Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo

Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo

 

Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo is a premium 5 star hotel located in uptown Mejiro in the heart of Tokyo. The hotel is a 3-minute taxi ride or a 10-minute walk from Edogawabashi Station on the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho line.

The hotel has 260 rooms, 36 banquet halls and 12 restaurants.

The gardens have many historical artefacts, such as the three-storey pagoda, a sacred tree reputed to be more than 500 years old and many statues, lanterns and shrines.

The gardens are beautiful in all four seasons.

Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo
10-8, Sekiguchi 2-chome, Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo,
112-8680, Japan

Tel: +81 3 3943-1111
Fax: +81 3 3943-2300
Email: info@hotel-chinzanso.com

British Isles, Castles, Gardens, History and Birdlife Cruise

British Isles, Castles, Gardens, History and Birdlife Cruise

 

ITINERARY

 

Day 1. Arrive Edinburgh and Embark Ship
On arrival in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, you’ll be met at the airport and transferred to the port of Leith. Board the MS Hebridean Sky after 4.00pm, your home for the next 10 nights. After settling in to your suite, enjoy a Welcome Dinner this evening.
Ten Nights: the MS Hebridean Sky (D)

Day 2. Aberdeen and Crathes Castle
Cruising along Scotland’s east coast, over the waters of the North Sea, today you’ll arrive at Aberdeen. Disembark and travel by coach through Royal Deeside, the picturesque valley of the River Dee. Absorb the lovely scenery as you head to Crathes Castle, a 16th-century castle that’s famous for its splendid landscaped grounds and gardens. Return to your ship for lunch before enjoying an afternoon visit to Pitmedden Garden. (BLD)

Day 3. Inverewe Gardens
Today your ship will drop anchor and you’ll enjoy a Zodiac ride to one of Scotland’s premier gardens, Inverewe. This botanical garden in the north-west Highlands, presents an amazing collection of exotic trees and shrubs that are sheltered by well-positioned windbreaks of native pine. After a tour, return by Zodiac to your ship and set off during lunch across The Minch and past the Isle of Skye. (BLD)

Day 4. Isle of Mull, Duart Castle, Isle of Iona
Freedom of Choice. After breakfast, set off to the Isle of Mull where you have two touring options. The first option is to visit a quaint private garden and the second option is Duart Castle, a 13th century clifftop castle set in the Millennium Wood. Later cruise to the Isle of Iona, a place of tranquility where more than 40 Scottish Kings, as well as Kings from Ireland, France and Norway are buried. After exploring Iona Abbey, perhaps take a short walk to the Bay at the Back of the Ocean – named because the next westward stop is North America. BLD

Day 5. Isle of Gigha, Achamore House and Gardens and Isle of Jura
This morning visit the beautiful Isle of Gigha. Privately owned by its 120 inhabitants, the landscape consists of heather-covered hills, deserted sandy beaches, clear green seas and just the one single-lane road, which meanders between quaint cottages and farms. Here, you’ll enjoy time to wander the gardens of Achamore House. Laid out by Sir James Horlick from 1944, this stunning garden boasts a wonderful collection of azaleas, rhododendrons and exotic plants. Returning to your ship for lunch, you’ll then cruise to the Isle of Jura, where you’ll enjoy the opportunity to visit the 200 year-old single malt Scotch whisky distillery. (BLD)

Day 6. Belfast and Mount Stewart, Freedom of Choice.
This morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of Belfast. This afternoon you can choose from two options, either the Titanic Exhibition or Mount Stewart, an 18th century house and garden in County Down. Planted in the 1920s by Lady Londonderry, the gardens today are owned by The National Trust and are of significant international importance. Here, a series of outdoor ‘rooms’ and vibrant parterres contain many rare plants that thrive in the mild climate of the Ards Peninsula. Enjoy time to explore the gardens as well as the opulent house, which boasts a fascinating heritage and contains world-famous artefacts and artwork. Then return to your ship for dinner. (BLD)

Day 7. Portmeirion and Bodnant Garden, Freedom of Choice
This morning you’ll cruise into Holyhead to spend a full day exploring this spectacular part of Wales. Visit Portmeirion, an extraordinary Mediterranean-style village designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975. Choose from a tour of the village and its gardens or the gardens of nearby Plas Brondanw, the family home of Williams-Ellis. Afterwards drive through the famous Snowdonia region to Bodnant Garden, one of the most beautiful gardens in the United Kingdom. Spanning some 80 acres, the garden is set above the River Conwy and offers views to the Snowdonia range. Stroll through the Upper Garden, with its terraces and informal lawns, then continue into the Dell, the wild garden of the lower section formed by the valley of the River Hiraethlyn. Afterwards, return to your ship for dinner. (BLD)

Day 8. Dublin, Freedom of Choice
Your ship will arrive in Dublin Bay this morning and enter the mouth of the River Liffey. From here, you have a choice of three activities. First option is to travel by coach into the Wicklow Mountains and visit the gardens of Powerscourt, with its charming walled garden, striking terraces, fine statuary, varied trees, carefully designed walking paths and more. Then travel to Mount Usher, a lovely romantic garden on the banks of the River Vartry. Second option is to visit the private garden of botanical author, Helen Dillon and Mt Usher Garden. The third option is to visit Helen Dillon’s garden then enjoy a sightseeing tour of Dublin. (BD)

Day 9. Waterford, Freedom of Choice
Your ship will arrive in Waterford on Ireland’s south eastern coast. From here, you’ll travel to Mount Congreve Gardens, a vast and visually inspiring woodland garden set on the banks of the River Suir. Later, select from two touring options. First option is to travel to Kilkenny, one of Ireland’s most historic and attractive cities, and visit Kilkenny Castle and the design centre before returning to Waterford. The second option is to remain in County Waterford for a visit to Lismore Castle, which features the oldest continually cultivated gardens in Ireland, followed by a tour of the world-famous Waterford Crystal Factory. (BLD)

Day 10. Isles of Scilly and Tresco
Today will see you cruising amid the beautiful Isles of Scilly, an archipelago off Great Britain’s south western tip. Disembark on the island of Tresco, considered by many to be the most attractive of the islands. It is leased by the Dorrien-Smith family, who have created a wonderful 40 acre sub-tropical garden near their Tresco Abbey home. You’ll have the opportunity to go for a relaxing stroll along the traffic-free lanes and wander along one of the lovely white-sand beaches where the sea colour has more in common with the Aegean than the North Atlantic. Back on board for lunch and afternoon tea before a special Farewell Dinner. (BLD)

Day 11. Portsmouth and Arrive London
After breakfast this morning, you’ll disembark the MS Hebridean Sky in the English waterfront city of Portsmouth. From here, you’ll be transferred by coach to London, arriving at Heathrow Airport at around 12.30pm or the St James Court Hotel which is in Central London at around 1.30pm. (B)

Birdlife of the British Isles
While taking in the spectacular coastal scenery of the British Isles, you’ll be joined by an ornithologist, who will share their expertise on the many species of birds that call the British Isles home. This is the season when they are at their most prolific.

Small Ship Cruising with Botanica
As you uncover the delights of the British Isles, you’ll enjoy a truly intimate and unique small ship cruising experience aboard the MS Hebridean Sky. Experience great hospitality from the moment you step on board and relax, knowing you only have to unpack once before unwinding in your spacious home-away-from-home. While taking in the spectacular coastal scenery of the British Isles, you’ll be joined by expert onboard lecturers, including a dedicated ornithologist, who will share their expertise on the many species of birds that call the British Isles home, as well as history and garden lectures.

Monty DonSpecial Guest Speaker – Monty Don
Garden author, journalist and presenter, Monty Don will join your cruise where he will conduct an informative lecture.

This tour can be combined with other Botanica tours:

· Loire Valley & Chelsea Flower Show (BTLVC9)
· British Isles & Cornwall (BTBNCC15)
· London & Chelsea Flower Show (BTCFS5)

Spring Gardens of France

Spring Gardens of France

 

Experience the romance, beauty and grandeur of France with remarkable gardens, dramatic coastlines, picturesque villages and landscapes, distinctive regional architecture, superb seafood and mouthwatering cheeses.

Join in Paris prior to embarking on an exploration of the springtime gardens of Upper Normandy. Travel the ‘cider route’ to the medieval town of Bayeux, gateway to the World War II Normandy landing beaches and home of the world famous Bayeux tapestry.

Continue to Brittany in the northwest, and enjoy a leisurely stay on the coast, visiting a selection of superb gardens and quaint villages. Conclude with four nights in the Loire Valley known as the ‘Garden of France’. Explore chateaux, vineyards and attend the annual International Garden Festival at Chateaux du Chaumont.

French hospitality and countryside at its best!

AT A GLANCE…
• Tour the famous garden of Claude Monet at Giverny
• Discover gardens of grandeur and intimacy, including 17 private gardens
• Travel the dramatic coastline of Normandy and Brittany
• Browse the colourful markets, relish the local food and wine
• Explore charming towns and villages of provincial France
• Leisurely four night stays in Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley

ITINERARY:

Sat 28 May 2016 / Depart Australia
Suggested departure from Australia on Emirates/QANTAS Airlines flights to Paris (Charles de Gaulle Airport) via Dubai.

Sun 29 May / Arrive Paris
Afternoon arrival in Paris and check in to your hotel.

This evening, join Julie and fellow travellers for a welcome briefing and dinner. (D)

Mon 30 May / Paris – Rouen
Begin your spring tour with a visit to the magnificent garden and home of impressionist painter, Claude Monet. Enjoy both his famous ‘pond and water’ garden with its Japanese bridge, and his ‘Clos Normand’ garden known for a palette of colours.

After lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy time in the charming village of Giverny. Continue to Rouen, the capital of the Upper Normandy region.

Tonight, enjoy dinner in one of the local restaurants in the historic city centre. (BLD)

Tue 31 May / Rouen
Journey north to the coastal area of Sainte-Marguerite-sur-Mer. Visit the renowned garden of the late Princess Sturdza of Norway, ‘Le Vasterival’. Accompanied by one of the gardeners, discover a beautiful display of plants of the day.

Following lunch in a local village (own expense), continue to Château de Miromesnil set amongst beautiful woodland. Enjoy a guided tour of the fabulous walled kitchen garden and the castle park, with its 17th century fenced brick walls.

Return to Rouen via the farming village of Grigneuseville, home to Jardin Agapanthe, owned and created by landscape architect Alexandre Thomas. Spend time wandering these two intimate, secluded gardens; one which is relatively new, the other 20 years in the making.

Dinner at a local restaurant in Rouen. (BD)

Wed 1 Jun / Rouen
Begin the morning with a walking tour of Rouen. Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, with its Tour de Beurre (butter tower), the Gros Horloge (a fourteenth-century astronomical clock), and the church of Saint Joan of Arc, located where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431. Remainder of the morning is free to meander the old market square.

Following lunch (own expense), depart for Montmain to visit Jardins d’Angelique. Created by the Lebellegard family, the garden surrounds a 17th century Norman manor house and was established in memory of their daughter, Angelique.

Later travel to Auzouville-sur-Ry to visit Le Jardin Plume. Meet the owners, Sylvie and Patrick Quibel as they guide you around their contemporary garden surrounding an apple orchard.

Dinner at a local restaurant in Rouen. (BD)

Thu 2 Jun / Rouen
Return to the coast via the town of Bosc-Roger-sur-Buchy and the Jardin de Valérianes, an English garden consisting of two parts; the ancient and the new.

Continue north to the garden, L’Etang de Launay, created by former art dealer Jean-Louis Dantec. The six-acre garden boasts high-pruned specimen trees, small ponds and many trees chosen for their bark.

Prior to returning to Rouen, visit the 30 acre coastal estate, Le Bois des Moutiers. The park and manor is the collaboration of the famous English architect Edwin Lutyens and garden designer Gertrude Jekyll. Antoine Bouchayer-Mallet, the current owner of Le Bois des Moutiers said “the house has been designed to look at the gardens, and the gardens have been designed to be looked at from the house.” (BL)

Fri 3 Jun / Rouen – Bayeux
Depart Rouen for a leisurely day’s drive to Bayeux. Journey through picturesque postcard towns, into the heart of Pays d’Auge, home of the Normandy Cider Route, adorned with apple orchards and half-timbered houses.

Visit Le Jardin du Pays d’Auge and eco-museum situated in the village of Cambremer. Located on a seven acre lush estate, the property boasts a number of themed gardens surrounding a 17th century farmhouse. Stroll through the grounds prior to lunch at their créperie.

Later in the afternoon, stop in at Domaine Duponts famous for its ciders, pommeau and calvados. Enjoy a tour of the distillery and cellars followed by the opportunity to taste some of the products.

Dinner at a local restaurant in Bayeux. (BLD)

Sat 4 Jun / Bayeux
Enjoy a day at leisure.

You may wish to mosey through the bustling Saturday market or visit the Bayeux tapestry. An embroidered cloth more than 60 metres long, made to commemorate events in the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 is located in the purpose-built Bayeux Tapestry Museum.

For those interested in war history you may wish to visit the battlefields of Normandy (optional extra). (B)

Sun 5 Jun / Bayeux – Perros-Guirec
Depart Bayeux and travel west to Perros-Guirec, a popular seaside town in Brittany.

Begin with a guided tour by the owner of Le Jardin de Castillon, a remarkable garden set in a leafy valley on the outskirts of Bayeux.

Continue to the riverfront city of Dinan, considered one of the most attractive and best preserved towns in Brittany. Stroll the cobbled streets filled with art galleries and craft shops, and enjoy lunch (own expense) at one of the many restaurants situated along the River Rance.

Dinner at a local restaurant in Perros-Guirec. (BD)

Mon 6 Jun / Perros-Guirec
Today visit two very different gardens that are maintained by the same gardeners.

First is Kerdalo, considered one of the finest gardens in the region. Created by the late Prince Peter Wolkonsky, these gardens are now looked after by his daughter, Isabelle, and her husband Timothy Vaughan.

Continue to the nearby port town of Tréguier, best known for being the birthplace of St Yves, the patron saint of lawyers. Time to explore the town and many eateries on the harbour.

In the afternoon, visit Isabelle and Timothy Vaughan’s private garden Crech ar Pape, overlooking the sea.

Dinner at a local restaurant in Perros-Guirec. (BD)

Tue 7 Jun / Perros-Guirec
Travel to Roscoff in northwestern France, a well-known seaside town that is linked to Plymouth (England) and Cork (Ireland) by its numerous ferries. Take a 15-minute boat ride to the Île de Batz to visit Jardin Georges Delaselle’s coastal garden. The garden comprises a unique botanical collection from the five continents.

Return to the mainland for lunch (own expense).

In the afternoon visit Le Jardin Exotique de Roscoff, overlooking the harbour. Due to the hot currents that make up the Gulf Stream that runs along the coast, a unique microclimate is created resulting in a superb variety of subtropical plants.

Continue to the charming village of Pontrieux. Enjoy an evening boat trip along the river; discover the many lavoirs that line the river, and bridges which have been beautifully illuminated, an ideal way to see the village.

