CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Monday, March 27, 2017


LONELY PLANET ANYTIME


Arriving at a destination off season when nothing is open or choosing the same week as everyone else to escape to one secluded location can ruin a holiday. It's the perennial dilemma for all fans of travel - where to go when.
You don't want your sight-seeing culture break to be overshadowed by sweltering heat or to miss seeing your favourite animal on safari due to migration.
With this in mind, Lonely Planet has released an invaluable new book, Where To Go When, packed with inspiring photos, expert insight, activity ideas and infographics on climate, transport, budget and attraction highlights for planning a trip every month of the year based on your interests. Read on for some of the monthly highlights.
January
What a way to start the year: Visit Dove Lake, which was formed by glaciation in Tasmania. Behind it sits Cradle Mountain
What a way to start the year: Visit Dove Lake, which was formed by glaciation in Tasmania. Behind it sits Cradle Mountain
The destinations that Lonely Planet recommends travellers head to in January include Uganda, Florida, Lanzarote, Switzerland, Sydney, Slovenia, Kerala in India, Grenada, Honshu in Japan, Guatemala and the Arctic Peninsula.


This month is also the time for nature fans to visit the southern Serengeti in Tanzania to watch thousands of grazing wildebeest or to explore the empty beaches and nature trails in full bloom in Australia's Tasmania.
Other highlights this month include the Hay literary festival in Colombia, cruising through Myanmar under a balmy sun and taking in Vienna's glamorous winter balls. 
February
Follow in Santa's sleigh trails: A visit to Finnish lapland in February is the perfect time to see the spectacular aurora borealis
Follow in Santa's sleigh trails: A visit to Finnish lapland in February is the perfect time to see the spectacular aurora borealis
For February, Ibiza, the Gambia, Michoacan in Mexico, the Indian Ocean, Cambodia, Singapore, Haiti, Venice and Quebec are among the top picks.
Lonely Planet also encourages travellers to embrace the chill in Iceland, Lapland and Andorra this month as conditions are ideal for hiking, skiing and to see the Northern Lights.
The weather, meanwhile, is glorious in Honduras, which offers affordable diving. And it's carnival season in Rio de Janeiro - and the bodegas of Mendoza, Argentina, are open with enticing wine tours and tastings.
March
First splash of spring: Unwind in Tobago at the dreamy Pigeon Point Beach where even the palm trees are laid back
First splash of spring: Unwind in Tobago at the dreamy Pigeon Point Beach where even the palm trees are laid back
Sicily, Cyprus, South Africa, Tyrol in Austria, the Maldives, Chile, Costa Rica, Banff in Canada, Savannah in the US, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Trinidad and Tobago are among the most desirable destinations for March travellers.
Other picks include watching grey whales migrating off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, spotting Shere Khan big cats in Madhya Pradesh, India, or encountering Sichuan pandas in China during this month.
Creative event South by South West (SXSW), meanwhile, will add a crackling energy to Austin, US, in March and Iguazu Falls straddling Brazil and Argentina will be even more jaw-dropping than usual as the waterfall is in full flow at this time of year.
April
A spicy spring escape: Sun, sand and sea await discovery at Thailand's tropical beaches overlooking the Andaman Sea
A spicy spring escape: Sun, sand and sea await discovery at Thailand's tropical beaches overlooking the Andaman Sea
For April escapes, the travel experts suggest Panama, the Phillippines, Hawke's Bay in New Zealand, the Alps, the Lake District, Belize, Melbourne, Brussels, Nepal, St Lucia and Andalusia in Spain.
Cultured travellers can explore Jordan's ancient attractions while camping in the desert at this mild time of year. It's also an inspiring time to see the colourful flowers of sakura (cherry blossom) season in Japan.
Spring is also ideal for driving along California's breath-taking, traffic-free coastal roads and to feel the heat on a thrilling beach break in Thailand during the nation's new year celebrations, Lonely Planet says.
