A little over a month ago, MSN-Travel came up on “my homepage” and had “80 Unreal Places You Only Thought Existed In Your Imagination.” Not surprisingly, a good number of places, represented on their list, had to do with plant material. Since most of our articles are limited to 550-750 words in the Gardener News and a picture is worth 1,000 words, I figured I could tempt your appetite with the names and a brief description of some of those highlighted on their list.
‘The Tunnel Of Love’ is a tree lined romantic railway line located in Klevan, Ukraine. A 3-kilometer section of private railway that serves a fiberboard factory near the town of Klevan. A myriad of plant material woven together that shimmers and comes alive as the train rolls through it. It is said that couples go there and make a wish, if they are sincere in their love, their wish will come true.
‘Deadvlei’ is a white clay pan located inside the Namib-Naukluft Park in Namibia. Also written DeadVlei or Dead Vlei, its name means “dead marsh.” Surrounded by some of the highest sand dunes in the world, there are species of plant material that have perished some 700 years ago. The remaining skeletons of these trees, Giraffe/Camel Thorn tree, Acacia erioloba, are now black because the intense heat has scorched them.
‘The Wisteria Flower Tunnel’ located in the city of Kitakyusha, Japan is home to an incredible 150 Wisteria flowering plants, including 20 different species. The Wisteria Tunnel, Kawachi Fuji Garden’s main attraction, allows visitors to walk thru an enchanted tunnel exploding with color. The end of April and beginning of May is the best time to view this horticultural treat.
‘Dragon Trees,’ Dracaena cinnabari, is arguably the most famous plant of the island Socotra, in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Yemen. Evocatively named dragon’s blood, this tree has been described as “upturned, densely packed crown having the shape of an uprightly held umbrella”(Wikipedia). An evergreen species named for its dark red resin, aka Dragon’s Blood, a substance revered since ancient times. Used to color wool, varnishes and plaster, decorate houses and pottery, for ritual magic and for medicinal purposes, including as an antiseptic, antiviral and for treating tumors.
‘Arashiyama Bamboo Grove’ is one of Kyoto, Japan’s top sights! Almost like standing in another world, beyond anything you think you know or have seen before for that matter. A sprawling bamboo grove that shimmers in the light and sways with the breezes that caress its giant stilts. It is these towering stalks that seem to stretch your sight and maybe your imagination. Built in the 14th century by a shogun to honor the passing of a Japanese emperor, a temple stands amidst the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Surrounded by these majestic giants, it is here where Japan’s history metaphorically links mans’ strength with this plant, making this a true “Bucket List” experience.
‘Glendurgan Gardens’ sit on the shore of beautiful Helford estuary in Cornwall, England. Glendurgan is one of the great sub-tropical gardens, exhibiting exotic trees, shrubs and flowers all nestled in this sheltered valley location. Their massive laurel maze (.75 mile) is an instant hit with visitors of all ages. Designed by owner Alfred Fox in 1833, the maze is designed to resemble a coiled serpent curled up in the lawn. This warm, mild microclimate has ferns, palms, orchids, camellias and rhododendron all living in harmony.
‘The Blue Universe’ consists of about 4.5 million Baby Blue Eyes, Nemophila menziesii, carpeting the hills at Hitachi Seaside Park in Japan. Photographer Hiroki Kondo calls this landscape “the blue universe”, whose flowers peak the end of April to the beginning of May. This California wildflower validates the argument for mass planting!
‘Canola Fields’ is located in Yunnan, China (Luoping County in Qujing Prefecture). Noted for its beautiful spring scenery (May/June) when its fields of canola or rapeseed flowers are in full bloom. A spectacular sea of golden flowers helps amplify the surrounding mountains that are seemingly within reach.
When you Google image these breathtaking places be mindful that you will have to catch your breath. It is amazing to see what nature, with a bit of coaxing by people, can create. Time and energy coupled with passion and an ability to read the terrain properly has given the world many WOW experiences. And just think, I have only touched upon a few of those 80 “Unreal Experiences You Only Thought Existed In Your Imagination.”