Dinner in Pontrieux, prior to returning to your hotel. (BD)

Wed 8 Jun / Perros-Guirec
This morning is free to further explore Perros-Guirec, or perhaps take a coastal walk or relax and enjoy the seaside town.

After lunch (own expense) travel south to visit Le Grand Launay garden. Built around a manor, this modern garden has been gradually formed over 25 years by its owners, Jean and Jacqueline Shalit.

Dinner at a local restaurant in Perros-Guirec. (BD)

Thu 9 Jun / Perros-Guirec – Saumur
Depart Perros-Guirec for a leisurely day’s drive to Saumur, stopping to visit the medieval fortress, Château de Josselin – a highlight of the French Renaissance. Enjoy time to stroll the castle grounds and three distinct gardens: the Formal French, the English and the Rose garden.

Following a break for lunch (own expense), continue to Saumur.

Dinner at a local restaurant in Saumur. (BD)

Fri 10 Jun / Saumur
Today, visit the Château de Chaumont overlooking the River Loire to attend the annual International Festival of Gardens. Every year landscape architects and garden designers are invited to create a themed garden. Enjoy the day exploring the 30-odd gardens in the magnificent grounds of the Chateau.

Later in the afternoon return to Saumur via the village of Chédigny, famous for its Rose gardens. Drive through Langeais in the heart of the Loire valley.

Dinner at a local restaurant in Saumur. (BD)

Sat 11 Jun / Saumur
Morning is free to further explore Saumur and its Saturday market.

In the afternoon visit the estate Clos Cristal Souzay-Champigny. Enjoy a tour and tasting of this 25-acre vineyard, the first in Saumur to produce and market the red wine which later became known as Saumur-Champigny.

Continue to Chinon to visit the beautiful Le Jardin d’Elsie. Situated on the site of an old vineyard the owner, Elsie De Raedt, has created a fascinating garden of ancient, modern and rare roses. (B)

Sun 12 Jun / Saumur
Today visit two outstanding gardens. The first is the Château de la Chatonnière, situated in a valley with sweeping views across the forest of Chinon and the river Indre. The Château is home to 14 remarkable gardens.

Continue to the village of Azay le Rideau. Free time to explore the narrow cobbled streets of this picturesque village.

Following a picnic lunch, visit Château de Villandry. One of the largest and last castles built along the Loire River, it consists of six outstanding gardens. Enjoy the afternoon strolling through its extensive terraces.

Tonight celebrate the conclusion of the tour with a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (BLD)

Mon 13 Jun / Saumur – Paris
Tour arrangements conclude with an early morning transfer to Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport, in order to arrive by 12.00, in time for flights departing at 15.35, or later.

If returning to Australia today, depart on Emirates/QANTAS flights at 15.35 via Dubai to Australia.

Evening arrival in Australia on Tuesday 14 June. (B)

* At the time of brochure printing (June 2015) most but not all garden visits are confirmed. Private owners, in particular, are reluctant to commit more than 2-3 months prior. Therefore, whilst we undertake to operate the tour as published, there may be some possible changes of itinerary.

Cherry Blossoms in Japan & South Korea Cruise

ITIINERARY

 

Day 1. Arrive Osaka
Arrive into Osaka Airport and be met and transferred to your hotel. This evening at 6.30pm, enjoy a Welcome Dinner where you’ll have the opportunity to meet your fellow Botanica travellers.
Stay: Osaka, Imperial Hotel or similar (D)

Day 2. Kyoto and Embark Ship
This morning depart Osaka to Kyoto where we will visit the rock garden masterpiece
of Ryoanji and Kinkakuji, a fine example of Muromachi period garden design. After lunch, transfer to the MS Caledonian Sky in Kobe. Enjoy a special dinner with the ship’s crew this evening, as we set sail for the port of Okayama.
Ten Nights: MS Caledonian Sky (BLD)

Day 3. Okayama, Koraku-en Garden and Kurashiki.
After breakfast this morning, we will visit Koraku-en Garden, one of Japan’s most significant gardens – the name meaning ‘garden of pleasure after’. Visit a classic teahouse, and experience a traditional tea ceremony. After a local lunch, continue to Kurashiki, where we explore the old merchant quarter and its fine 17th century wooden warehouses. The beautiful houses are painted white with traditional black tiles, and are situated along a canal lined with rows of majestic weeping willows. (BLD)

Day 4. Takamatsu and Ritsurin Park
Today tour the stunning city of Takamatsu on Shikoku, the smallest of the four main Japanese Islands. We will journey over the Seto-Ohashi Bridge and visit Ritsurin Park, a 350-year-old garden, famous for its magnificent spring colours. See the Chrysanthemum-Moon Pavilion, then visit Kinashi Bonsai Town. (BLD)

Day 5. Hiroshima and Miyajima
Arrive in Hiroshima to visit the compelling Peace Memorial Park. The park is dotted with memorials, including the cenotaph that contains the names of all the known victims of the A-bomb. Return to the ship for lunch, then continue to Miyajima. Considered one of Japan’s top scenic wonders, Miyajima provides a picture-postcard vista of the scarlet Torii Gate, the giant camphor wood gates at the entrance to the Shinto Shrine. We will go ashore to explore the World Heritage-listed Itsukushima Jinja Shrine, founded in the 6th century and dedicated to three sea goddesses. (BLD)

Day 6. Uwajima
Arrive in Uwajima, situated deep inside the saw-toothed coast of Uwajima Bay. The city of Uwajima is emerging as the nation’s largest pearl cultivation centre. Learn the process of implanting, harvesting, extracting and sorting pearls on a visit to a pearl farm. We will continue to Sakiiya Square or choose to visit Dairakuji Temple. (BLD)

Day 7. Nagasaki and Dejima Island
Arrive at Nagasaki, the second city destroyed by an A-bomb in World War II. Tour the Peace Memorial Park, Atomic Bomb Museum and Glover Garden. Continue to Dejima Island, built during the Edo Period to accommodate Portuguese Christian missionaries and prevent the propagation of their religion. It was also once the residential quarters of the Dutch, the only foreigners allowed to trade in Japan during the Sakoku isolation Period for 200 years, until Japan reopened to the world. (BLD)

Day 8. Pusan, South Korea
Embark on a full-day excursion to Kyongju, in South Korea, a World Heritage-listed site often described as the world’s finest open-air museum. As the ancient capital of the Shilla Dynasty, Kyongju’s heritage dates back to the first millennium. As we stroll through some of the numerous excavated monuments, temples, tombs and pagodas, there will be time to explore the National Museum, with its exceptional collection of finely worked gold jewellery, metal weapons and distinctive pottery. At lunch, sample Korean delicacies and enjoy the spectacle of traditional dancers during a cultural performance. (BLD)

Day 9. Hagi
Japan’s revolution began here in Jokamachi’s old Samurai residential quarter, where we will tour a Samurai’s home. We will also visit the historic Daisho Temple, the resting place of the two first Mori daimyo a family of powerful and territorial pre-modern Japanese lords and all of the even-numbered daimyo. This traditional temple is located on Mount Mison, considered a holy mountain, on the island of Itsukushima. Inside, you will find a flame that is said to have been burning for some 1,200 years. We will also take time to explore Hagi, one of Japan’s most beautiful castle towns, where you can explore the old streets and see the Hagi Castle ruins, Shizuki Park and the Tokoji Temple. (BLD)

Day 10. Matsue and Yuushien Garden
Known as the ‘Town of Water’, Matsue, is on the shores of a scenic lake and a large lagoon. Here, you’ll visit a number of cultural attractions including Matsue Castle. Known as the ‘Black Castle’, it is one of only a few wooden Medieval castles that remain in Japan today. Admire the structure’s complexity from the outside, as it stands gracefully, watching over the city, and take the opportunity to explore the interior, which affords magnificent views of Lake Shinji. This afternoon, we will visit the stunning Yuushien Garden, a traditional flower garden full of colour and blossom, famous for ginseng and peonies. (BLD)

Day 11. Kanazawa and Kenroku-en Garden
Kanazawa is a thriving centre of the arts, long known for its lacquer-ware, outstanding collectible pottery of the Kutani style, gold-leaf workmanship and delicate hand-painting of silk for kimonos and Noh theatre dramas. The winding cobblestone streets have a quaint photogenic charm. Around each bend is a traditional house, museum, art gallery, craft shop, Samurai residence and even a Geisha house to explore. The fascinating open-air market displays a vast variety of items from flowers to fish to local handicrafts. Next we visit the Kanazawa Castle ruins, which is one of Japan’s premier highlights, and the famed Kenroku-en Garden, is ranked among the country’s top gardens. (BLD)

Day 12. Kanazawa and Tokyo
Disembark the ship this morning and take the Bullet Train to Tokyo. On arrival, enjoy an afternoon sightseeing tour of Tokyo. We then transfer to our hotel for an overnight stay and Farewell Dinner.
Stay: Tokyo, New Otani Hotel or similar (BLD)

Day 13. Depart Tokyo.
After breakfast this morning, you will be transferred to the airport by shuttle bus for your flight home. (B)

Japanese Cherry Blossoms
Embark on a stylish voyage of horticultural discovery and explore this fascinating region, aboard this Botanica cruise. In the heart of cherry blossom season, Botanica guests will be enchanted by the sight of the beautiful and richly symbolic sakura flower in full bloom. Venture along the historic shores of Japan and South Korea on this incredible botanical journey. The cherry blossom heralds the start of spring and the delicate blossom only stays on the trees for two weeks. This time of year is highly revered by the Japanese, who celebrate with festivals and events.

Tastings: Noosa, Queensland with Robin Powell

Itinerary

 

DAY 1
Friday 10 July 2015
Sydney – Noosa (L/D)

We’ll meet at the Virgin Australia terminal at Sydney Domestic Airport for our flight to the Sunshine Coast. Our first stop in sunny Queensland is a strawberry farm. Queensland strawberries are one of the special treats of winter: big, shiny and full of sweet flavor, especially when freshly picked.
Our hotel in Noosa is the newly renovated Sheraton Resort and Spa, the only hotel on Hastings Street and something of a Noosa institution. As part of the hotel’s extensive upgrade, celebrity chef Peter Kuravita took on the role of executive chef at the hotel’s Noosa Beach House restaurant. We’ll have our welcome dinner here.
Accommodation: Sheraton Noosa Resort and Spa

 

DAY 2
Saturday 11 July 2015
Queensland Garden Expo (B)

The Queensland Garden Expo is one of the country’s best regional garden shows. We love it because there are heaps of plants, with specialist growers to chat to about everything from gingers to aloes, bamboo to tropical fruit trees. Everyone is really friendly, the show gardens are lovely, and there’s a great line up of guest speakers. We’ll be back in Noosa in time to relax, shop and explore this afternoon.
Accommodation: Sheraton Noosa Resort and Spa

 

DAY 3
Sunday 12 July 2015
Maleny (B/L)

Bring a green bag this morning when we check out Noosa’s weekly farmer’s market: you might not be able to take the fresh strawberries and other produce home, but you can souvenir some great vinegars, jams and sweet treats.
We’ll drive through the Blackall Ranges on our way to Maleny, where we’ll have time to explore and shop before lunching at Tamarind. Set in an open pavilion in the garden, this restaurant brings a modern approach and perfect balance to Thai cuisine.
After a leisurely lunch, we’ll take a guided walk through Mary Cairncross Reserve. The rainforest here shows what the Blackall ranges looked like before the timber cutters and dairy farmers arrived. The reserve is home to a remarkable array of native plants and animals.
Then we go organic with a visit to Australia’s best known seed supplier, Green Harvest, which is famous for growing popular and unusual heirloom varieties of herbs and vegetables. We’ll visit their new edible garden.
Accommodation: Sheraton Noosa Resort and Spa

 

DAY 4
Monday 13 July 2015
Noosa (B/L)

There’s time this morning to go for a walk in Noosa National Park. A track winds around the headland, offering brilliant views back to Noosa beach. Of course, if you’d rather sleep in, do some shopping or lounge by the pool you can.
Learn about spices and how they grow this morning at Garnisha Spice Garden. We’ll pick and sniff and taste and try to identify the myriad spices growing, which are used by Tim Warren in the curry pastes and chutneys he makes in a little commercial kitchen in the garden. Lunch is at the historic Apollonian Hotel.
Back in Noosaville, there’s a chance to explore the shops of Gympie Terrace before hopping aboard a sunset cruise on the Noosa River.
Accommodation: Sheraton Noosa Resort and Spa

 

DAY 5
Tuesday 14 July 2015
Noosa (B/L)

An exclusive screening in the world’s oldest authentic silent movie theatre. But first a gelato tasting; a look around Pomona, a charming old cane town that retains the unique Queensland art deco architecture of the 1930s; and a private lunch of local produce. After the movie we’re off to Kin Kin to meet a native bee expert.
Accommodation: Sheraton Noosa Resort and Spa

 

DAY 6
Wednesday 15 July 2014
Eumundi (B/D)

The secret to the success of the Eumundi markets is the motto – we make it, grow it, bake it and sew it. You’ll find things here you won’t find anywhere else in the country. We’ll take our time tasting, chatting and buying, then visit a private garden with inspiring planting. This afternoon we’ll head to Mooloolaba, the coast’s biggest fishing port, where we’ll be treated to a private tasting of some the Sunshine Coast’s best seafood. We’ll meet a crab fisherman and taste some of the incredible seafood that comes into the port of Mooloolooba.
Farewell dinner included tonight in a top local restaurant.
Accommodation: Sheraton Noosa Resort and Spa

 

DAY 7
Thursday 16 July 2015
Noosa – Sydney (B)

We’re heading back to Sydney, after breakfast transfer to the airport for a return flight home.

Tastings: Orange NSW with Robin Powell

Itinerary

 

DAY 1
Thursday 23 April 2015
Sydney – Orange (MT/D)

Meet Robin Powell, our Tastings guide, at Sydney coach terminal Eddy Avenue. We’ll head west, with a stop for morning tea at the Norman Lindsay Gallery at Falconbridge in the Blue Mountains. The garden was inspiration for his work and we’ll take a wander before heading to Katoomba for lunch. Our accommodation in Orange is right in town, and we’ll have time to relax before our welcome dinner at the award-winning Lolli Redini. ‘Lolli’s’ as its affectionately called, is a local dining institution, and has scored 13 consecutive Sydney Morning herald chefs hats since it opened for its delicious contemporary Italian and French food.
Accommodation: De Russie Suites, Orange

 

DAY 2
Friday 24 April 2015
Orange (B/L)

We’re investigating the wonder of the apple today, but first we’ll marvel at the tapestries of autumn colour at Cook Park and at one of Orange’s finest private gardens. Then it’s on to Borrodell. Here Borrie Gartrell grows more than 170 varieties of heritage and heirloom eating, cooking and cider apples. We’ll take a walk through the orchard, picking and tasting as we go. Lunch, featuring apples of course, is here at Sisters Rock restaurant, overlooking the colour of the grapevines and cherry orchards. We’ll end the day with a scenic drive to Mt Canobalas.
Accommodation: De Russie Suites, Orange

 

DAY 3
Saturday 25 April 2015
Canowindra (B/L/D)

We’re exploring the red-earthed countryside of Canowindra today. The town unexpectedly became a site of Australia’s prehistoric past when a fossil bed revealed the remains of thousands of fish from 370 million years ago. We’ll discover the region’s more delicious offerings, with a visit to Rosnay, an organic winery and olive and fig orchard. Later we’ll drop in on a country garden with beautiful mature trees, roses, perennials and expansive lawns.
We’ll be back in Orange in time to change, and head off to the charming Rocking Horse Lounge, where we’ll get to sample some of the best wines and produce of the region.
Accommodation: De Russie Suites, Orange

 

DAY 4
Sunday 26 April 2015
Orange (B/L)

Our day starts with a walk around a lovely private country garden laden with roses. Then we head into the charming old town of Millthorpe for lunch at Tonic. The restaurant is in an early 19th century building with high ceilings, and lovely white pressed metal details. Chef Tony Worland makes the local produce sing. After lunch we’ll find out why a hazelnut orchard in autumn is a beautiful place to be and meet one of the country’s hazelnut pioneers.