May
A nature lover's paradise, Montenegro has rivers, seas and slopes, ripe for exploration in mild May
A nature lover's paradise, Montenegro has rivers, seas and slopes, ripe for exploration in mild May
May is an idyllic month for shoulder season travel with the Lonely Planet experts selecting Bermuda, Samoa, Morocco, Peru, Cornwall, North Island in New Zealand, Loire Valley in France, Israel, Prague, Cuba, Southern Namibia and the Amalfi coast in Italy as top picks.
The guide book has other picks for this month, too. A nature lover's paradise, Montenegro has rivers, seas and slopes, ripe for exploration in mild May, while it's also a good time to take advantage of the deserted beaches in Spain's Galicia region before the other tourists arrive.
Other highlights of the month include hiking Ihlara Valley in Cappadocia, Turkey, sailing the fjords on the west coast of Norway and hitting the roads of northern Queensland for a picturesque tour. 
June
Shutterbugs can make the most of the long summer days in Orkney, Scotland, and spend the summer solstice on the island
Shutterbugs can make the most of the long summer days in Orkney, Scotland, and spend the summer solstice on the island
Trip suggestions for June include Greenland, Jamaica, Iran, Sardinia, Cape Cod, Lisbon, Yosemite National Park, Bora Bora, the Canadian Rockies, South Luangwa National Park in Zambia and Rwanda.
And this month's family friendly options include riding horses at Montana's ranches, snorkelling at Ningaloo Reef in Australia and watching the turtles hatch in Borneo.
Shutterbugs, meanwhile, can make the most of the long summer days in Orkney and spend the summer solstice among the Scottish island's historic attractions, while cultured holidaymakers can take in the Opera Festival in Verona this month. 
July
Brazil's Pantanal wetland experiences its dry season during this month making it an ideal time to see an array of colourful animals, from toucans and macaws to elusive jaguars
Brazil's Pantanal wetland experiences its dry season during this month making it an ideal time to see an array of colourful animals, from toucans and macaws to elusive jaguars
Ever fancied visiting Mongolia, the Baltic, Alaska, Japan, Zanzibar, the Himalayas, the Azores, Antigua or the Black Forest in Germany? Then July is the month to pencil it in.
And Brazil's Pantanal wetland experiences its dry season during this month, making it an ideal time to see an array of colourful animals, from toucans and macaws to elusive jaguars.  
It's also a delightful month to explore the mountains of the Dolomites and during Australia's winter you can take a cosy, wine-filled trip to Hunter Valley, travel the wild Atlantic way in Ireland or head for the beaches of the Ionian islands. 
August 
August is a gorgeous time to discover Umbria in Italy's rolling landscapes, medieval walled towns and rural retreats
August is a gorgeous time to discover Umbria in Italy's rolling landscapes, medieval walled towns and rural retreats
Mid-summer options recommended by the Lonely Planet experts include Iceland, Zambia, Malawi, Sofia in Bulgaria, Ko Samui in Thailand, Berlin, Nova Scotia in Canada, Sweden, Ecuador, Champagne in France, Turkey and Papua New Guinea. 
August is also a gorgeous time to discover the rolling landscapes, medieval walled towns and rural retreats of Umbria in Italy. Buenos Aires, meanwhile, is hosting its arts festival and the Cook Islands are looking their dreamy best this month.
And adventurous families should head to Pembrokeshire in Wales for surfing, cycling and mountaineering or go on a road trip around the Kimberly in Australia.
September 
You can avoid the crowds by travelling in shoulder season where you'll find deserted beaches in a sun-drenched Corsica
You can avoid the crowds by travelling in shoulder season where you'll find deserted beaches in a sun-drenched Corsica
The Silk Road in central Asia, Costa Brava, Tibet, Georgia, South Korea, the Cotswolds, South Africa, Provence, Arizona, Vermont and Sumatra and Java in Indonesia are all best enjoyed in September.
There are other great options, too. You'll find deserted beaches in a sun-drenched Corsica and can take a moment to appreciate the autumn foliage brightening up Beijing and the Great Wall of China. There's also often an Indian Summer to make the most of in hazy San Francisco.
