About Ellen Park

Ellen Park

Ellen Park has been gardening ever since she discovered playing in the dirt was more fun than digging in the sandbox. In her blog, Road Trips for Gardeners, she covers the world looking for plant-centric events, flower shows, great gardens and places to see the best things growing.

Latest Posts by Ellen Park

Prince Edward Island’s Points East Tulip Festival

April 8, 2014 by  


canada_pei_upick-tulipsThere’s nothing quite like a tulip festival where you can pick the flowers.

That’s the promise of the Points East Coastal Drive’s You-Pick Tulip Fields from May 9 through 31, 2014.

Head to Balderston’s Farm Market, 10897 Trans Canada Highway, Stratford, Prince Edward Island, Canada, for one of Atlantic Canada’s largest fields of Vanco Farms tulips.

(Photo courtesy of The Points East Tulip Festival)

The Annual North Carolina Azalea Festival

March 19, 2014 by  


The 67th aazalea_pinknnual North Carolina Azalea Festival will be held April 9 through 13, 2014, in Wilmington, North Carolina.

A tradition since 1948, the festival pays tribute to the rich history, arts, culture and natural beauty of Wilmington, North Carolina’s historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach.

Perennial festival highlights include the Cape Fear Garden Club’s Azalea Belles who dress in hoop skirts to greet visitors and honor an era past. There’s also an elaborate three-hour parade April 12, complete with azalea-laden floats, marching bands, clowns, show animals, local pageant winners and celebrity guests, including Queen Azalea.

Signature associated events include the Cape Fear Garden Club’s Azalea Garden Tour April 11 through 13, 2014, one of the South’s longest-running garden tours. This year’s tour, themed “For the Love of Gardening”, showcases 13 private and public gardens that include a mix of established and new landscapes. Garden tour price includes free admission to Airlie Gardens April 12 and 13, 2014.

The Azalea Home Tour April 12 and 13, 2014, showcases nine private homes and a church of historical and architectural interest.

Atlanta Dogwood Festival in April

March 9, 2014 by  


georgia_atlanta_dogwoodThe oldest fine arts festival in Atlanta, Georgia, celebrates that spring beauty — the dogwood tree.

This year’s Dogwood Festival — the 78th — takes place April 11 through 13, 2014, in Piedmont Park.

Everyone fervently hopes the Cornus florida planted throughout the area will be in full bloom — but, if not, there’s still an artists’ market, music, gourmet and festival fare and stage performances.

The juried fine art market features 260-plus artists selected from over a thousand entries. Works included range from painting to jewelry, from fiber arts to sculpture.

The International Stage welcomes hundreds of performers from the many countries making up Atlanta’s multicultural community.

Piedmont Park, Atlanta’s “Common Ground” since 1904, is located approximately two miles northeast of downtown Atlanta. The park runs along 10th Street (a block west of 10th & Monroe Avenue to a block east of 10th & Piedmont Avenue) and Piedmont Avenue (12th & Piedmont to just before 15th & Piedmont) in midtown Atlanta.

Boston Flower and Garden Show

February 19, 2014 by  


massachusetts_boston_flowershow2014The Boston Flower & Garden Show will return to the Seaport World Trade Center, 200 Seaport Boulevard, Boston, Massachusetts, March 12 through 16, 2014, with the theme “Romance in the Garden”.

Set to the backdrop of garden displays by landscape professionals and area nurseries, the 2014 Boston Flower & Garden Show will feature hours of lectures and demonstrations by garden writers, industry experts and creative local chefs, a diverse marketplace featuring thousands of plants and hundreds of the newest gardening products, and new special events designed to illustrate the changing landscape of gardening.

This year’s Florist Invitational is “takin’ it to the streets” – the Bike Lane that is, with an exhibit called “Tour de Romance” using bicycles as container, canvas and inspiration (see photo).

In “Small Garden Vignettes: Amore Al Fresco”, exhibitors are asked to create a small freestanding garden inspired by a scene of romance or seduction from a specific, named piece of literature, a movie or a popular song.

(Photo courtesy of Boston Flower & Garden Show)

The Chicago Flower & Garden Show in Mid-March

February 16, 2014 by  


illinois_chicago_flowergarden-2014Garden shows are one way to hurry springtime. The Chicago Flower and Garden Show, set for March 15 through 23, 2014, on Navy Pier, 600 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, offers all sorts of antidotes to winter — from featured gardens to workshops to cooking demonstrations.

This year’s theme (“Do Green, Do Good”) promises display gardens with blooming perennials, annuals, trees and surprises like waterfalls and ponds.

The show also includes educational, interactive workshops and seminars by leading industry professionals on the Gardening Live Stage, cooking demonstrations by top chefs on the Garden Gourmet Stage, children’s programming in the Kid’s Activity Garden, a display by amateur photographers in the Photography Competition, tabletop ideas by interior and floral designers in the Tablescapes Exhibit, a marketplace with more than 100 exhibitors of green-industry and related goods and services.