Accommodation: De Russie Suites, Orange

 

DAY 5
Monday 27 April 2015
Orange – Oberon – Sydney (B/L)

Mayfield garden is one of those extraordinary places where the vision takes your breath away. This is garden making on a vast scale; indeed, this is one of the largest cool climate private gardens in the world. We’ll meet the head gardener Peter Darcy and take a guided tour, then enjoy lunch in the cafe. We’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the spectacle before we drive back down the mountain to Sydney.

BBC Gardeners’ World Live

BBC Gardeners’ World Live 2017

 

What’s on at BBC Gardener’s World Live in 2017:

Meet the experts:

Alan TitchmarshAlan Titchmarsh was born and brought up on the edge of Ilkley Moor.  He left school at fifteen and became an apprentice gardener in the local nursery, following this with full-time training at horticultural college and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

 

 

carol_kleinCarol Klein is one of the most familiar gardening experts working in the media today, most famous for her role as regular presenter of Gardener’s World. Her natural, down-to-earth approach has made her popular and trusted figure. As well as covering all the wonderful shows from Chelsea and Tatton to Hampton Court, Carol has fronted many series, including Grow Your Own Veg and Open Gardens.

 

joe_swiftJoe Swift is a professional garden designer and co-founder of Modular, a garden design and build brand.. Joe has been a regular presenter on Gardeners’ World for 14 years now. He has also presented Open Gardens, Small Town Gardens and coverage of the RHS Flower Shows at Chelsea, Hampton Court and Tatton Park. In 2012 Joe won a Gold Medal for his first Chelsea garden.

 

monty_donMonty Don is a renowned gardening writer and television presenter and one of the UK’s favourite and most respected gardeners.He is a prolific journalist and was the Observer’s gardening editor from 1994 until 2006 and now writes a regular column for the Daily Mail and BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine. He has written over 20 books including the best selling Fork to Fork, The Jewel Garden (with Sarah Don) and The Complete Gardener.

 

adam frostAdam Frost, seven-time Chelsea gold medallist, started his career building Geoff Hamilton’s gardens for the BBC at Barnsdale. In 2013, he helped set up the Homebase Garden Academy and in 2014 became an RHS Ambassador to raise the profile of horticulture and encourage secondary schools to embrace gardening. Recently, he wrote and published his own book ‘Real Gardens’ which tells the journey of his award winning Chelsea gardens.

 

BBC Gardeners’ World Theatre: a packed schedule of live and entertaining talks from top gardeners and well known experts from Gardeners’ World TV programme and popular gardening experts. Reserve your seats for just £2 in addition to show entry tickets.

Show Gardens: A central focus of the show, these gardens reflect current trends and design ideas covering a diverse range of themes. Displaying excellence in horticulture and design, Show Gardens provide theatre and inspiration and are always a firm visitor favourite.

New for 2017 is the Beautiful Border Competition showcasing designs, ideas, plants and creative features.

 

Floral Marquee: BBC Gardeners’ World Live is proud to host one of the largest floral marquees in the country. A haven of colour and scent, the RHS Floral Marquee is the ultimate destination for all gardeners and plant lovers. From orchids to lilies, dianthus to alliums, it is a spectacular sight packed with award winning nurseries and displays.
Rose Festival with experts, displays and hundreds of varieties on sale.
VegTrug Stage – demos and expert advice for growing edibles at home

Gardeners’ Interview Stage – see al your favourite gardening experts in conversation with Jim Buttress

 

Gardeners’ Zones: Grow&Eat, Essentials, Wildlife, Know-how, Life&Style, Marketplace

 

Brisbane International Garden Show

We are pleased to announce the launch of a brand new gardening event for Queensland.

Brisbane International Garden Show will be held over 4 days at Pine Rivers Park, Strathpine on 8-9-10-11 October 2015.

This event will showcase the unique Queensland gardening style and will bring together landscape gardening displays for both large and smaller gardens, gardening experts delivering talks and workshops and of course dozens of nurseries and gardening products displaying all the best of spring gardening plants and products.

Brisbane International Garden Show will be organised by the same team that organise the very successful and long running Queensland Garden Expo at Nambour in July.

It is our intention to continue to stage the Queensland Garden Expo at Nambour in July in very much the same way as we have done in the past and run a second event that will, whilst having many of the same aims and elements as Queensland Garden Expo, also be a quite different and a stand-alone event.

2015 promises to be a great year for gardeners with two fantastic gardening events. We will keep you updated about both events throughout the year and hope that you can join us.

Queensland Garden Expo

Queensland Garden Expo

 

Nambour Showgrounds, South-East Queensland (one hour drive north of Brisbane)

 

Queensland Garden Expo is a ‘must see’ in 2016 for green thumbs and novice gardeners alike. Held in the Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Nambour from 8th to 10th July, this three day expo is Queensland’s premier gardening event attracting 35,000 + visitors from all over Australia and New Zealand. Some of Australia’s leading Gardening experts take part in three days of lectures, demonstrations and workshops.

Hear some of Australia’s best known subtropical gardening experts, like Annette McFarlane, Jerry Coleby-Williams, Phil Dudman, Noel Burdette, Arno King and Angus Stewart.

See plants, plants and more plants with over 50 nurseries represented and over 350 exhibitors. There is a full program of free lectures and demonstrations on eight “live” stages every day covering a vast array of gardening topics. Head to the ‘Gardeners and Gourmets’ stage for some great tips on growing your own produce and turning it into delicious gourmet meals. The ‘Giant Kitchen Garden’ features a totally organic food court with a fully planted sustainable garden constructed onsite. Get free help with gardening problems and plant identification from the onsite Plant Clinic and be inspired by the fantastic arrangements in the Floral Design Competition.

Come spend the weekend visiting the Queensland Garden Expo and exploring our naturally refreshing Sunshine Coast region – return home relaxed and inspired!

Date/Time

Friday – 8th July 2016
Gates open 8am
Close 5pm

Saturday – 9th July 2016
Gates open 8am
Close 5pm

Sunday – 10th July 2016
Gates open 8am
Close 4pm

Bondi Beach Eco Garden, Sydney

Bondi Beach Eco Garden, Sydney

 

Nestled in the leafy quiet end of Hall Street, the Eco Garden is right down the street from the local cafe and cultural centre of Bondi. The residence has been renovated with eco-design principles throughout and is divided into 2 separate apartments.

Grab some fresh herbs and vegetables on your way in for dinner or try our delicious eggs from our resident flock of chicken for breakfast. If you are looking for Bondi accommodation or apartments in Bondi and you care about the environment then Bondi Beach Eco Garden is ideal.

Venturing out to Bondi’s buzzing cafes and small bars takes all of a couple of minutes and the beach is only a further 5 minutes away. After the beach grab your racquet and enjoy a game of tennis at the courts backing on to the property, or fire up our BBQ and enjoy a drink on the sun deck which catches the afternoon rays.

It’s tranquility with convenience, and all done with the planet and your well-being in mind.

We have five happy ‘Rhode Island Red’ hens who will charm you with their plumage and plucky nature, not to mention their fresh organic eggs. The front garden features a fish filled pond, ornamental ferns, and an abundant vegetable garden, which you are welcome to forage in for your meals.

All apartments include free high speed wireless internet, regular fresh organic eggs, organic sourdough bread, and access to the seasons produce from the vegetable gardens (crop output dependant!), certified organic linen, eco-friendly body wash, organic milk, fair trade teas and coffee and fresh raw honey from our two bee hives.

Redbrow Garden and Guesthouse, Murrumbateman

Redbrow Garden and Guesthouse, Murrumbateman

 

Located 20 minutes drive from north Canberra, and close to many acclaimed wineries and gourmet restaurants, Redbrow Garden is an ideal retreat for discerning Australian and international visitors to the Canberra region.

Our every aim is to ensure your comfort and enjoyment while you share the delights of Redbrow Garden and the local area with us.

Redbrow Garden is a 20 minute drive through scenic farmland to Australia’s national icons including the National Museum, Australian War Memorial and the National Gallery. It can also simply be the place for you to relax, rejuvenate and unwind. Take an early morning bushwalk to hear the songsters of the Australian bush, pick in season berries and fruit from the extensive garden or float silently amongst the reeds on the nearby lagoon. Lounge lazily with a good book in a garden nook, or converse with the farm’s inquisitive alpacas, Pedro and Amigo, or the dozen “Redbrow Girls” who provide your eggs each day.

We have four spacious, individual lakeside ensuite rooms. Designated by one of the common bird species in the garden and tastefully decorated with views of the garden’s thriving wetland habitat, all rooms have a large en suite with double showers and toiletries and are air conditioned/heated.

A room bar fridge is stocked with complimentary drinks. There is also a separate guest lounge with a TV, fridge, crockery, cutlery, microwave, electric frypan, electric wok and rice cooker.

The 3 bedroom self contained self contained Guesthouse is privately attached to the main homestead and has:

  • 2 bedrooms each with 2 single beds
  • A Master bedroom with a king bed, space for additional beds if needed in adjoining room
  • Large lounge area with enclosed fireplace
  • New fully equipped kitchen
  • Bathroom (2 additional toilets available nearby)
  • Parking at the rear entrance of the guesthouse.

Plentiful breakfast provisions are included in your tariff and include a selection of cereals, fruit, fruit juice, fresh eggs from the “Redbrow Girls”, bacon and sausages, teas, coffee and milo, a bread selection and condiments (including home made jams) plus a freshly baked item daily.

Kamahi Cottage, Otorohanga

Kamahi Cottage, Otorohanga

 

Whether you prefer the privacy of your very own self-contained romantic cottage or you’d like to join us over a meal in the homestead, the choice is yours.

Spend a night for a treat, plan a weekend escape or stay longer to relax, unwind and discover our exciting local attractions.

The valley views are breath taking, the location serene and totally private and the setting a beautiful country garden.

As New Zealand’s only 5-Star farm stay, we provide all the extras you expect from a luxury lodge. If you’d like to end your day with dinner delivered to the cottage, or you have a special occasion to celebrate, we can prepare a gourmet dinner complimented with fine New Zealand wines. (Please advise us early to avoid disappointment).

Relax and experience our wonderful scenery and local attractions. (We’re 30 minutes from Waitomo and 15 minutes from Otorohanga.) There’s so much to do in the Waitomo & Otorohanga area – Black Water Rafting, cave abseiling (rappelling), glowworm cave eco-tours, the Otorohanga Kiwi House, horse riding, walking trails, trout fishing, golf, farm and garden tours.

Quick facts:

– Single party occupancy – up to 4 guests

– Family friendly – we welcome children of all ages

– Rates include full gourmet breakfasts

– Queen bedroom upstairs

– Stylish Danish-design sofa converts to a super comfy double bed downstairs

– Modern downstairs lounge and dining area

– Spacious modern bathroom

– Fully equipped kitchenette (ideal for self-catering)

– FREE WiFi available in our home – it’s a short walk through the garden

– Complimentary fresh flowers and exclusive Linden Leaves toiletries, home baked treats, freshly ground coffee, tea assortments, port (and Evan’s potent and delicious home-distilled schnapps!)

– Gourmet dinners by prior arrangement (extra charges apply)

Garden Lovers’ Tour of America

Tour Details

 

Beginning in the unique, port city of Charleston and winding your way north to New York City, this tour will explore a dazzling selection of gardens, private and public, historic and contemporary, on the USA’s East Coast.

Timed to coincide with the spring blooms of the Northern Hemisphere, you’ll begin the tour with the Charleston Spring Festival, strolling leisurely between gardens while getting to know this charming city. Explore South Carolina’s nearby plantations and enjoy culinary experiences scouted by gourmand and tour leader, Kirsty Dougherty.

Visit historic Monticello and Washington DC as well as the renowned Chanticleer and Longwood Gardens of Philadelphia. In New York, your final destination, be surprised by urban farming in Brooklyn Grange Farm and green space reclamation in the High Line and 55 Waters Street, Manhattan.

If you haven’t travelled with Kirsty before, she is well-known in the States for her passion for gardens, combined with a love of food and wine, convivial company and good times. Bon voyage!

 

AT A GLANCE…

Begin in Charleston during the annual Spring Festival of Houses and Gardens
Visit South Carolina’s magnificent plantations on the Ashley River
Explore the grounds and home of Jefferson’s Monticello and Washington’s Mt Vernon
Discover Chanticleer, Longwood and Mrs Hamilton’s gardens in Philadelphia
Enjoy a contemporary take on urban gardening in New York City, including the High Line and Brooklyn Grange – the world’s largest rooftop farm
Savour the varied local cuisines, wines and flavours of America, through South to North

 

Itinerary

Mon 06 Apr 2015 / Depart Australia – Arrive Charleston
Depart Australia and arrive in historic Charleston, South Carolina late on the same day. Taxis are readily available to transfer you from the airport to the hotel. Check-in to the beautiful King Charles Inn and get some rest before the tour starts on Tuesday.

Tue 07 Apr / Charleston
After a morning at leisure, gather for a welcome tour briefing and lunch with Kirsty and fellow travellers.

After lunch, walk with a 13th generation Charlestonian, Anne Middleton Herron, to get a local perspective on a city rich in early American history. As you stroll through the old walled city, you will be able to identify buildings dating back to before the Revolutionary War. End the tour in a private courtyard in the Middleton family’s private garden with refreshments.

Kirsty will provide restaurant recommendations for dinner on your own tonight – Charleston is a food destination and the restaurant scene is fabulous. Charleston is low-country cuisine, representing the area between Savannah, Georgia and Pawley’s Island, South Carolina. Recipes from this region were greatly influenced by immigrants from Europe, West Africa and the West Indies. (BL)

Wed 08 Apr / Charleston
Spend the day visiting three plantations within ten minutes of each other on the Ashley River, which offer very different experiences.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is a former slave plantation established in 1679, containing America’s oldest public gardens, constructed in 1840 by John Grimké Drayton. Today, the English-style gardens feature winding paths lined with native azaleas and antique camellias, as well as a pre-Revolution-era plantation house and a petting zoo.

Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark and home to America’s oldest landscaped gardens, dating back to 1741. The Garden Club of America has called the 65 acres ‘the most important and most interesting garden in America’. The gardens have been planned so that there is something blooming at Middleton Place year-round.

Drayton Hall is the only original Ashley River plantation home (i.e. main residence) that still stands. The home is unfurnished and unrestored, but the interior and exterior architecture are completely authentic. It is the oldest surviving example of Georgian Palladian architecture in the US, and one of the only pre-revolutionary houses that remain in close-to original condition today. (BL)

Thu 09 Apr / Charleston
Continue your exploration of Charleston, the Holy City by the harbour, with a harbour cruise taking in significant historical sights while keeping your eye out for dolphins.

After lunch, stroll leisurely through eight to ten private gardens as part of the Festival of Houses and Gardens. Guides are stationed at each location to provide information about garden design, plant material and history. Enjoy wine and American Classic Tea reception in the garden of the Nathaniel Russell House Museum, widely recognized as one of America’s most important neoclassical houses and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973. Today, the interiors are restored to their original 1808 grandeur and surrounded by formal gardens. (B)

Fri 10 Apr / Charleston – Richmond – Charlottesville
Depart Charleston by air (3 hours) for Richmond, Virginia. Transfer to the Omni Hotel in downtown Charlottesville – well located to the historic mall zone. Explore the area and enjoy dinner at your own leisure. (B)

Sat 11 Apr / Charlottesville
This morning, enjoy a historical visit to Monticello, home to Thomas Jefferson, America’s 3rd President and the Author of the Declaration of Independence. Tour the home and its grounds, which were a botanic showpiece, a source of food, and an experimental laboratory of ornamental and useful plants from around the world.

After a picnic lunch, continue to a local vineyard in an area highly regarded for its wine. Jefferson was the first landowner in the area to encourage grape planting on the land near Monticello. Relax and taste the wine from the area. Return to Charlottesville for an evening at leisure. (B, PicnicL)

Sun 12 Apr / Charlottesville – Washington DC
Depart Charlottesville and travel to Mt Vernon, home of George Washington, first President of the United States. The 21-room mansion is an iconic example of 18th century architecture. The gardens and grounds of Mt Vernon are beautiful, with both ornamental and edible plants grown there for centuries.

In the afternoon, continue to Washington DC via the Arlington Cemetery. (BL)

Mon 13 Apr / Washington DC
Enjoy a morning orientation tour of the nation’s capital. Begin with the best known Washington institutions such as the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress and the White House. See also the Jefferson Memorial and the National Mall with the Korean Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

The afternoon is at leisure to further explore Washington on your own. You may wish to visit the United States Botanic Gardens, established by the U.S. Congress in 1820 and one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America. Alternatively, the various branches of the Smithsonian Institution (the world’s largest museum and research complex comprising 19 museums and galleries, as well as the National Zoological Park) are all open today. (B)

Tue 14 Apr / Washington DC – Philadelphia
This morning you will visit Dumbarton Oaks. Bought in 1920 and described as ‘an old-fashioned house standing in rather neglected grounds’, owners Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss had soon employed landscape gardener Beatrix Farrand to design the gardens. Dumbarton Oaks is ranked number 6 in the National Geographic’s Top 10 Gardens of the World.

After lunch in Georgetown, drive to Philadelphia in the afternoon. (BL)

Wed 15 Apr / Philadelphia
Learn about the early history and foundation of the United States of America on a walking tour of the Independence National Historical Park where the events of the American Revolution transpired.

In the afternoon continue to the new home of the Barnes Foundation, established in 1922 by wealthy pharmaceutical mogul Dr Albert C. Barnes to ‘promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts’. Spend the afternoon viewing the remarkable collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. (B)

Thu 16 Apr / Philadelphia
Enjoy a day outside the city in exclusive district, Wayne, which dates back to the early 20th century, when land along the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad was developed for summer homes to escape the heat of Philadelphia.

Begin with a visit to Chanticleer which, in 2013, celebrated two anniversaries: its centennial as the Rosengarten estate and 20th year as a public garden.

After lunch at nearby Valley Forge Flowers, visit the private garden of Mrs Dodo Hamilton, Campbell Soup heiress, legendary horticulturalist and supporter of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (America’s oldest). (BL)

Fri 17 Apr / Philadelphia – New York
Depart Philadelphia and drive to New York.

On the way, stop at Longwood one of the premier botanical gardens in the United States covering more than 1,077 acres (436 ha). Your visit will coincide with the famous Spring Blooms festival, when thousands of bulbs blossom throughout the gardens.

Continue to New York City, arriving in the late afternoon. (BL)

Sat 18 Apr/ New York
Enjoy a day of exploration of Manhattan’s contemporary green spaces and relaxing gardens.

First, begin with a visit to the new 9/11 Memorial Museum, honouring the victims and examining 9/11 and its continued global significance. Continue to the incredible public space that is Ken Smith’s Elevated acre at 55 Water St, and The Gardens of Remembrance, Piet Oudolf’s waterfront plantings on Battery Point, which are a tribute to the victims of 9/11 and include 114 varieties of perennials and native plants.

After lunch on your own in Chelsea’s thriving art district, head to the High Line, the famous elevated freight railway transformed into a public park on the lower west side of Manhattan. The 1.6km park’s attractions include naturalised plantings inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew on the disused tracks, rugged meadow plants as well as many American natives.

Evening at leisure. Renaissance Tours will assist with theatre and restaurant bookings. (B)

Sun 19 Apr / New York
Spend the day out of Manhattan in the borough of Brooklyn.

Today begins with a visit to Brooklyn Grange, a one acre urban farm in Brooklyn. Enjoy the unique perspective of the Manhattan skyline from the top of a six-storey industrial building amidst a productive, thriving green space. Take the Founders tour and be inspired by their fascinating philosophy.

In the afternoon experience spring in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Along with countless other spring blossoms, April is prime flowering time for over 200 Japanese flowering cherry trees showcasing more than 40 different species and cultivars.

This evening, celebrate the conclusion of the tour with a dinner cruise on New York harbour. (BD)

Mon 20 Apr / Depart New York
Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast. (B)

Garden Lovers' Tour of America

Tour Details

 

Beginning in the unique, port city of Charleston and winding your way north to New York City, this tour will explore a dazzling selection of gardens, private and public, historic and contemporary, on the USA’s East Coast.

Timed to coincide with the spring blooms of the Northern Hemisphere, you’ll begin the tour with the Charleston Spring Festival, strolling leisurely between gardens while getting to know this charming city. Explore South Carolina’s nearby plantations and enjoy culinary experiences scouted by gourmand and tour leader, Kirsty Dougherty.

Visit historic Monticello and Washington DC as well as the renowned Chanticleer and Longwood Gardens of Philadelphia. In New York, your final destination, be surprised by urban farming in Brooklyn Grange Farm and green space reclamation in the High Line and 55 Waters Street, Manhattan.

If you haven’t travelled with Kirsty before, she is well-known in the States for her passion for gardens, combined with a love of food and wine, convivial company and good times. Bon voyage!

 

AT A GLANCE…

Begin in Charleston during the annual Spring Festival of Houses and Gardens
Visit South Carolina’s magnificent plantations on the Ashley River
Explore the grounds and home of Jefferson’s Monticello and Washington’s Mt Vernon
Discover Chanticleer, Longwood and Mrs Hamilton’s gardens in Philadelphia
Enjoy a contemporary take on urban gardening in New York City, including the High Line and Brooklyn Grange – the world’s largest rooftop farm
Savour the varied local cuisines, wines and flavours of America, through South to North

 

Itinerary

Mon 06 Apr 2015 / Depart Australia – Arrive Charleston
Depart Australia and arrive in historic Charleston, South Carolina late on the same day. Taxis are readily available to transfer you from the airport to the hotel. Check-in to the beautiful King Charles Inn and get some rest before the tour starts on Tuesday.

Tue 07 Apr / Charleston
After a morning at leisure, gather for a welcome tour briefing and lunch with Kirsty and fellow travellers.

After lunch, walk with a 13th generation Charlestonian, Anne Middleton Herron, to get a local perspective on a city rich in early American history. As you stroll through the old walled city, you will be able to identify buildings dating back to before the Revolutionary War. End the tour in a private courtyard in the Middleton family’s private garden with refreshments.

Kirsty will provide restaurant recommendations for dinner on your own tonight – Charleston is a food destination and the restaurant scene is fabulous. Charleston is low-country cuisine, representing the area between Savannah, Georgia and Pawley’s Island, South Carolina. Recipes from this region were greatly influenced by immigrants from Europe, West Africa and the West Indies. (BL)

Wed 08 Apr / Charleston
Spend the day visiting three plantations within ten minutes of each other on the Ashley River, which offer very different experiences.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is a former slave plantation established in 1679, containing America’s oldest public gardens, constructed in 1840 by John Grimké Drayton. Today, the English-style gardens feature winding paths lined with native azaleas and antique camellias, as well as a pre-Revolution-era plantation house and a petting zoo.

Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark and home to America’s oldest landscaped gardens, dating back to 1741. The Garden Club of America has called the 65 acres ‘the most important and most interesting garden in America’. The gardens have been planned so that there is something blooming at Middleton Place year-round.

Drayton Hall is the only original Ashley River plantation home (i.e. main residence) that still stands. The home is unfurnished and unrestored, but the interior and exterior architecture are completely authentic. It is the oldest surviving example of Georgian Palladian architecture in the US, and one of the only pre-revolutionary houses that remain in close-to original condition today. (BL)

Thu 09 Apr / Charleston
Continue your exploration of Charleston, the Holy City by the harbour, with a harbour cruise taking in significant historical sights while keeping your eye out for dolphins.

After lunch, stroll leisurely through eight to ten private gardens as part of the Festival of Houses and Gardens. Guides are stationed at each location to provide information about garden design, plant material and history. Enjoy wine and American Classic Tea reception in the garden of the Nathaniel Russell House Museum, widely recognized as one of America’s most important neoclassical houses and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973. Today, the interiors are restored to their original 1808 grandeur and surrounded by formal gardens. (B)

Fri 10 Apr / Charleston – Richmond – Charlottesville
Depart Charleston by air (3 hours) for Richmond, Virginia. Transfer to the Omni Hotel in downtown Charlottesville – well located to the historic mall zone. Explore the area and enjoy dinner at your own leisure. (B)

Sat 11 Apr / Charlottesville
This morning, enjoy a historical visit to Monticello, home to Thomas Jefferson, America’s 3rd President and the Author of the Declaration of Independence. Tour the home and its grounds, which were a botanic showpiece, a source of food, and an experimental laboratory of ornamental and useful plants from around the world.

After a picnic lunch, continue to a local vineyard in an area highly regarded for its wine. Jefferson was the first landowner in the area to encourage grape planting on the land near Monticello. Relax and taste the wine from the area. Return to Charlottesville for an evening at leisure. (B, PicnicL)

Sun 12 Apr / Charlottesville – Washington DC
Depart Charlottesville and travel to Mt Vernon, home of George Washington, first President of the United States. The 21-room mansion is an iconic example of 18th century architecture. The gardens and grounds of Mt Vernon are beautiful, with both ornamental and edible plants grown there for centuries.

In the afternoon, continue to Washington DC via the Arlington Cemetery. (BL)

Mon 13 Apr / Washington DC
Enjoy a morning orientation tour of the nation’s capital. Begin with the best known Washington institutions such as the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress and the White House. See also the Jefferson Memorial and the National Mall with the Korean Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

The afternoon is at leisure to further explore Washington on your own. You may wish to visit the United States Botanic Gardens, established by the U.S. Congress in 1820 and one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America. Alternatively, the various branches of the Smithsonian Institution (the world’s largest museum and research complex comprising 19 museums and galleries, as well as the National Zoological Park) are all open today. (B)

Tue 14 Apr / Washington DC – Philadelphia
This morning you will visit Dumbarton Oaks. Bought in 1920 and described as ‘an old-fashioned house standing in rather neglected grounds’, owners Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss had soon employed landscape gardener Beatrix Farrand to design the gardens. Dumbarton Oaks is ranked number 6 in the National Geographic’s Top 10 Gardens of the World.

After lunch in Georgetown, drive to Philadelphia in the afternoon. (BL)

Wed 15 Apr / Philadelphia
Learn about the early history and foundation of the United States of America on a walking tour of the Independence National Historical Park where the events of the American Revolution transpired.

In the afternoon continue to the new home of the Barnes Foundation, established in 1922 by wealthy pharmaceutical mogul Dr Albert C. Barnes to ‘promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts’. Spend the afternoon viewing the remarkable collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. (B)

Thu 16 Apr / Philadelphia
Enjoy a day outside the city in exclusive district, Wayne, which dates back to the early 20th century, when land along the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad was developed for summer homes to escape the heat of Philadelphia.

Begin with a visit to Chanticleer which, in 2013, celebrated two anniversaries: its centennial as the Rosengarten estate and 20th year as a public garden.

After lunch at nearby Valley Forge Flowers, visit the private garden of Mrs Dodo Hamilton, Campbell Soup heiress, legendary horticulturalist and supporter of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (America’s oldest). (BL)

Fri 17 Apr / Philadelphia – New York
Depart Philadelphia and drive to New York.

On the way, stop at Longwood one of the premier botanical gardens in the United States covering more than 1,077 acres (436 ha). Your visit will coincide with the famous Spring Blooms festival, when thousands of bulbs blossom throughout the gardens.

Continue to New York City, arriving in the late afternoon. (BL)

Sat 18 Apr/ New York
Enjoy a day of exploration of Manhattan’s contemporary green spaces and relaxing gardens.

First, begin with a visit to the new 9/11 Memorial Museum, honouring the victims and examining 9/11 and its continued global significance. Continue to the incredible public space that is Ken Smith’s Elevated acre at 55 Water St, and The Gardens of Remembrance, Piet Oudolf’s waterfront plantings on Battery Point, which are a tribute to the victims of 9/11 and include 114 varieties of perennials and native plants.

After lunch on your own in Chelsea’s thriving art district, head to the High Line, the famous elevated freight railway transformed into a public park on the lower west side of Manhattan. The 1.6km park’s attractions include naturalised plantings inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew on the disused tracks, rugged meadow plants as well as many American natives.

Evening at leisure. Renaissance Tours will assist with theatre and restaurant bookings. (B)

Sun 19 Apr / New York
Spend the day out of Manhattan in the borough of Brooklyn.

Today begins with a visit to Brooklyn Grange, a one acre urban farm in Brooklyn. Enjoy the unique perspective of the Manhattan skyline from the top of a six-storey industrial building amidst a productive, thriving green space. Take the Founders tour and be inspired by their fascinating philosophy.

In the afternoon experience spring in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Along with countless other spring blossoms, April is prime flowering time for over 200 Japanese flowering cherry trees showcasing more than 40 different species and cultivars.

This evening, celebrate the conclusion of the tour with a dinner cruise on New York harbour. (BD)

Mon 20 Apr / Depart New York
Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast. (B)

Emerald Green Landscapes

With all that rain and rich, fertile soil, it is no wonder that Ireland – North and South – and Northern Wales are renowned for their magnificent gardens. Join Margaret River’s Gourmet Gardener, Julie Kinney, for a kaleidoscope of emerald green landscapes, historic castles, grand country homes, great food and warm hospitality.