And it's a thrilling month to go rafting in New Zealand, hiking in Mont Blanc, on safari in northern Kenya, or cruising around the Moselle Valley in Germany. 
October
With Vietnam experiencing monsoon seasons in both the winter and the summer, October has the perfect conditions for a stunning escape to highlights such as Halong Bay (pictured)
With Vietnam experiencing monsoon seasons in both the winter and the summer, October has the perfect conditions for a stunning escape to highlights such as Halong Bay (pictured)
Top picks for October travel itineraries include Fiji, the Seychelles, Slovakia, Lyon, Bolivia, Costa Verde in Brazil, New Mexico, the Scottish Highlands, New York and Taiwan.
And with Vietnam experiencing monsoon seasons in both the winter and the summer, October has the perfect conditions for a stunning escape to highlights such as Halong Bay. 
There's more. 
During this month 'clear mountain views' can be enjoyed on visits to Darjeeling in India and Bhutan and Lonely Planet also recommends Oman as it is blessed with 'mellow weather' and 'a taste of old Arabia'. 
November
Sun-seekers should make a break for Barbados (pictured), Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands in the tail end of the year before the crowds arrive
Sun-seekers should make a break for Barbados (pictured), Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands in the tail end of the year before the crowds arrive
Nicaragua, the Cayman Islands, the Simien mountains in Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Tokyo and Honshu, South Africa, Oregon, Nepal, Dunedin in New Zealand, Ruka in Finland and Hong Kong are attractive vacation destinations for November. 
Sun-seekers, meanwhile, should make a break for Barbados, Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands in the tail end of the year before the other beach bums arrive.
And November is a temperate time to explore Rajasthan and the Golden Triangle and it's cool enough to climb the Mayan ruins at Ruta May in Guatemala. Abu Dhabi might also be an option if you're into Formula One or want to explore the new crop of museums opening there, which include the Louvre and the Guggenheim.
December
If you want to start the new year on a natural high head for  Southern Patagonia, Chile, at the ends of the Earth where the vast landscapes are a hiking paradise
If you want to start the new year on a natural high head for Southern Patagonia, Chile, at the ends of the Earth where the vast landscapes are a hiking paradise
Why not spend Christmas overseas? Lonely Planet recommends St Vincent and the Grenadines, Australia's Sapphire coast, the Andaman Islands, Laos, Senegal, San Sebastian, Micronesia and Tenerife in December.
And this month need not be dreary as there are winter wonderlands to discover in Arctic Sweden, Jasper in Canada, Breckenridge in the US or on the Glacier Express in Switzerland.
Fans of winter markets will be enthralled with Tallin in Estonia's offerings, and Scotland and New Orleans are top destinations for a lively New Years' Eve. Or if you want to start the new year on a natural high head for Morocco's stunning Sahara desert or Southern Patagonia, Chile, at the ends of the Earth. These vast landscapes are a hiking paradise.


Spring has sprung! Cherry blossoms hit peak bloom in Washington DC after half were wiped out by Storm Stella's cold snap



  • Washington DC's annual National Cherry Blossom Festival began on Saturday and will last until April 16
  • Thousands of people came to the US capital's Tidal Basin to see the flowers in peak bloom
  •  Winter Storm Stella and its abruptly freezing weather had wiped out about half of the blossoms mid-March
  • Flowers had bloomed prematurely due to unseasonably warm weather in February and early March 



Following mid-March's bitter cold snap which killed about half of Washington DC's cherry blossoms, the US capital's National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrated the survivors' peak bloom.
The festival which lasts until April 16, saw thousands of nature lovers descend on DC's Tidal Basin to see the famous flowers beginning on Saturday.
Attendee Kadia Pandu told WJLA: 'It brings you that Spring feeling like newness and freshness.'