The Chicago Flower and Garden Show (which is said to date back to 1847) is supported by the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Choose Chicago, the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, Streeterville Chamber of Commerce, Chicago Gateway Green, Urban Alliance and Navy Pier.

(Photo courtesy of Chicago Flower and Garden Show)

4 Of Scotland’s Colorful & Magical Botanic Gardens

February 8, 2014 by  


You might think that the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh is its only location in Scotland. Nope. It’s just first among four, all in the southern part of Scotland.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, Scotland, is open daily (except December 25 and January 1). It was founded in 1670 as a physic garden (herb garden with medicinal plants) on a mall patch of ground at Holyrood Park no bigger than a tennis court. After intermediate stops, it moved to Inverleith in 1820 and is about a mile from the city center. There are more than 70 acres to explore.

The physic garden’s modern incarnation, the herbarium, is the subject of a tour at 2 p.m. March 14, 2014. Visitors will learn about the diversity and significance of the Garden’s collection of almost 3 million plant specimens. It’s part of the Herbarium Building’s 50th Anniversary celebrations in 2014.

By the way, if you’re headed to Scotland right now — it’s not true that nothing blooms in winter. The Edinburgh gardens have winter-flowering trees and shrubs such as Mahonia and the evergreen Christmas box, a bank of winter-flowering viburnums and a lawn surrounded by Chinese and Japanese witch hazels, which flower from about December to March.

Of course, the gardens come into their own in spring — first with snowdrop trees (Halesia carolina) and rhododendrons, and then with lilacs, primula and Himalayan poppies (Meconopsis).

*The Benmore Botanic Garden, Dunoon, Argyll, Scotland, is set within the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and the Argyll Forest Park, about seven miles north of Dunoon on the Cowal Peninsula. A mountainside garden, it’s open daily from March 1 through October 31. (photo above)

Signature feature is its Victorian Fernery. The one at Benmore was built at the height of the Victorian craze for ferneries. Another highlight is the avenue of Sierra redwoods, a tree native to the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California.

*Dawyck Botanic Garden, Stobo, Near Peebles, Scottish Borders, is about 28 miles south of Edinburgh. An arboretum, it is open daily from February 1 through November 30.

The Swiss Bridge is the Garden’s defining landmark. On one side of the bridge is the Kalopanax, a tree member of the ivy family. Opposite is what’s believed to be one of the original Douglas firs at Dawyck. Upstream are the falls of Scrape Burn which is flanked by a cascade of snowdrops in spring.

*Logan Botanic Garden, Port Logan, Stranraer, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland, is found at the southwestern tip of Scotland: 14 miles south of Stranraer in the Rhins of Galloway. (Note: Logan Botanic Garden is NOT the same place as Logan House Gardens.)

Warmed by the Gulf Stream, southern hemisphere plants flourish in the country’s most exotic garden. It’s open daily from March 15 through October 31 — plus Sundays in February. A walled garden, it includes cabbage palms, Chusan palms and tree ferns. The atmosphere on a sunny day is said to be quite tropical.

Photo credit: Garden Visit.com.

Zilker Garden Festival in Austin Texas

February 5, 2014 by  


texas_austin_zilker-garden-festivalIf plants from central Texas will grow in your neck of the woods, do bring a wagon to the Garden Festival, set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 29 and 30, 2014, in Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road, Austin, Texas.

Vendors from across Central Texas will fill the garden, selling a variety of plants – annuals, perennials, cacti, succulents, vegetables, herbs and tropicals. Festival goers can also shop for garden-themed arts and crafts, ceramic pottery, jewelry, herbal products, baskets, birdhouses and garden benches.

The annual Flower Show in the Garden Center features judged designs and an array of horticultural specimens. This year’s theme is “Grandma’s Kitchen”.

There’ll be live music on the Soundstage in the Rose Garden and gardening talks under the big, white tent next to the Garden Center.

Zilker Garden Festival is co-sponsored by the Austin Area Garden Council and the City of Austin Parks & Recreation Department. The festival is the primary fundraiser for AAGC, and proceeds support Zilker Botanical Garden.

Arkansas Daffodil Festival in Early March

February 1, 2014 by  


arkansas_camden_daffodil_2014Headed south? The 21th annual Daffodil Festival is March 7 and 8, 2014, in Camden, Arkansas.

Begin your adventure in the Great Hall of the First United Methodist Church, 121 Harrison Avenue SW, Camden, Arkansas (look for the Festival banners). Inside, coffee and home baked refreshments are offered by volunteers who show you where to buy the various tickets you’ll need. It’s all located in a room that also will be displaying the Quilt Show, Art Show/Sale and Daffodil Boutique.

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