 

From Belfast to the rugged coastal towns of Northern Ireland, awash with flora and glittering seascapes, and from Dublin across the Irish Sea to Wales, discover some of the most distinguished private and public gardens in northern Europe.

Grand gardens, walled gardens, cottage gardens, woodland gardens, a garden for everyone! Be overwhelmed by the ever-changing backdrop of lush green hills and the vision of garden owners, both young and old.

 

AT A GLANCE…

Stunning Northern Ireland and Wales’ beautiful rugged coastlines and the walled gardens of Glenarm Castle and Benvarden
Meet, visit and workshop with internationally renowned horticulturalists Jimi Blake, Helen Dillon, Angela Jupe and June Blake
Iconic Irish gardens Powerscourt, Mount Stewart and Mount Usher, and the breathtaking Bodnant in northern Wales
Visit 14 private gardens and experience home cooked regional Irish and Welsh fare in private homes amongst the armoury and antiques
Portmeirion, a pastiche of a Riviera town in miniature, creation of Sir Clough William Ellis on the coast of Snowdonia and his nearby family home, Plas Brondanw

 

Itinerary

 

Sun 14 Jun 2015 / Depart Australia
Suggested evening departure from Australia on Emirates / QANTAS Airlines flights to Belfast via London.

Mon 15 Jun / Arrival Belfast – Ballygally
Arrive in Belfast and transfer to Ballygally Castle .Tour arrangements begin this evening with a welcome briefing and dinner with Julie Kinney and fellow travellers. (D)

Tue 16 Jun / Ballygally
Today travel to the north-western coast, with its rugged coastal headland and spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean. Visit Downhill Demesne, with its stunning landscape and striking 18th century mansion of the eccentric Earl Bishop that now lies in ruins. Explore Hezlett House, one of Northern Ireland’s oldest buildings which is a thatched cottage (built in 1691), and learn about the reality of life in the rural 17th century. Stroll down to Mussenden Temple perched on 120 ft cliff edge, built as a summer library, its architecture inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, near Rome.

Lunch at the historic estate, Benvarden, built in the 1630s. The two acre walled garden has been cultivated uninterrupted since 1788, and owned by the Montgomery family since 1798. The grounds stretch to the banks of the river, which is spanned by a splendid 90 ft iron bridge.

Return via the Antrim coast road with spectacular scenery, regarded as one of the great tourist routes of the world. (BLD)

Wed 17 Jun / Ballygally
Morning travel south along the coast to Ballyrobert Garden, a 17th century landscape complete with the original modest cottage, barn and farm layout extending to sixteen acres.See the outstanding and uniquely created Ulster Cottage Garden, containing one of the province’s most extensive collections of herbaceous plants, laid out in intimate settings and sweeping borders. Enjoy a garden tour and talk, followed by lunch in the tearooms.

In the afternoon, continue to Glenarm Castle. For 400 years, it has been the family home of the Earls of Antrim. Enjoy a private guided tour of the House, home to Lord and Lady Dunluce. The garden displays one of Ireland’s oldest walled gardens and was originally createdto supply the Castle with its fruit and vegetables, but is now is filled with exciting flowers and specimen plants to interest the keenest garden enthusiast. (BLD)

Thu 18 Jun / Ballygally – Culloden
Morning travel to Kilcoan Garden situated within the peninsula of Islandmagee. Enjoy a guided tour, including the cottage garden, orchard, vegetable and herb garden and the recently established ‘cut flower’ field. Learn a few Irish secrets to flower arranging, with a demonstration over morning tea.

Enjoy an orientation tour of the sights of Belfast, including the beautiful Edwardian City Hall, Queens University and Stormont Castle followed by a visit to the ‘Titanic Belfast’, a comprehensive, fascinating state-of-the-art exhibition detailing the construction, launch and maiden voyage of the city’s famous and ill-fated liner. After lunch (own expense) continue to Holywood, situated on the shore of Belfast Lough.

Afternoon at leisure followed by dinner at a local restaurant in Belfast. (BD)

Fri 19 Jun / Culloden
Begin the morning with a visit to Guincho Garden, a 12 acre informal garden laid out in the 1930s, but planted by Mrs Frazer Mackie from 1948 to 1979, with a large collection of rare shrubs and trees. Paths burrow through glades of rhododendrons and camellias along a hosta walk, or an exotic walk planted with South African plants, including eight different varieties of agapanthus and flowering Beschorneria yuccoides.

Prior to lunch travel to beautiful Rowallane Garden, a romantic garden full of colour, flowers and unique plants from around the world. The garden is an assortment of formal and informal spaces with the liveliest gardening in the inner sanctum of the walled garden. Spend time wandering through the path of rhododendrons leading to a naturalistic rock garden, or simply take a seat in the walled garden and leave the outside world behind.

Late in the afternoon visit Ballywalter Park Mansion and grounds, home of Lord and Lady Dunleath. The Estate is set over 1200 acres, with 30 acres of pleasure grounds, including a walled garden and an extensive rhododendron collection. Enjoy a guided tour of the house which has been in the family for 170 years, and was built in Italianate Palazzo style by the eminent architect, Sir Charles Lanyon. (BLD)

Sat 20 Jun / Culloden
Today visit Mount Stewart House and Gardens, truly one of the great gardens of the world. Enjoy a specialist garden tour of one of the UK National Trust’s most unique and unusual gardens. Created by Edith, (Lady Londonderry in the 1920s), the gardens are grand, and are known for their rich display of rare plants seldom seen growing in the British Isles. Following the garden tour, spend time exploring the 18th century neo-classical house which will have just undergone a £7 million restoration. Take time to stroll through the house and rooms, some of which have never before been open to the public.

Later, explore the private garden of David McMurran, known for its splendid hedging used to divide, enclose and frame. (BD)

Sun 21 Jun / Culloden – Durrow
This morning travel south, crossing the border into the Republic of Ireland towards Durrow. Visit the Irish National Stud situated in County Kildare, home to magnificent horses and one of Ireland’s finest natural treasures, the breathtakingly beautiful Japanese Gardens, renowned throughout the world and the finest of their kind in Europe. After lunch, enjoy a guided tour of the stud followed by time to leisurely explore the Japanese Garden and St. Fiachra Garden, a tribute to the Irish landscape in its rawest state. (BLD)

Mon 22 Jun / Durrow
A leisurely start today with a garden tour of Castle Durrow grounds by the head gardener.

Depart for Burtown House, an early Georgian villa surrounded by lush flower, vegetable and woodland gardens and beautiful parkland. Upon arrival enjoy a lunch, with fresh seasonal organic produce from the kitchen garden. Continue with a guided tour of the house and the ‘Artist’s Garden’, which is still owned and tended by three generations of a very talented family – the mother, Wendy Walsh, a renowned botanical artist, daughter Lesley, a painter, and son James, a professional photographer of historic properties. (BL)

Tue 23 Jun / Durrow
Begin this morning with a visit to Lismore Castle and Gardens, Irish seat of the Duke of Devonshire. The seven acre gardens are divided into very different halves. The Upper Garden is a complete example of a 17th century walled garden. The outer walls and terraces remain, and the plantings provide vegetables, fruit and herbs to match the tastes of those living within the Castle. The Lower Garden is informal, with shrubs, trees and lawns.

Late afternoon, drop by the Kilkenny Design Centre situated in the heart of Kilkenny City, offering an unrivalled selection of Irish handcrafted gifts of uniqueness and style. (BD)

Wed 24 Jun / Durrow
A full day of private garden visits. Begin with landscaper Arthur Shackleton’s (descendant of the explorer) own garden Fruitlawn, described as ‘enchanting’ for its ‘billowing borders and quiet corners’ by The Irish Garden Magazine.

Join Angela Jupe as she welcomes you to lunch at her Georgian farmhouse ‘Bellefield’. After lunch, enjoy a presentation on the history of Irish Gardens, followed by a tour of the garden and an opportunity to view her botanical art collection and explore the heritage buildings.

Late in the afternoon, visit Angela Jupe’s former garden at Fancroft Mill. Created in 1990, they cover 1.5 hectares and feature streams, wells and natural springs. Enjoy a brief introduction to the site and history of the Mill before exploring the gardens and the newly restored working mill, at your leisure. (BLD)

Thu 25 Jun / Durrow – Dublin
Travel to Dublin and enjoy a morning orientation tour of the largest city in Ireland.

The remainder of the day is free to explore this vibrant and friendly city. (B)

Fri 26 Jun / Dublin
This morning, travel south-west towards the Wicklow Mountains to visit two Blake Gardens. Begin with June Blake’s Garden and Nursery, an extensive garden that sits in the old cut granite farmyard of Tinode House.

Follow with a visit to Huntingbrook Garden, owned by June’s brother Jimi Blake, one of Ireland’s most renowned plantsmen. Huntingbrook is a dynamic and innovative garden set on 20 acres, with contemporary borders, creating a fusion of tropical, prairie and woodland planting in a natural setting. It is home to Ireland’s largest collection of ornamental grasses with over 200 species and cultivars. After Jimi’s homecooked, lunch enjoy a walk through the woodlands and the ancient glacial valley to the remains of a 7th century ring fort.

Later join one of Jimi’s friends nearby for yet another personal tour of a private garden. (BL)

Sat 27 Jun / Dublin
Today begin with a visit to Powerscourt Gardens, one of Ireland’s most famous gardens with a breath-taking panorama. The gardens first began to take shape over two-and-a half centuries ago and today stretch over 47 acres. Explore the charming walled garden, the sweeping terraces, and ornamental lakes which are linked by carefully designed walks – a magnificent estate overlooking Sugarloaf Mountain.

Continue to Mount Usher for a guided tour of a wild and informal garden, which dates back to 1850. The garden (nine hectares) is laid out along the banks of the River Vartry, and was inspired by William Robinson who favoured a more naturalistic style instead of the formal Victorian bedding schemes. It is a striking garden of meandering paths, glades and suspension bridges, from which numerous waterfalls can be viewed.

Enjoy a talk and tour of Helen Dillon’s house and private garden. Helen, a world-renowned plantswoman, writer, lecturer and broadcaster, has created a garden that is considered to be one of the gems of the horticultural world. The view of the gardens from the windows of the elegant Georgian drawing room, is one of the most photographed scenes in contemporary gardening. (B)

Sun 28 Jun / Dublin – Llandudno
Early start today, bid farewell to Dublin and travel to Holyhead, Wales via fast ferry (2 hours), crossing the Irish Sea.

Begin your exploration of Wales with a visit to Plas Newydd. The garden is one of intimacy and grandeur for all seasons, situated on the banks of the Menai Straits. Explore the Neo-Gothic house and Rex Whistler’s largest ever painting, an exquisite romantic mural in the Dining Room.Enjoy the stunning views of the mountains of Snowdonia as you wander through the 40 acre garden.

Continue to Llandudno, one of Britain’s finest Victorian seaside resorts, with its long crescent promenade and wide shopping streets.(BD)

Mon 29 Jun / Llandudno
Following breakfast, depart for Portmeirion, the famous Italianate village that stands on a rugged cliff top overlooking Cardigan Bay. Sir Clough Williams-Ellis acquired the site for Portmeirion in 1925 and, over the course of 50 years, developed the village in a unique and wonderfully eccentric style, while staying in harmony with the natural surroundings.

After lunch visit Plas Brondanw, at Croesor, Gwynedd. Plas Brondanw Estate was handed over to Sir Clough by his father in his mid-twenties. This Italianate garden is considered by many to be Clough’s most marvellous creation. Enjoy a guided tour of the mature gardens, wander the extensive avenues and delight in views that will take your breath away. (B)

Tue 30 Jun / Llandudno
This morning, delight in our final garden, Bodnant, world-famous for its botanical collection. The garden is set over 80 acres with grand ponds, impressive terraces and inspiring plants grown from seed and cuttings, collected over a century ago.

Continue to the Conwy Valley and the Furnace Farm, home of the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre. Enjoy a traditional Welsh lunch in one of Wales’ most picturesque tearooms, converted 18th century farm buildings.

Afternoon free prior to a farewell dinner. (BLD)

Wed 1 Jul / Depart Llandudno
Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast.

A morning coach transfer to Manchester Airport and Manchester city is included.

If returning to Australia today, Emirates/QANTAS flights depart early afternoon to Australia. Evening arrival in Australia on Thursday 02 July. (B)

(Some of) My Favourite Places in the South West of England

(Some of) My Favourite Places in
The South West of England

 

It was suggested to me by past clients that, as part of the program for 2014, our 20th year, I should do a tour to ‘My Favourite Places’. As I thought about it, such a tour became ever longer, because naturally some of my favourite places are in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, as well as in England. Even in England alone, the tour would be too long, so I settled on a compromise. Scotland, Ireland and Wales will remain separate tours, and England is divided into two parts – The North and The Heart of England, which we will explore in 2014, and this one, The South West in 2015.

 

WILTSHIRE, SOMERSET AND DORSET
Our tour both begins and ends in Wiltshire on the verges of The Salisbury Plains, where the distant past seems more tangible than in other parts of England. From our hub in the elegant Georgian city of Bath we explore this remarkable area. To the south is Dorset – Thomas Hardy country, where we may delight in discovering villages lovingly portrayed in the writer’s novels. Dorset is still a place of attractive market towns and unspoilt villages. Rural Dorset also displays the largest Iron Age hill fort in Europe. Somerset is another historic county in the South West where there is evidence of human occupation from the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic eras, and burial mounds, hill forts and other artefacts dating from the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages.

 

DEVON IN EXMOOR
Exmoor, Devon’s second National Park, but shared with Somerset, is a high bare plateau sliced by wooded valleys and rushing rivers. It rises sharply in the west to flatter summits and ridges where there are numerous prehistoric barrows and standing stones, although less well known than those on Dartmoor. The upland of heather and grass moorland, with its amazing diversity of wildlife, can be one of the most forbidding landscapes in England, especially when the mists roll in. The rivers pass from the plateau through steep valleys, the lower sections of which are thickly wooded, ringing with romantic echoes of R. D. Blackmore’s Lorna Doone.

 

CORNWALL
England’s last bastion of Celtic culture and language, The Duchy of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, is a principality, where Prince Charles is still the landlord and Camilla is the Duchess of Cornwall. The distinctive Cornish peninsula forms the toe of England, dividing the Bristol and English Channels as it thrusts out into the Atlantic Ocean. Fortunately it is a peninsula of extremely hard rocks which resist the relentless pounding.

 

DEVON IN DARTMOOR
Like Somerset and Cornwall, Devon is another county where there is much evidence of pre-historic culture and where, although the Romans penetrated as far as Exeter, and the Anglo-Saxons and Normans claimed ascendancy, the Celtic culture has none the less survived the centuries.

The interesting and varied geology of Devon has created distinct regions. Craggy granite is sometimes exposed, but the rocks are mainly Devonian shales and slates. The high mass of Dartmoor, a rugged, rocky wilderness which is deservedly a National Park, dominates central Devon. In the far north, on grits and sandstones, Devon claims a second National Park; a portion of Exmoor, which it shares with Somerset.