The National Cherry Blossom Festival began in Washington DC on Saturday and will last until April 16
The National Cherry Blossom Festival began in Washington DC on Saturday and will last until April 16
Thousands of people, including the pair pictured taking a selfie with the Washington Monument in the background, came to the US capital's Tidal Basin to observe the flowers
Thousands of people, including the pair pictured taking a selfie with the Washington Monument in the background, came to the US capital's Tidal Basin to observe the flowers
While about half the blossoms died a couple weeks ago following abruptly cold weather, the survivors were in peak bloom this weekend
While about half the blossoms died a couple weeks ago following abruptly cold weather, the survivors were in peak bloom this weekend
A woman looks for the perfect shot of the blossoms. Festival goers could enjoy the warm weather in DC on Saturday - 78 degrees Fahrenheit
A woman looks for the perfect shot of the blossoms. Festival goers could enjoy the warm weather in DC on Saturday - 78 degrees Fahrenheit
The weather in Washington reached a balmy 78 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday, while the long-term forecast suggests no snowstorms such as Winter Storm Stella.
That bitter cold snap, which affected much of the Northeast on March 14, killed many of Washington's cherry blossoms.
The National Parks Service had said that this past weekend would be when the survivors would peak. 
Freezing temperatures that had abruptly followed unseasonably warm weather had the nation's capital fearful for its more than 3,000 prized Japanese cherry trees, a major tourist draw.
One attendee said the festival 'brings you that Spring feeling like newness and freshness'
One attendee said the festival 'brings you that Spring feeling like newness and freshness'
Some of the cherry blossoms bloomed prematurely following unseasonably warm weather in February and early March, only to die following Winter Storm Stella which hit much of the Northeast on March 14
Some of the cherry blossoms bloomed prematurely following unseasonably warm weather in February and early March, only to die following Winter Storm Stella which hit much of the Northeast on March 14
People walk some of the nation's capital's more-than 3,000 cherry trees on March 26
People walk some of the nation's capital's more-than 3,000 cherry trees on March 26
People stroll among the trees, which were a gift from the mayor of Tokyo in 1912
People stroll among the trees, which were a gift from the mayor of Tokyo in 1912
The mercury dip to about 23 degrees Fahrenheit 'killed virtually all of the blossoms that had reached "puffy white"' - the late stages of the bloom cycle - NPS spokesman Mike Litterst said in a statement. 
Litterst said the other half of the cherry blossoms were at earlier stages in the bloom process, and just five percent of those appeared to be damaged.
Peak bloom - the time when 70 percent of the Yoshino trees are in full flower - around Washington's Tidal Basin was particularly difficult to predict this year because the death of so many blossoms distorted NPS models. 
The trees, pictured out of focus in front of the Jefferson Memorial, were given as a symbol of US-Japanese friendship
The trees, pictured out of focus in front of the Jefferson Memorial, were given as a symbol of US-Japanese friendship
The Washington Monument is pictured behind a sea of pink and white on March 26
The Washington Monument is pictured behind a sea of pink and white on March 26
Two people enjoy a spot of paddle-boating on Washington DC's Tidal Basin, around which the cherry blossoms are planted. In the background is the Jefferson Memorial
Two people enjoy a spot of paddle-boating on Washington DC's Tidal Basin, around which the cherry blossoms are planted. In the background is the Jefferson Memorial
The NPS had formerly expected peak bloom to fall between March 19 and March 22, so it appears the peak occurred just a little bit later..
Hundreds of thousands of people come to the US capital to see the clouds of pink flowers each year. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a top tourist draw, bringing in tens of millions of dollars.
The festival commemorates the 1912 gift of roughly 3,000 cherry trees to Washington by the mayor of Tokyo, as a symbol of US-Japanese friendship.
Ice-covered cherry blossoms are seen near the Potomac River on March 14, 2017 in Washington DC
Ice-covered cherry blossoms are seen near the Potomac River on March 14, 2017 in Washington DC
People skirt the edge of a puddle as they walk around the Tidal Basin under the cherry trees on March 18
People skirt the edge of a puddle as they walk around the Tidal Basin under the cherry trees on March 18
The National Park Service had been expecting peak bloom to fall between March 19 and March 22
The National Park Service had been expecting peak bloom to fall between March 19 and March 22



Magnificent carpets of wild bluebells have sprung up this week, adding beautiful splashes of colour to balmy spring weather.
