Heaven on earth is located approximately 21.8 kilometres north of Canberra, in case you were wondering, and is otherwise known as Tulip Top Gardens.
Each spring, our fair capital has her day in the sun. The streets are lined with blossom trees bursting into life and people come from near and (very) far to see the incredible floral spectacle that is Floriade. Of course Floriade is a wonderful event which is why so many flock to it every year, but I am not one for crowds and in truth tend to find it more than a little overwhelming. Never fear, dear reader, for I have a secret up my panic-prone sleeve...which will now cease to be quite so secret anymore.
And so I escape to Tulip Top Gardens. Set upon ten acres, the gardens are a true oasis amid the usual scenery of grazing paddocks and gum trees. The dusty driveway and makeshift carpark give barely a hint of what lay ahead however upon making your way through the ticketing tent it quickly becomes apparent you have found somewhere truly special.
A winding path leads down to the garden beds and with each gentle breeze the blossom trees overhead shake their petals in magical, snowlike flurries.
Across the bridge, over the tumbling brook and there is such a lot to look at, all the while looking everywhere except in front of you at which point you walk right into the back of someone else. Before you can raise your voice to protest/apologise, you look up to see what brought you both to a sudden halt.
Stretched out before you, as far as the eye can see, is a sea of flowers. Daffodils studded here and there, cheery borders of pansy, bright rows of forsythia and the tulips, oh my the tulips, more tulip varieties than you ever dreamed. Large and small, short and tall, and every possible colour of the rainbow plus a few in between.
Snaking paths lead every which way and every way is the right way. Blossom trees and weeping willows provide ample shade while dappling the sunshine just so. The sounds of the garden are a gentle mix of classical music, bees buzzing, children playing and the soft babble of a waterfall off to the side. Thankfully, time seems to stand still within the garden walls for after exploring every corner, every tree, every garden bed and finding yourself back where you started, you will want to do it all over again.
Yes, heaven indeed.
If you happen to be in the area, the gardens are open daily until 11 October. Be sure to pack a blanket as there are plenty of quiet corners for lingering over a picnic brought from home. Oh, and perhaps a bottle of wine too...