Dartmoor is granite upland, mostly over 700 feet and up to 2000 feet in the north, often described as the last great wilderness of southern England. In 1952 an area of 365 square miles was designated National Park. It is a lonely moorland, the legendary home of mischievous pixies’, and of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’.

 

SALISBURY AND THE SALISBURY PLAIN
Our final hub is the great cathedral city, Salisbury, where the beautiful cathedral stands in a broad green expanse of lawn in the centre of the city, surrounded by carefully preserved historic buildings. From here we radiate out visiting delightful villages, enchanting market towns and many sites of special interest. Close by, on the outskirts of Salisbury is Old Sarum, the original site of Salisbury, and Wilton House, an ornate stately home that has been home to the Earls of Pembroke for over 450 years.

To the north of Salisbury we visit Stonehenge, the enigmatic stone circle begun nearly 5000 years ago. Although visitors cannot wander through the stones today, you can certainly approach closely enough to be struck with wonder at the determination and skill of the ancient peoples who erected this amazing monument. And to the South East is The New Forest.

 

THE NEW FOREST
There can be few other places in England where the ancient landscape has remained so unchanged. In 1079 when William The Conqueror claimed and named the area, he would not have imagined that nearly 1000 years later his ‘Nova Foresta’ would still retain its mystery and romance, and that many of his laws for the forest would still hold.

The ancient system established by William to protect and manage the woodlands and wilderness heaths is still in place today through the efforts of Verderers, Agisters and Commoners – literally the judges, stockmen and land users of the forest.

Within The New Forest we will see the famous New Forest Ponies, which graze freely in this former royal preserve, and we visit the exciting garden of Furzey. At Beaulieu the National Motor Museum preserves a range of historic motorised vehicles, housed in the grounds of a stately home carved from the remains of a medieval monastery.

Gardens and Wilderness of Tasmania

We would be delighted if you choose to join us as we explore the dramatic landscapes of the world’s last great temperate wilderness. In the rugged mountain ranges dense rainforests wild rivers and glaciated peaks we’ll discover wildlife scenery and vegetation which is unlike anywhere else on earth.

The slogan ‘Discover Your Natural State’ used by Tourism Tasmania to attract people from other Australian states is very fitting for 21% of Tasmania is currently protected by National Park status and another 15% or so is in State Forest or Forest Reserve. A further 13% is still in a ‘natural’ state and it has been proposed that these areas too should be within National Parks. They include both new areas not yet protected such as the Tarkine in the north-west and areas adjoining existing national parks extending their protection.

Tasmania currently has twenty accessible National Parks from mountains to the coast. Within that framework in the west the South-West National Park Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park Walls of Jerusalem National Park and Hartz Mountain National Park together protect the world’s largest temperate wilderness the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area listed under the World Heritage Convention that recognises cultural and natural sites around the world that are of international importance. The world heritage status given to those parks is global recognition of their unique natural heritage and of their value to the world.

Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area currently includes 20% of Tasmania’s land area. The Tasmanian Green movement has proposed that both the Tarkine and the areas adjoining current World Heritage Listed sites should be given World Heritage listing as well as national park protection. It would be very fitting for this to happen for as Greg Buckman Statistics Officer for the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service and author of ‘A Visitor’s Guide to Tasmania’s National Parks’ wrote after returning to Tasmania from visiting wilderness areas overseas and revisiting wild areas of the state; “Tasmania’s natural heritage rivals anywhere else in the world”.

It would be our pleasure to share with you this natural wonderland along with a selection of Tasmania’s excellent gardens and fascinating sites of aboriginal and colonial heritage.

Journey at an easy pace exploring this land of exciting contrasts :

– the world’s last wild frontiers and ordered woods and gardens

– awe-inspiring seascapes and dramatic mountain scenery

– tranquil rural landscapes and sparkling alpine lakes

– remnant penal settlements and inspiring pioneer townships

– convict-built cottages and splendid manor houses

– traditional ‘English’ villages and stately Georgian cities

– unspoilt primeval rainforests and hawthorn-hedged fields

As well as exploring Nature’s wonderland this exciting and informative voyage of discovery visits sites of aboriginal penal colonial mining and gold rush heritage forts and gaols churches and bridges and stately homes and cottages and their gardens. You have the time to view the treasure troves of human endeavour which are preserved and displayed in many of these historic places. This eventful tour is not just for keen gardeners conservationists and naturalists but also for those with an interest in 35 000 years of aboriginal heritage and in the architecture art and artefacts and the social history of two centuries of white civilization in Van Dieman’s Land.

Glorious Gardens of Britain – exclusive small group tour

Tour Highlights:

– Romantic Gresgarth Hall—designed by landscape designer and plantswoman – Arabella Lennox Boyd
– Sissinghurst—designed by Vita Sackville West
– Castles and stately homes, including Glamis Castle, Alnwick Castle, Hatfield House and Hampton Court
– West Green Garden – designed by Australian Marylyn Abbott
– David Austin’s Rose Garden and Nursery
– Chartwell, home of Winston Churchill
– Munstead Wood, former home of Gertrude Jeckyll
– Beth Chatto’s Garden and Nursery
– Three nights in the beautiful Cotswolds region
– Guided tours of Edinburgh, Cambridge and London

This is a small group tour with exclusive use of a Mercedes Benz coach providing access to small villages and country lanes.

Day 1 Depart Australia – Mon 1 June
Meet your tour escort, Lynne Walker, at Sydney International Airport and depart on the flight to Scotland via Dubai.
(Meals inflight )

Day 2 Arrive Scotland – Tue 2 June
Early afternoon arrival Scotland. Arrive Glasgow. Meet your tour manager/driver and transfer to the historic town of St Andrews. Welcome dinner tonight in the hotel.
(- – D) Overnight: St Andrews

Day 3 St Andrews – Wed 3 June
Visit St Andrews Botanic Gardens for an introduction to the plants of the Northern Hemisphere. Over 8000 species of plants and trees are grown here; some are native to Scotland but most grow wild in other regions of the world. Afterwards there’s free time for lunch in the centre of this charming town. After lunch visit Falkland Palace Garden then return to St Andrews for free time to wander through the historic centre.
(B- -) Overnight: St Andrews

Day 4 St Andrews to Edinburgh – Thu 4 June
Leave St Andrews in the morning and drive to the garden at House of Pitmuies. Here, two semi-formal wall gardens adjoin an 18th century house and shelter a long border of herbaceous perennials. The garden has spacious lawns, river and lochside walks beneath tall trees. Continue to Glamis Castle near Forfar for a tour of the castle and impressive gardens. The Italian Garden includes a raised terrace between two small gazebos, and fan-shaped parterres of formal beds separated by gravel walks. This was the family home of the Queen Mother and the tour provides a fascinating insight into her life. Later this afternoon travel on to Edinburgh, the nation’s capital. Dinner will be included in the hotel this evening.
(B – D) Overnight: Edinburgh

Day 5 Edinburgh – Fri 5 June
Depart after breakfast for a guided sightseeing tour of Edinburgh including Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile, Newtown, Holyrood Palace, and Princes Street. After some free time for lunch, travel out of the city to visit Broadwoodside Garden where the garden was started with a blank canvas in 2000 and continues to develop today. Everything has been planted and maintained by the gardener Guy Donaldson, who has lived and worked there from the start. Return to Edinburgh where the remainder of the day and evening are at leisure.
(B — ) Overnight: Edinburgh

Day 6 Edinburgh to Durham – Sat 6 June
Depart this morning after breakfast for Alnwick Castle for a visit to the castle and gardens followed by lunch. Created by the Duchess of Northumberland over the past ten years, Alnwick includes the country’s largest collection of European plants, the Grand Cascade water feature, interactive water sculptures, the infamous Poison Garden and one of the world’s largest wooden tree houses. Depart early afternoon and travel to Cragside Garden near Rothbury. The Formal Garden of over three acres is a magnificent example of a Victorian garden laid out in three terraces and is an idyllic, colourful spot to take in views of Northumberland. Continue to Durham for overnight. Dinner will be included in the hotel this evening.
(B L D) Overnight: Durham

Day 7 Durham to Lancaster – Sun 7 June
This morning travel south into Yorkshire and visit Scampston Walled Garden at Malton, acclaimed as one of the finest gardens in North Yorkshire. This is a stunningly beautiful contemporary garden, designed by the renowned Dutch plantsman, Piet Oudolf. Continue to the historic city of York for independent lunch and time to visit York Minster. Travel on to Harlow Carr Gardens near Harrogate. Set in a valley and covering 68 acres it is very much a part of the Yorkshire landscape, woodland and wildflower meadows as well as acidic soil which affords a fabulous environment for rhododendrons and Himalayan blue poppies. Continue later this afternoon to Lancaster for dinner.
(B – D) Overnight: Lancaster

Day 8 Lancaster to Shrewsbury – Mon 8 June
Depart this morning for Gresgarth Hall, home of world-renowned landscape designer and plantswoman Arabella Lennox-Boyd. Since 1978 she has created a beautiful romantic garden, combining the best of Italian style and British plantsmanship. With lavishly planted terraces leading down to a lake, wild and bog gardens, large herbaceous borders, an extensive walled kitchen garden, a magnolia and rhododendron hillside and a serpentine beech walk. Continue to the pretty and historic market town of Shrewsbury. Dinner will be included in the hotel this evening.
(B – D) Overnight: Shrewsbury

Day 9 Shrewsbury – Tue 9 June
Enjoy some time at leisure this morning before visiting Biddulph Grange, an amazing Victorian garden created by Darwin contemporary James Bateman. His plant collection comes from all over the world and includes the oldest surviving golden larch in Britain. A visit takes you on a global journey from Italy to Egypt and the Himalayas to China! Afterwards continue to The Combermere Arms for lunch before visiting Combermere Abbey near Whitchurch, where the Walled Gardens are a remarkable testament to a way of life which almost completely disappeared between the 1st and 2nd World Wars.
(B L -) Overnight: Shrewsbury

Day 10 Shrewsbury to The Cotswolds – Wed 10 June
Depart this morning for a visit to Wollerton Old Hall near Market Drayton. This is a spectacular garden with extensive hedges, walls and paths that have created a number of separate gardens, each one having its own style and ethos. Colour, form and scale are all important and the planting style is best described as controlled exuberance with a definite emphasis upon perennials. This afternoon, continue to the ever-popular nursery of David Austin in Albrighton. After fifty years of intensive breeding, David Austin’s English Roses combine the beautiful forms and wonderful fragrances of old roses with the wider colour range and repeat-flowering nature of modern roses and this visit allows you to appreciate his familiar and unfamiliar roses on their home turf! Afterwards continue to the Cotswolds area. Dinner at the hotel.
(B – D) Overnight: Cotswolds

Day 11 The Cotswolds – Thu 11 June
Travel through the delightful picturesque Cotswolds region to the gardens at Cerney House. Featuring brightly coloured tulips, herbaceous borders packed with old-fashioned favourites, and surrounded by roses and companion climbers Cerney House also has a working Kitchen Garden, herb garden and medicinal garden. Continue to Barnsley to have lunch at Barnsley House Hotel with the opportunity to wander afterwards in the gardens famously created by Rosemary Verey. You can stroll through sunny terraces, formal lawns, ancient meadows and wilderness; or take some to time to explore the many twists, turns, nooks and crannies of the garden. If possible continue to Highgrove. Over 30 years in the making, the organic gardens at Highgrove are some of the most creatively inspiring and innovative in the United Kingdom.
(B L -) Overnight: Cotswolds

Day 12 The Cotswolds – Fri 12 June
After breakfast visit Mill Dene, a classic English country garden with a tranquil mill pond and grotto, a Fruit Garden with wonderful views over the hills, and a herb potager that has plants with medicinal, culinary and pot pourri uses. After lunch visit the gardens of Hidcote Manor, laid out by Major Lawrence Johnston in the early part of the 19th century and one of the most famous gardens in Britain. The various garden ‘rooms’ here have influenced garden styles throughout Britain. Later visit Bourton House Gardens, with its imaginative topiary, including a knot garden, parterre and topiary walk; natural springs to create water features; an unusual shade house and wide herbaceous borders with exotic plants. Bourton House Garden came under new ownership in 2010 and today, the garden continues to evolve, constantly surprising visitors with its inspirational planting, stunning colour combinations and rare, unusual and exotic plants. Dinner at hotel.
(B – D) Overnight: Cotswolds

Day 13 The Cotswolds to St Albans – Sat 13 June
Today visit Chenies Manor, an historic and enchanting Tudor Manor House with award-winning gardens set in the charming village of Chenies in Buckinghamshire, overlooking the Chess valley. There will be a guided tour of the house and gardens, which are divided into a series of compartments, with various colour themes and structural forms, combining imaginative plantings and beautiful plant associations.
(B – D) Overnight: St Albans

Day 14 St Albans to Cambridge – Sun 14 June
Depart this morning for Hatfield House where the garden dates from the early 17th century when Robert Cecil employed John Tradescant the Elder to collect plants for his new home. Tradescant was sent to Europe where he found and brought back trees, bulbs, plants and fruit trees, which had never previously been grown in England. See the sundial garden and fountains, and view the famous knot garden adjoining the Tudor Old Palace where Elizabeth I spent much of her childhood. Continue this afternoon to the great English university city of Cambridge, where there will be a guided walking tour of the city including some of the impressive colleges, King’s College Chapel and the tranquil setting of ‘The Backs’.
(B-— -) Overnight: Cambridge

Day 15 Cambridge to Tunbridge Wells – Mon 15 June
Leave Cambridge and travel to the inspirational Beth Chatto Gardens and Nursery near Colchester. Commenced in 1960 from an overgrown wasteland with poor gravel soil and boggy hollows, the garden has been transformed into an informal garden harmonising with the surrounding countryside. The gardens are an inspiration to anyone who visits them. This afternoon, continue into the county of Kent, with a visit to Chartwell, the home of Sir Winston Churchill. A tour of the house provides a unique glimpse into the life of this extraordinary man. The garden here once produced fruit and vegetables for all his homes, including 10 Downing Street. The rose garden was built and planted specifically for Lady Churchill to view from her window. Continue to Tunbridge Wells.
(B – -) Overnight: Tunbridge Wells

Day 16 Tunbridge Wells – Tue 16 June
Depart this morning to visit Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, perhaps the most famous of Britain’s romantic gardens, created by the poet and novelist Vita Sackville-West, and her husband, Sir Harold Nicholson. Utilizing the design concept of garden rooms and incorporating it with ruined castle walls makes this garden most spectacular. Later this afternoon visit Great Dixter, which has been the home of the Lloyd family since 1920. Here gardening writer Christopher Lloyd has continued the work started by his father, creating a series of colorful gardens. Dinner will be included in the hotel this evening
(B – D) Overnight: Tunbridge Wells