Photographs taken today in Micheldever Woods, Hampshire, show the flowers in full bloom weeks earlier than expected after an unseasonably warm start to the season.
But the fine weather by much of the country is set to be replaced by April showers this weekend, with forecasters warning Britons 'not to put the cagoules away just yet'. Parts of northern Scotland could even see daytime temperatures drop to 10C by Monday and there is a chance of snow on higher ground.
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Stunning: Magnificent carpets of wild bluebells have sprung up this week, adding beautiful splashes of colour to balmy spring weather
Stunning: Magnificent carpets of wild bluebells have sprung up this week, adding beautiful splashes of colour to balmy spring weather
 Joys of spring: Two dogs bound through the bluebells at Micheldever Woods, Hampshire, where temperatures will reach 14C tomorrow
 Joys of spring: Two dogs bound through the bluebells at Micheldever Woods, Hampshire, where temperatures will reach 14C tomorrow
Beautiful: Photographs taken today in Micheldever Woods, Hampshire, show the flowers in full bloom weeks earlier than expected
Beautiful: Photographs taken today in Micheldever Woods, Hampshire, show the flowers in full bloom weeks earlier than expected
A young owl takes shelter in the bluebells as it waits for its mother to return
Peaceful: Bright purple blooms blanket the ground
Peaceful: A young owl takes shelter in the bluebells as it waits for its mother to return (left) and the bright purple blooms blanket the ground
Balmy weather: Tomorrow is set to be another fine day for many places, although it will be cloudy to start in some central and eastern areas
Balmy weather: Tomorrow is set to be another fine day for many places, although it will be cloudy to start in some central and eastern areas
Change to come: Bluebells in Hampshire today. But the fine weather by much of the country is set to be replaced by showers this weekend
Change to come: Bluebells in Hampshire today. But the fine weather by much of the country is set to be replaced by showers this weekendople enjoy spring blooms and sunshine at Kew Gardens


Bikini ready: Stephanie Hughes, 24, enjoys the sun at the Porth beach in Newquay, Cornwall, where temperatures reached 15C today
Bikini ready: Stephanie Hughes, 24, enjoys the sun at the Porth beach in Newquay, Cornwall, where temperatures reached 15C today


Scottish sunshine: Sixteen-month-old Maltilda Lapkiewicz, left, and her sister Lili, 4, enjoy the sun on Portobello beach, east Edinburgh
Scottish sunshine: Sixteen-month-old Maltilda Lapkiewicz, left, and her sister Lili, 4, enjoy the sun on Portobello beach, east Edinburgh
Splashing around: Summer the dog looks happy to play fetch off Portobello beach
Brave: Joanne Sykes, 29 enjoys a swim the sun
Splashing around: Summer the dog looks happy to play fetch off Portobello beach, east Edinburgh, as Joanne Sykes, 29 enjoys a swim the sun
Sweet treat: Sinead O'Carroll and Zarah Monfatedi enjoy ice cream cones as they make the most of the warm weather on Portobello beach
Sweet treat: Sinead O'Carroll and Zarah Monfatedi enjoy ice cream cones as they make the most of the warm weather on Portobello beach
Sun seekers: Barbara Haya and Gemma Galban kick off their shoes to dip their feet in the sand on Portobello beach, east Edinburgh
Sun seekers: Barbara Haya and Gemma Galban kick off their shoes to dip their feet in the sand on Portobello beach, east Edinburgh
But the weather will start to go downhill on Friday, marking the start of what could be weeks of unsettled weather, according to the Met Office. 
Central and eastern areas of the UK will hold on to some sunshine until later in the day, but there will be two bands of rain bringing wet weather to other areas. 
The forecaster said: 'There will be a band of rain coming into the south west and another coming into the north of Scotland. The fine weather will be squeezed out from two directions. 
