As a garden designer I am always looking for inspiration, and this festival has been on my radar for quite a while now. I manage the Royal Horticultural Society´s London Shows, and as you can imagine the content of these shows is pure horticulture! So this trip was the perfect excuse for me to go and see what they do in Girona.
This festival has been running for over 60 years and attracts thousands of visitors each edition.
The rain seems to be following me wherever I go lately, but I got to enjoy the installations and Girona either way. It is quite surprising that I lived three years in Barcelona and I never visited this city. But it is never too late.
The purpose of this trip was to get a good feel of the organisational side of the festival, the budget, the operations and so on. And ultimately to enjoy the content, which is a very clear picture of the incredible talent in the area.
Historically most of the participants are amateur plant lovers and florists. Nowadays there are many professionals (garden designers, florists, landscapers, architects etc.) that take part.
Once you arrive in Girona, it is obvious what is going on. There are posters and information everywhere, and most shops take part in a competition in which the city selects the best shop window. So every corner has some plants, flowers or some sort of arrangements.
The festival offers a unique opportunity to peek into some private buildings that are not open to the public the rest of the year. And some of them are true architectural treasures.
I randomly met Aniol outside his shop, he mentioned that he had designed one of the courtyards and he took me to meet Angels, a local florist and teacher who is also involved in the organisation of Girona Temps de Flors. They gave me a private tour while they explained all the ins and outs. It was a lucky strike and the only way I would have had such an experience.
On top of that, Angels arranged a meeting in the evening. She wanted me to meet Marc, a landscape designer and the brains behind the big opening, and Robin, who is a very famous blogger who travels the world writing about urban gardens.
Even if you are not into plants, this is worth a visit to Girona. If you are looking for a place to stay, I chose Hotel Carlemany. This hotel is only two minutes away from the train station, and a short walk from the old town. It has a very good restaurant that serves one of the best stakes I have ever had!