Spring is when Lake Garda is at its most beautiful. The many gardens and parks offer an overwhelming variety of blooming flowers, shrubs and trees, and there is hardly a region worth visiting more.
Nestled in the Trentino Alps, from March onwards, the landscape offers a beautiful and impressive contrast of snow-capped mountain peaks and Mediterranean flora, starting this beautiful season in the most colourful way.
There are many opportunities for excursions into the fascinating world of plants around Lake Garda and in the immediate vicinity. If you have an eye for the beauty of flowers, shrubs and trees, then a walk around the lake will showcase a huge array of options. Such is the beauty of the region you almost don’t need a special garden or park to discover the stunning spring nature! However, the many botanical gardens around the lake are definitely worth a visit thanks to their unique layout and impressive intensity, and no visit to Lake Garda is complete without seeing them.
A land-art dream: Giardino Botanico Heller
Nearby, almost within sight of the Eden Reserve – Hotel & Villas, in Gardone Riviera’s Via Roma, is the Giardino Botanico Heller, André Heller’s botanical garden. The Viennese artist and singer created a breathtaking botanical collection here, which has been blended with works of art from internationally renowned artists.
All continents are interwoven within this small area, with orchid meadows nestled next to metre-high tree ferns and pomegranate trees. Lush streams feed the many ponds via waterfalls, in which trout and koi carp swim. From Morocco to India, sculptures from every corner of the globe are expertly placed amongst hills of dolomite rocks and ivy columns. Visitors will also be able to encounter installations by artists such as Keith Haring, Susanne Schmögner and Roy Lichtenstein.
Spring on northern coast of Lake Garda: Alpine peaks and Mediterranean flora
The intense difference between rugged alpine peaks and Mediterranean flora is particularly evident in the springtime on the north shore of Lake Garda. High above the small town of Riva del Garda, below the castle of Arco, lies the Parco Arciducale, a very special park with palm trees, sequoias and many other exotic plants. This was a region that over 100 years ago, the high nobility, especially those from Austria, came to relax.
Palm trees have also become very common outside the gardens and parks around the lake. For example, the Chinese hemp palm has become particularly popular as it can tolerate temperatures as low as minus ten degrees. On the eastern edge of Garda lies another gem of Trentino horticultural art, the Giardino di Casa Biasi. This private garden can only be visited by prior appointment, and the owners themselves will guide visitors through the garden and park landscape, which is a collection of many different, specially designed gardens. The rose terrace and the camellia avenue are also wonderful and worth a visit.
The many lemon and orange blossoms exude their intense fragrances from the end of March, ensuring that springtime around Lago di Garda is also a feast for the nose. The blossoming of the queen of climbing plants, with the pretty name Clematis (Alpina and Montana), is also beautiful. Towards the end of April, the intensely violet-flowering climber, the blue-green vine, also begins to emerge.
The Parco Sigurtà is colourful from March to June
A few kilometres south of Lake Garda lies Parco Sigurtà, one of the most extraordinary landscape gardens in Italy. You could spend days in the 600,000 square metre park along the river Mincio and near the small town of Valeggio. At the end of March, over 650,000 tulips bloom there in their bright colours, from yellow and red to dark purple; it is one of the first highlights of the park’s annual flowering calendar. The second follows at the end of April when the iris plants start to spread their blaze of colour.
May belongs to the thousands and thousands of roses with their intense fragrances. Alongside the flowers and shrubs that are in bloom, Parco Sigurtà also offers an impressive array of giant trees, such as the 400-year-old “Great Oak” situated in its extensive lawns. Water lily and carp ponds can also be found in this enchanting park, as well as a labyrinth of yew trees covering two and a half thousand square metres. In addition, there is a small farm with animals you can touch, which is particularly fascinating for children.
The park’s attractions can be explored by bike, a small train or even an electric shuttle. The origins of Parco Sigurtà date back to 1407, but this magnificent park landscape, steeped in history, has only been open to visitors since 1978.
Flora in bloom in the mountain landscapes: the botanical garden of Monte Baldo
Those who come to Lake Garda to celebrate spring in May will find fresh blossoms and greenery. The mountain landscapes around Lake Garda naturally awaken from hibernation a few weeks later, just like the Botanical Garden of Monte Baldo.
Situated at an altitude of 1,200 metres on the eastern shore of the lake, this “Garden of Europe” shows a unique flowering splendour of native plants across 12,000 square metres. After crocus (Crocus Albiflorus) and blue star (Scilla Bifolia), the mountain flowers “Callianthemum Kernerianum” and the splendid primula “Primula Spectabilis” bloom at the beginning of May. At the end of the month, Monte Baldo is the time for the laburnum and peonies, which vigorously unfold their blaze of colour.
As spring arrives on Lake Garda, the many cherry trees shine with the white and peach blossoms enchanting the local landscape with its delicate shimmer.