Frolicking in flowers: Nine-year-old Cally Victoria smiles with delight as she skips through a  field of rapeseed near Newton Abbot, Devon
Frolicking in flowers: Nine-year-old Cally Victoria smiles with delight as she skips through a field of rapeseed near Newton Abbot, Devon
Snoozing in the sunshine: A sunbather takes a nap on Brighton Pier
A woman relaxes on a deckchair on Brighton beach
Snoozing in the sunshine: A sunbather takes a nap on Brighton Pier, left, as a woman relaxes on a deckchair on Brighton beach
Barbecue weather: A group of friends meet for lunch in the park at Brandon Hill, Bristol, where temperatures will reach 15C tomorrow
Barbecue weather: A group of friends meet for lunch in the park at Brandon Hill, Bristol, where temperatures will reach 15C tomorrow
'Showery rain is working its way south or north east, depending on where you are. Temperatures will be in the high teens, but lack of sunshine means it will feel cooler.'
Forecaster Marco Petagna said there could be a chance of hail or thunderstorms in the south over the weekend.
By Saturday, the high pressure that has brought the recent good weather will have gone. Most of the country will see showers at some point over the weekend, but 'it will not be a complete washout'. 
Most parts of the UK will feel noticeably cooler by Sunday, and there could even be some snow on higher grounds in Scotland by Monday, where daytime temperatures could fall to 10C. In London, temperatures are expected to be around 15C, but will feel cooler in the breeze. 
In full bloom: A young woman walks below blossom on trees in Brandon Park, Bristol, where temperatures reached a high of 17.6C today
In full bloom: A young woman walks below blossom on trees in Brandon Park, Bristol, where temperatures reached a high of 17.6C today
Sunbathing: Making the most of the warm spring weather, a man and a woman lie down on the grass on Brandon Hill, in Bristol, today
Sunbathing: Making the most of the warm spring weather, a man and a woman lie down on the grass on Brandon Hill, in Bristol, today
Picnic: A couple take a break from their country walk to enjoy  lunch in a field at Downshay, Dorset, where temperatures peaked at 19.2C
Picnic: A couple take a break from their country walk to enjoy lunch in a field at Downshay, Dorset, where temperatures peaked at 19.2C
Splashes of colour: Surrounded by broom, three walkers pause to admire the scenery as they walk the Purbeck Way in Dorset
Splashes of colour: Surrounded by broom, three walkers pause to admire the scenery as they walk the Purbeck Way in Dorset
Quaint: A group of ramblers make their way into the picturesque village of Corfe Castle, Dorset, which saw temperatures of 19.2C today
Quaint: A group of ramblers make their way into the picturesque village of Corfe Castle, Dorset, which saw temperatures of 19.2C today
Dazzling: Blue skies were seen over the coast in Portsmouth, Hampshire, today, where people gathered to make the most of the sunshine
Dazzling: Blue skies were seen over the coast in Portsmouth, Hampshire, today, where people gathered to make the most of the sunshine
While this is chillier than the balmy weather we have had recently, the temperatures are not too far off the averages for this time of year. 
Met Office forecaster Alex Burkill said Monday will see more widespread unsettled conditions across the UK, a trend which could hold into the beginning of May. 
He said: 'Looking ahead, it will be windier than of late, particularly in the north. Temperatures are going to be feeling rather cold in the rain and the stronger winds. 
'The theme is going to continue into May, but by the middle of May there will be some settled weather. 
He added: 'That is not to say we won't have some nice days or nice periods of sunshine at times, but we will not have prolonged periods of dry and bright weather.'  