Day 17 Tunbridge Wells to Surrey Hills – Wed 17 June
This morning visit West Dean Garden; a large historic property of 36 hectares, where a bold re-development program has been designed to bring the nineteenth century gardens into the twenty-first century. After lunch visit Munstead Wood, the home of Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932). Now in private ownership, the house was designed by a young Edwin Lutyens and constructed from bargate stone and other local materials. Miss Jekyll incorporated many of her own ideas into the design, all of which add to its charm. It was completed in 1896 and now both the house and garden are Grade I listed.
(B L -) Overnight: Surrey Hills

Day 18 Surrey Hills to London – Thu 18 June
This morning visit the stunning West Green House Gardens. Designed by Australian Marylyn Abbott and described as a garden with a special and distinctive sense of place, it features a magnificent walled garden, creative plantings, perennial borders, imaginative topiary, follies and elaborate potager with berry filled fruit cages, espaliered fruit trees, annual flowers and colourful vegetables. The Lakefield carpeted in the spring with fritillaries and daffodils, embraces one of England’s most eclectic collections of garden follies and leads to the Paradise Water Garden and contemporary Garden of the Five Bridges. A real delight! Continue to RHS Wisley , the inspiring flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society with a large shop that sells a huge selection of gardening literature. Continue to London later this afternoon. This evening dinner will be included in your hotel.
(B – D) Overnight: London

Day 19 London – Fri 19 June
This morning enjoy a panoramic sightseeing tour of London including the famous sites such as Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Tower of London and Tower Bridge. The rest of the day will be free for rest and relaxation, individual activities and shopping.
(B – -) Overnight: London

Day 20 London – Sat 20 June
Morning visit to the Chelsea Physic Garden. Situated in the heart of London, this ‘hidden gem’ has a unique living collection of around 5,000 different edible, useful, medicinal and historical plants and is a peaceful green oasis in which to enjoy a relaxing stroll and lunch. This afternoon visit the Maze and Gardens at Hampton Court, all set within a loop of the River Thames. Highlights include the Great Vine – planted in 1768 by the celebrated gardener ‘Capability’ Brown; and the 20th Century Garden – contemporary style planting with trees and shrubs in an informal setting that creates a place of peace and tranquility away from the busier areas of the Hampton Court gardens. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner with your fellow-travellers.
(B – D) Overnight: London

Day 21 Depart London – Sun 21 June
Day at leisure before transferring to Heathrow for the flight home or onward individual travel.
(B & Meals inflight)

Day 22 Inflight – Mon 22 June

Day 23 Arrive Australia – Tue 23 June
Arrive into Sydney and make connections to home locations

In An English Country Garden

A Unique Tour, for Six to Twelve People

 

Journey with Suz as she seeks out in the rolling hills and valleys and dense woods, along sleepy winding rivers, and through beautifully-preserved villages and market towns, the most delightful and the most dramatic of gardens; indeed, some of the finest and most famous gardens in the country; flower-filled cottage gardens, charming manor gardens and the majestic parks, lakes and walled gardens of palace and castle.

We travel first for four days in Cambridgeshire, and through the spacious Fens; John Constable’s land of wide skies and ancient oaks, slow moving rivers and wind pumps, country lanes, churches and cottages; scenes which came to epitomise the English countryside for some of us.

We move into the pretty and prosperous heart of The Cotswolds to spend four days experiencing some of the loveliest scenery in England, where cottages, mills, bridges and churches of mellow honey-yellow stone blend harmoniously into gracious villages, where the roses cling to the cottage walls and clematis tumble over the porches.

Then we head south-west to wander through the familiar landscape of Stourhead. In Somerset and Dorset we explore for three days yet another area of great gardens and scenery, accommodated in a luxurious Country House in spacious gardens in the heart of Somerset. To The West Country for four days where we stay in the garden of Meudon. We visit some of the paradise gardens, where the Quakers succeeded in their attempt to create a little bit of heaven on earth; gardens basking in the balmy climate endowed by the gulf stream lapping the shores.

Moving east, for two days we explore Dartmoor and the nearby gardens. Further east, we spend three days in and around Salisbury, and we travel through the New Forest to Beaulieu and Furzey gardens. We spend our final five days in the south east counties of Kent and East and West Sussex, which revel in their well-deserved name of “the garden of Eden England”. Among other great gardens, we visit Sissinghurst and Great Dixter. With so much to explore, we could stay here for many more days, but sadly our tour must come to an end.

Join Suz for these 24 special days visiting gardens great and small in “this green and pleasant land”. We do not attempt to see a very large number of gardens, on average visiting less than two per day. Rather, we spend plenty of quality time in those we have selected for you.

 

SOME TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Multiple Nights in Special Hotels
Leisurely Visits to more than 40 Great Gardens
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show option

 

CASTLES, MANSIONS, MANOR HOUSES and GARDENS :

The Beth Chatto Gardens, Ickworth House, Oxburgh Hall, Anglesea Abbey, Upton House, Sudeley Castle, Snowshill Manor, Rousham House, Burghley House, Hidcote Manor, Kiftsgate Court, Stourhead, Mapperton,
Forde Abbey, East Lambrook Manor, Montacute, Hestercombe, Eden Project, St Michaels Mount, Trebah, Trelissick, Lost Garden of Heligan, Glendurgan, The Garden House, Cotehele Castle, Drogo, Killerton, Tintinhull, Wilton House, Beaulieu Gardens, Furzey Gardens, Mottisfont, Denmans, Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, Great Dixter, Nymans Borde Hill, Wisley, Savill Garden, Meudon

and Hampton Court Palace Flower Show option …

 

MAJOR HISTORIC / PREHISTORIC SITES :

Merrivale Prehistoric Village, Chysauster Ancient Village, Postbridge Clapper Bridge, Westbury White Horse, The Rollright Stones, Maiden Castle, Old Sarum

 

SIGNIFICANT SCENIC AREAS :

Dartmoor National Park, New Forest, Cornish Coast, Arlington Row

 

VILLAGES, MARKET TOWNS and OTHER SITES OF INTEREST :

Coggeshall, Bibury, Polperro, St Ives, Bourton-on-the-Water, Winchcombe, Montacute, Widecombe in the Moor, St Michael’s Mount, Charlestown, Great Tew, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stratford-Upon-Avon…..

“ … away before me to sweet beds of flowers :
love thoughts lie rich, when canopied with bowers. ”

Twelfth Night, Shakespeare

RHS Malvern Spring Show

RHS Malvern Spring Show

 

Held at the the Three Counties Showground, in Malvern, Worcestershire, WR13 6NW, the Malvern Spring Show features:

Inspirational Show Gardens – created by top designers including RHS Gold Medal Winners

Unique Festival Gardens – encouraging & inspiring new gardeners

Malvern Floral Marquee – a sea of colour & scents including RHS Gold Medal standard nurseries

Get Going, Get Growing – first time gardener workshops

Talks from Top Gardening Experts

Exclusive Shopping – unusual plants, delicious food & decorative home effects

Delicious Food & Drink – a complete taste experience headlined by top chefs

Griffith Festival of Gardens NSW

Griffith is the place to be in October this year with the Festival of Gardens and Citrus Sculptures being the major attractions. This year we have nine fabulous gardens opening that will provide an amazing experience for serious gardeners and novices alike. Some of our previous favourite gardens are opening again and some spectacular new gardens will also be on display. Expansive country gardens and compact town gardens displaying the owner’s passion and creativity will provide enjoyable visits in restful and colourful surroundings.

The Citrus Sculptures will once again be sponsored by the Real Juice Company and will line the entrance to Griffith along Banna Avenue. In 2014 there will be more than 60 incredible sculptures, including a castle, gondola and kangaroo just to name a few. These sculptures are unique to Griffith and must be seen to be believed.

Additional attractions this year include the Paella by the Sculptures on Friday 17 October and the Italian Table with special guest Tino Carnevale at Pioneer Park Museum on Saturday 18 October. Tino will be visiting many gardens during the festival, his enthusiasm and gardening expertise will ensure any garden visit will be a pleasant experience.

These new attractions will provide opportunities for visitors to enjoy 2014 Griffith Festival of Gardens and its varied attractions……food, wine, galleries, museum, shopping and parks. Griffith is definitely the city to visit. Come join us! Pat Cox, Chair Festival of Gardens Committee.

 

Garden Tours by Bus Friday 17, Saturday 18, Sunday 19 & Monday 20 – The bus departs the Visitor Information Centre at 9am & returns at 4:30pm. The tour includes garden visits & lunch. Morning & Afternoon tea are available at your own expense. Friday: Gardens 3,4,5,9 Saturday: Gardens 1,2,6,7,8 Sunday: Gardens 3,4,5,9 Monday: Gardens 1,2,6,7,8 Cost: $55 | Time: 9am – 4:30pm Bookings essential: 1800 681 141

 

Garden 1: Cass & Wayne: 10 Blumer Avenue, Griffith

Our 15 year old suburban garden is highly structured, very colourful and well loved. The front uses 90m of high and low hedges to divide the garden into distinct rooms, each of which offers its own character and privacy. The back is equally structured, but even more colourful, with a superb use of space. Our 240 roses, which despite being a feature, are only a small part of the overall effect of colour and style. We offer a wonderful example of what can be achieved right in the centre of town. Supporting: Various charities | F, SA, SU | Friday 17 at 1.30pm join Tino for a Question & Answer session.

 

Garden 2: June Devery: 39 Curtin Street, Griffith

This garden is a passion for June who has lovingly built it from scratch and filled it with a delightful array of perennials, succulents, trees, shrubs, roses, irises, ground covers, azaleas, camellias and hibiscus! Visitors are able to wander through the garden via meandering paths where they will be amazed at some of the different and exotic plants that June has been able to establish in her garden. Supporting: Country Hope | F, SA, SU | Attractions: Plants for sale. Friday 17 at 11am come and meet Tino, take a photo with him and have your program signed.

 

Garden 3: Rina & Santo Mercuri: Cnr Violi Drv & Candice Place, Lake Wyangan

Tranquility and peacefulness are the essence of this 11⁄2 acre garden. A stunning garden with its luscious plantings of roses, trees and shrubs has been designed with style and simplicity. Perennials, annuals and groundcovers fill terraced areas. There are many beautiful areas where you can just sit and enjoy the peacefulness. The covered promenade and wood fired pizza oven are always the envy of many visitors. Supporting: Griffith Pony Club | F, SA, SU | | Attractions: Toblac Sculptural Metal. Saturday 18 at 3pm join Tino for a workshop on composting. Friday 17 & Saturday 18 Happy Scrapper activities throughout the day. Saturday 18 & Sunday 19 Starfish Florist workshop | Bookings essential: Call Vanessa on 6964 2765

 

Garden 4: Julie & Patrick McMahon: 4 Elizabeth Drive, Lake Wyangan

This is a unique garden predominately filled with Australian natives, and a minimal amount of lawn. Flowering gums and bottle brushes surround the block and are a major attraction for birds and wildlife. Meandering gravel paths lead you around the garden where you will find quirky garden ornaments in unusual places! They have even created a dry creek bed, filled with river stones, and crossed by a weathered wooden bridge. Come and see Dry Stone Walling and Gabion Basket workshop during the weekend. You’ll be inspired! Supporting: Local Charities | F, SA, SU, M | Attractions: Handmade sculptures. Sunday 19 at 2.30pm join Tino for a walk and talk tour on growing and caring for natives.

 

Garden 5: Joy & Bruno Plos: ‘Belle Amour Garden’ 5 Maegraith Place, Lake Wyangan

This award winning garden is surrounded by a peaceful bushland setting. Over some 25 years Joy & Bruno have created a tranquil garden full of irises, perennials, heritage shrubs, trees and roses, including David Austins which cascade over arbours and arches leading to a sunken rose garden. Exotic hybrid clematis entwine over garden structures built by Bruno, admire the gazebo which contains hand painted porcelain and fine bone china (on display and for sale). Enjoy the delightful vegie garden which features Bruno’s espaliered fruit trees. This truly is a garden for all seasons and is at its most desirable in spring! Supporting: Griffith Social Dancers | F, SA, SU, M | Attractions: Plant sales. Saturday 18 at 10am join Tino’s talk about how to espalier fruit trees (at the vegie patch).

 

Garden 6: Marj & Mick Careri: ‘Rosewood Park on Stokes’ 2355A Stokes Road, Hanwood

The garden is surrounded by a vineyard, in the distance is a picturesque barn door and rustic bike along with a wall covered in the beautiful Lorraine Lee climbing rose. Beyond this is a water feature built with an idealic gazebo and jetty. There is an abundance of blooms in this park like garden with over 800 roses – all growing over arbours, arches, in beds and borders – they are truly captivating! Other features include a dovecote over a pond, bird aviary, tropical garden and children’s swings. Supporting: Binya Public School P&C | F, SA, SU, M | | Note: Wheelchair access available Friday 17 at 3.30pm join Tino for walk & talk tour on growing & maintaining roses. Attractions: Saturday 12pm Tuckerbox Auction & 2pm Lance Parker Poetry. Sunday 12pm Griffith North PS Choir, 12.30pm Workshop with Children’s Author Caroline Tuohey & 2pm Poetry.

 

Garden 7: Tori Horder & Lawrence Salvestrin: ‘Davit Farm’ Cashmere Road, Widgelli

This large country garden is surrounded by mature trees which create summer shade and an exciting tapestry of greens. Visitors are able to stroll from one garden room to another in this tranquil setting. Enjoy all the delights of this garden including formal lily pond, small lake with water iris & rambling roses, a Monet Bridge, species rose garden, a white trunked forest and many areas of dry stone walls. Tori is always adding new features to this ever changing garden. This elegant country garden invites you to sit and enjoy the vistas, serenity and space. Supporting: Griffith Riding for the Disabled | F, SA, SU, M | Sunday 19 at 10am join Tino for walk and talk tour on how to create garden rooms and garden features.

 

Garden 8: Pat Jones: ‘Yambiana’, 69 Halse Road, Yenda

Glimpses of the Mirrool Creek can be seen through the native box and saltbush as visitors travel down the driveway to the Yambiana garden. On approach to the garden, visitors are welcomed by a long hedge of oleanders to their right, and a forest of gums to their left, set off by a feature pond and dry stone wall. Through the formal gates are long established native trees complemented by mature deciduous trees, silk trees, crepe myrtles, massed roses, banks of chinese jasmine, geisha girls and gardenias. Irises and agapanthus add a sculptural touch to the garden and its expansive lawns. The original tank stand and windmill remain as features of the garden, which is also home to peacocks and pets. Supporting: The Anglican Church (Yenda) | F, SA, SU | Attractions: Local jojoba products on display & for sale. Catering on site by Sugarmill Patisserie. Sunday 19 at 12pm join Tino for talk on how to love your lawn and garden edging ideas.

 

Garden 9: Julie & Bruce Armstrong: ‘Corynnia Station’, Carrathool

An expansive outback homestead garden where design, style and simplicity are of paramount importance. Very little garden existed when Julie and Bruce moved to Corynnia in 1982. Cool, soft colours are favoured in mass plantings of rambling, hardy species of perennials, roses and succulents. Robust hedging creates structure & formality to areas. The orchard & vegetable garden within are highly productive. Designed for and nurtured in a harsh environment on the edge of the Hay Plains, this garden is often described by visitors as ‘an oasis in the desert’! Supporting: Hay Can Assist | F | SA, SU | Attractions: Corrugated iron sculpture by Kim Gibbs and paintings by Julie Armstrong. Saturday 18 at 12.30pm join Tino for a talk on garden design, how to achieve balance and create harmony throughout your garden.

