You might not think that a Christmas should be celebrated with flowers – but I think differently. I was brought up to love flowers – Mum has always loved her garden and in later life, flower arranging – both doing and teaching and if you ever want to give me anything (apart from the diamonds of course) flowers would be great!
I was up in Chiang Mai for the Christmas weekend – the air was cool (but still not cold enough to warrant a jacket) – staying in the slight excentric family run hotel which overlooks the river Ping and does great breakfasts – and even better has no TV – so I forced myself to get outside and to explore.
I am in Chiang Mai for the marathon – no not to run 42km just the 10km, but I am taking the opportunity for the first time to visit the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2011 – a celebration of all things horticultural and flowered! I catch the shuttle bus out of the city and arrive a huge car park where queues of people are waiting patiently to get through the gates – armed with an entrance ticket and one for the big wheel, I find a map and plan (yes I am planned) my route. I don’t look at my watch for another two and half hours.
First the Orchids for me (and my mum who would love it) – I am still amazed at the beauty and variety of flowers, which in the UK are rare and expensive – large bunches of blue, small yellow, red spidery ones, huge majestic white single stems. Heaven. There is even an orchid jungle – each orchid linked to an animal – cats, deer, snakes….I sent photos to mum!
I want to go on the big wheel, to see the views, but I decide to look at the country gardens first – what kinds of gardens do Kenya, Omar, Netherlands have? Well, Netherlands is tulips and cows and the other deserts and grasses – I like the Nepal and Japan gardens best – simple, fresh. It’s strange; on entering each garden from a country I know I was immediately transported to that place – by smell and texture..
The the big wheel, I share a pod with two Thai men who lean over the rails excitedly taking photos – they then take one of me ….the view of the Royal Pavillion is wonderful – the driveway, the gold and bright red from the poinsettia. I take a closer look when I am on the ground again.
I finish off my visit in a blanket of sunflowers beaming yellow smiles at all who visit
What a wonderful afternoon! - I did my run the next day – not in a personal best, but it was satisfying to know I had celebrated my Christmas with flowers and a run before most people had even woken up!