Relaxing: Two young women share a joke as they join other sun-seekers enjoying the weather on the beach at Portsmouth, Hampshire
Relaxing: Two young women share a joke as they join other sun-seekers enjoying the weather on the beach at Portsmouth, Hampshire
Picture perfect: A young girl snaps a photograph of Corfe Castle, Dorset
Vibrant: A train steams past the county's rapeseed flower fields
Picture perfect: A young girl snaps a photograph of Corfe Castle, Dorset, left, as a train steams past the county's vibrant rapeseed flower fields 
Sweeping views: A family look out over the Purbeck Hills, Dorset, today. Temperatures will drop across the country this weekend
Sweeping views: A family look out over the Purbeck Hills, Dorset, today. Temperatures will drop across the country this weekend
Time to think: Resting his bike on the bench behind him, one man enjoys views across Bristol from the city's Brandon Hill this afternoon
Time to think: Resting his bike on the bench behind him, one man enjoys views across Bristol from the city's Brandon Hill this afternoon
Blossom: Trees in Bristol are in full bloom. Unsettled weather is expected to continue through the end of the month and into May 
Blossom: Trees in Bristol are in full bloom. Unsettled weather is expected to continue through the end of the month and into May 
Glorious: Keeping cool in a T-shirt and jeans, a man walks past trees in the park at Brandon Hill, Bristol this afternoon
Glorious: Keeping cool in a T-shirt and jeans, a man walks past trees in the park at Brandon Hill, Bristol this afternoon

Most of us cursed the late spring. For Judith Wilson, however, it was a blessing. Because it finally allowed her 252ft,  20-year labour of love to bloom – in the most magnificent way.
For 14 years, the amateur gardener carefully trained this wisteria to grow along the full length of her wall. Then, for another six years, she waited.
Each spring it tried to bloom, and each spring the flowers were killed off by frost. 
Impressive: For 15 years Judith Wilson, 56, lovingly trained the vine to grow along the full length of her giant garden wall near Witham in Essex
Impressive: For 15 years Judith Wilson, 56, lovingly trained the vine to grow along the full length of her giant garden wall near Witham in Essex
Before: Despite having no gardening training, in 1993 she embarked on the task of trying to get the wisteria to spread across the wall (pictured in 1988)
Before: Despite having no gardening training, in 1993 she embarked on the task of trying to get the wisteria to spread across the wall (pictured in 1988)
Different scene: When Mrs Wilson and her husband moved into their home, Wickham Place Farm, the only thing growing on the wall was ivy
Different scene: When Mrs Wilson and her husband moved into their home, Wickham Place Farm, the only thing growing on the wall was ivy
Until this year, when the delayed spring meant that, for the first time, the whole bush bloomed into a 13ft-high waterfall of mauve.
Mrs Wilson, 56, started tending the wisteria in 1993, to replace the ivy that she and her husband had found growing on the wall when they moved into Wickham Place Farm near Witham, Essex.
‘There was a very neglected wisteria growing on the other side of the wall,’ she said. ‘I began pruning it and training it to grow on this side of the wall.
‘I didn’t know what I was doing, I just read from books what to do. 
‘Year on year it got bigger and bigger. It grew ten feet a year in each direction before reaching both ends of the wall six years ago.
Outstanding: Thanks to the late spring the mauve-coloured Chinese wisteria senensis is covered in flowers across its full length and 13ft height
Outstanding: Thanks to the late spring the mauve-coloured Chinese wisteria senensis is covered in flowers across its full length and 13ft height
Big job: Mrs Wilson spends two whole weeks a year pruning the bush in February and July and replacing 1,000 ties that keep it attached to a wire structure on the wall
Big job: Mrs Wilson spends two whole weeks a year pruning the bush in February and July and replacing 1,000 ties that keep it attached to a wire structure on the wall
Happy: Mrs Wilson, who has four other wisterias, including one which is 100ft long, is a member of the National Garden Scheme and opens her garden to visitors
Happy: Mrs Wilson, who has four other wisterias, including one which is 100ft long, is a member of the National Garden Scheme and opens her garden to visitors
‘It’s been filling out ever since but the flowers keep being killed off by the spring frosts. Last year only about 10 per cent of the flowers bloomed.’ 
Mrs Wilson spends two weeks a year pruning the plant, thought to be one of the longest wisteria in Britain, and replacing the 1,000 ties which keep it attached to the wall. 
She opens her gardens to the public every Friday to raise money for the local hospice. 
Mrs Wilson hopes her beloved plant will stay in bloom for at least another fortnight, as long as the weather stays cool. 
She said: ‘When I walk along and see it, it brings a lump to my throat and I stand there with tears in my eyes. It is so fantastic.’










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