When gardeners vacation, they are excited to see flowers and plants they don’t normally see in their own backyards.

If you are accustomed to seeing petunias, geraniums and marigolds, when you spot a tropical hibiscus or bougainvillea, you grab your camera and click away.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to take a big trip with my wife to the Mediterranean Sea, an anniversary cruise, visiting many ports and Old World cities.

On the cruise ship, we were surrounded by beautiful floral arrangements, and on land, we were treated to even more flowers.

During one stop, others took pictures of an old church while this flower guy snapped pictures of a lemon tree full of fruit in an abandoned lot next door. In Verona, Italy, while most tourists’ attention were glued to Juliet’s Balcony, I noted the varieties of ivies, vines and tropical greenery surrounding the scene and answered questions from other tourists from other countries asking, “I wonder what kind of flower that is?” Or, “Wow, look at that vine, I wonder if it grows in Vancouver?”

Other travelers on our excursions soon sought out my knowledge of all things flora to enhance their (and my) sightseeing experience. I appreciated local guides pointing out area highlights, but my focus was on flowers and plants, and how they related to the area, not only economically, but also historically. Tourism brings in millions of dollars to these destinations, and the beauty of the landscape is part of the equation.