoms around the world, but no sight compares to the blooming of these buds.
MELBOURNE INTERNATINAL FLOWER AND GARDEN FESTIVAL, MELBOURNE
This is ranked as one of the best flower shows in the world and the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. The event is held in the stunning Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens. Australians love their outdoor spaces, so what better way to celebrate it than this.
THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW, LONDON
We couldn’t let this pass without mentioning our own hometown’s most famous flower filled event. The Chelsea Flower Show is great for spotting exotic flowers, exotic fashion sense and some rather eccentric people…
TAKE ME THERE:
If you’re feeling full of spring and flowers, Black Tomato can help you plan a trip to see Morocco’s roses, Italy’s petal carpets or perhaps the grand flower events in Melbourne. So take a trip.
Words by Marianne McPhee