Italian Food & Garden Tour with Julie Ray & Phil Dudman

ITINERARY

Day 1 Friday May 22, 2015 Departure
Today we board our over-night flight to Rome.

Day 2 Saturday May 23, 2015 Bagno Vignoni, Tuscany
This afternoon we arrive at Rome airport. Upon arrival we are met by our coach for the trip to the Tuscan village of Bagno Vignoni, where we will spend the next three nights. This small Orcia River Valley village has long been a favourite among travellers seeking solitude in a beautiful location. We will stay at a small family owned 15th-century hotel, built by Rossellino as a summerhouse for Pope Pius II, who enjoyed the advantage of the nearby hot mineral springs. Tour members will enjoy delicious Tuscan dinners each night during our stay at Bagno Vignoni.

Day 3 Sunday May 24, 2015 Bagno Vignoni, Tuscany
This morning we travel south to visit Parco dei Mostri. This garden is unique. Made up of astonishing gigantic sculptures, many of them hewn from the rock on the wooded hillside – you will be amazed. Are they autobiographical, literary, historical or philosophical? The scholars don’t know. This afternoon we visit the magnificent gardens of Villa Lante, near Viterbo. This is a perfect Renaissance garden in which murmuring water, flashing fountains, shade and sunlight alternate under vast plane trees. The garden, organised on four levels along a main axis, emphasized by fountains, has perfect symmetry.

Day 4 Monday May 25, 2015 Bagno Vignoni, Tuscany
This morning we visit Villa Cetinale, built in the 15th century by the Chigi family, bankers and money lenders for popes and English kings. Additions to the original house and garden were carried out by Carlo Fontana, who was a pupil of Bernini. In the gardens are wonderful statues and the Romitorio, a hermitage where monks lived until near the end of the 19th century. Lord Lambton bought Vila Cetinale from the Chigi family in 1977 and since then the gardens have been immaculately restored and enriched. This afternoon we will enjoy a sightseeing tour with a local guide of the wonderful medieval city of Siena, best known for the famous Palio horse race held in the magnificent Piazza del Campo. Siena is also home to the oldest bank in the world, a spectacular town hall and majestic cathedral. A local guide will introduce us to the major sights of the city, including the Piazza del Campo with its splendid civic tower and the enormous, partially completed Duomo.

Day 5 Tuesday May 26, 2015 Florence
We drive through the gorgeous Tuscan countryside to Florence this morning. In the afternoon we have a walking tour of Florence. During our walking tour we see the Piazza del Duomo, one of the largest cathedrals in the Christian world. Together with Brunelleschi’s wonderful dome, we see the Campanile and the Baptistry. We also wander through the Piazza della Signoria, which contains the Loggia della Signoria, the Palazzo Vecchio and nearby, the Ponte Vecchio over the Arno River.

Day 6 Wednesday May 27, 2015 Florence
This morning is free for individual activity. This afternoon we travel to Villa Gamberaia, set in classic olive-grove country. Restored to its 16th-century splendour, the garden is small, but idyllic. The main terrace is laid out with parterres de broderie and the water gardens are reminiscent of Persian reflecting pools.

Day 7 Thursday May 28, 2015 Florence
We travel by coach north to Pistoia, an area with many wholesale plant nurseries, which specialise in large trees and topiaries. Many of the very advanced specimen trees that feature at the Chelsea Flower show are sourced from these nurseries. Our guided tour of the Vanucci Piante nursery, which exports plants to 48 countries around the world, is a fascinating insight into the business side of horticulture and some of the specimens will amaze you. We continue north west to the Camaiore area. This is an area of flower and green plant growing. We will see fields of flowers before returning to Florence for an evening at leisure.

Day 8 Friday May 29, 2015 Bologna
Today we travel to Bologna, the food capital of Italy. On arrival we will visit the Bologna earth market. More than thirty farmers from the surrounding area sell their seasonal products. The market is organized by the Slow Food Network to sell fruit, vegetables, bread, biscuits, milk, yogurt, eggs, salami and other produce. After time for lunch we will enjoy a sightseeing tour with a local guide of the gorgeous historic centre of Bologna. We will see three attractive city squares: Piazza Maggiore, on the south side we see the huge Basilica di San Petronio, begun in 1390. Piazza del Nettuno has a wonderful 16th century fountain in the centre and Piazza di Porta Ravegnana completes the trio. The squares form a harmonious ensemble. We see the town hall which is composed of buildings from the 13th century to the 15th century. We travel to our hotel and the tour manager will meet tour members who would like to dine together to sample local specialties’.

Day 9 Saturday May 30, 2015 Bologna
We will travel to Modena home of balsamic vinegar today. We first visit Mercator Albinelli opened in 1931. Built in the Art Deco style it is itself a work of art. We will see a vast array of produce. We will enjoy a tour of a small family run balsamic vinegar producer. We see how the vinegar is aged in a series of wooden barrels for a minimum of twelve years. The tour concludes with a tasting of the different varieties of balsamic vinegar including one that sells for Euro 110. We will have lunch at Osteria Francescana, voted third in “The world’s top 50 restaurants “ where famous Italian chef Massimo Bottura is able to balance traditional and modern Italian cuisine. We return to Bologna late afternoon.

Day 10 Sunday May 31, 2015 Bologna
Today we will have a tour of the historical shops of the medieval area of Bologna. We visit Paolo Atti & Figli to see their tortellini and their larger cousins, tortilla. Our exploration includes a visit to Ceccarelli to look at their delicious cheeses and prosciutto. We continue to Mercato del’ Erbe, an historic green market. Housed in a traditional covered market, the array of food and vegetables is astounding: the freshest herbs and every variety of tomato are there. Along the perimeter of the market are meat and cheese shops. We will enjoy an included lunch at Trattoria Del Rosso, which serves traditional dishes of Bologna. We will be able to try tortellini or tagliatelle and Bolognese sauce made from pork and veal. These dishes were invented in Bologna. This afternoon is free for individual exploration.

Day 11 Monday June 1, 2015 Como
In the morning, we travel to the Italian Lakes district, staying for the next four nights at Como on the edge of beautiful Lake Como.

Day 12 Tuesday June 2, 2015 Como
Continuing our tour of the Italian Lakes, our coach takes us to Lake Maggiore. We travel by boat to Isola Bella, the most spectacular of the Borromean Islands. The magnificent villa is surrounded by one of the most dramatic 17th-century gardens in Italy, with 10 terraces rising like a ship’s prow in the reflecting waters of the lake. Masses of roses and perfumed plants set among superb statues and fountains make this a garden to remember. We also visit the nearby island Isola Madre. This very different garden has lush sub-tropical planting of ornamental trees and shrubs including a fine swamp cypress and palms.

Day 13 Wednesday June 3, 2015 Como
This morning will be free to relax, shop in Como or take a ferry ride on Lake Como to view the spectacular scenery and fabulous lakeside villas. In the afternoon Julie and Phil will guide us on a visit to the gardens of Villa Melzi. The semi-classical villa stands on the shores of the lake, among gardens studded with an eclectic mix of sculptures, from Egyptian to Roman. We will have time to explore the town of Bellagio, nominated as one of the most beautiful villages in the world.

Day 14 Thursday June 4, 2015 Como
A trip along the west shore of Lake Como brings us to the picturesque village of Tremezzo and Villa Carlotta. This elegant 18th-century villa has its own landing place on Lake Como with beautiful views over the lake. It was given as a wedding present to Carlotta, Duchess of Saxe-Meningen, who, with her husband, created the landscaped gardens and began the botanical collection. Around the house, an 18th-century formal layout has lemon arbours on the terraces, tall camellia hedges and flowerbeds. We continue on to one of the jewels of the lake, Villa del Balbianello, located on its own small island. Steep steps covered with flowers lead from the landing to the gorgeous gardens and villa, chosen as the romantic setting for the movie “A Month on the Lake”. Ancient pollarded plane trees are a feature of this enchanting garden. Tonight we will enjoy a farewell dinner to celebrate our tour.

Day 15 Friday June 5, 2015 Departure This morning is free for individual exploration. This afternoon we are transferred to the airport for our flight to Australia.

Day 16 Saturday June 6, 2015 In flight

Day 17 Sunday June 7, 2015 Arrival Australia
Tour members arrive back in Australia. The tour concludes.

 

ADD A PRE-TOUR TO LONDON FOR THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW WITH HELEN YOUNG

Day 1 Tuesday May 19, 2015 Departure
We depart Australia on our flight to London Heathrow.

Day 2 Wednesday May 20, 2015 London
On arrival we travel in our first class coach to central London. After time to freshen up we meet our London Blue Badge guide for a tour of the main sights of exciting London such as Buckingham Palace, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, The Strand, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London. The afternoon and evening will be free for you to enjoy London’s many attractions as you choose.

Day 3 Thursday May 21, 2015 London
The highlight of our time in London will be our visit to the famous Chelsea Flower Show. Chelsea is the main event in the English horticultural calendar and boasts amazing displays of the world’s best flowers and plants, dozens of show gardens created by leading designers, and everything to do with the garden. Helen will ensure that you get the most from this wonderful show. We return to our hotel early afternoon, with an optional drop-off at Harrods for those who would like to visit this iconic store. Tonight we’ll enjoy a welcome dinner to get to know members’ of the tour and Helen Young.

Day 4 Friday May 22, 2015 London
Today we visit Capel Manor Gardens, with 30 acres and more than 60 gardens and landscapes to explore, surrounding a Georgian manor house. It contains some previous gold-medal winning show gardens from Chelsea, including The Australian Garden from 2011, as well as a 17th-century walled garden, Italianate maze, vegetable plots and plant collections of scented pelargoniums and salvias. Capel Manor College is an esteemed horticultural college. We continue our day with a visit to Mr and Mrs Raworth’s garden in west London. This is a true collectors’ garden, with some rare and unusual plants. Among its many features are impressive hedges of privet, yew. We continue to our welllocated hotel by private coach. The remainder of the afternoon will be free.

Day 5 Saturday May 23, 2015 Bagno Vignonie
We fly to Rome this morning to meet the group arriving for the Italian Food and Garden tour with Julie Ray and Phil Dudman early afternoon.

Italian Food & Garden Tour with Julie Ray & Phil Dudman

ITINERARY

Day 1 Friday May 22, 2015 Departure
Today we board our over-night flight to Rome.

Day 2 Saturday May 23, 2015 Bagno Vignoni, Tuscany
This afternoon we arrive at Rome airport. Upon arrival we are met by our coach for the trip to the Tuscan village of Bagno Vignoni, where we will spend the next three nights. This small Orcia River Valley village has long been a favourite among travellers seeking solitude in a beautiful location. We will stay at a small family owned 15th-century hotel, built by Rossellino as a summerhouse for Pope Pius II, who enjoyed the advantage of the nearby hot mineral springs. Tour members will enjoy delicious Tuscan dinners each night during our stay at Bagno Vignoni.

Day 3 Sunday May 24, 2015 Bagno Vignoni, Tuscany
This morning we travel south to visit Parco dei Mostri. This garden is unique. Made up of astonishing gigantic sculptures, many of them hewn from the rock on the wooded hillside – you will be amazed. Are they autobiographical, literary, historical or philosophical? The scholars don’t know. This afternoon we visit the magnificent gardens of Villa Lante, near Viterbo. This is a perfect Renaissance garden in which murmuring water, flashing fountains, shade and sunlight alternate under vast plane trees. The garden, organised on four levels along a main axis, emphasized by fountains, has perfect symmetry.

Day 4 Monday May 25, 2015 Bagno Vignoni, Tuscany
This morning we visit Villa Cetinale, built in the 15th century by the Chigi family, bankers and money lenders for popes and English kings. Additions to the original house and garden were carried out by Carlo Fontana, who was a pupil of Bernini. In the gardens are wonderful statues and the Romitorio, a hermitage where monks lived until near the end of the 19th century. Lord Lambton bought Vila Cetinale from the Chigi family in 1977 and since then the gardens have been immaculately restored and enriched. This afternoon we will enjoy a sightseeing tour with a local guide of the wonderful medieval city of Siena, best known for the famous Palio horse race held in the magnificent Piazza del Campo. Siena is also home to the oldest bank in the world, a spectacular town hall and majestic cathedral. A local guide will introduce us to the major sights of the city, including the Piazza del Campo with its splendid civic tower and the enormous, partially completed Duomo.

Day 5 Tuesday May 26, 2015 Florence
We drive through the gorgeous Tuscan countryside to Florence this morning. In the afternoon we have a walking tour of Florence. During our walking tour we see the Piazza del Duomo, one of the largest cathedrals in the Christian world. Together with Brunelleschi’s wonderful dome, we see the Campanile and the Baptistry. We also wander through the Piazza della Signoria, which contains the Loggia della Signoria, the Palazzo Vecchio and nearby, the Ponte Vecchio over the Arno River.

Day 6 Wednesday May 27, 2015 Florence
This morning is free for individual activity. This afternoon we travel to Villa Gamberaia, set in classic olive-grove country. Restored to its 16th-century splendour, the garden is small, but idyllic. The main terrace is laid out with parterres de broderie and the water gardens are reminiscent of Persian reflecting pools.

Day 7 Thursday May 28, 2015 Florence
We travel by coach north to Pistoia, an area with many wholesale plant nurseries, which specialise in large trees and topiaries. Many of the very advanced specimen trees that feature at the Chelsea Flower show are sourced from these nurseries. Our guided tour of the Vanucci Piante nursery, which exports plants to 48 countries around the world, is a fascinating insight into the business side of horticulture and some of the specimens will amaze you. We continue north west to the Camaiore area. This is an area of flower and green plant growing. We will see fields of flowers before returning to Florence for an evening at leisure.

Day 8 Friday May 29, 2015 Bologna
Today we travel to Bologna, the food capital of Italy. On arrival we will visit the Bologna earth market. More than thirty farmers from the surrounding area sell their seasonal products. The market is organized by the Slow Food Network to sell fruit, vegetables, bread, biscuits, milk, yogurt, eggs, salami and other produce. After time for lunch we will enjoy a sightseeing tour with a local guide of the gorgeous historic centre of Bologna. We will see three attractive city squares: Piazza Maggiore, on the south side we see the huge Basilica di San Petronio, begun in 1390. Piazza del Nettuno has a wonderful 16th century fountain in the centre and Piazza di Porta Ravegnana completes the trio. The squares form a harmonious ensemble. We see the town hall which is composed of buildings from the 13th century to the 15th century. We travel to our hotel and the tour manager will meet tour members who would like to dine together to sample local specialties’.

Day 9 Saturday May 30, 2015 Bologna
We will travel to Modena home of balsamic vinegar today. We first visit Mercator Albinelli opened in 1931. Built in the Art Deco style it is itself a work of art. We will see a vast array of produce. We will enjoy a tour of a small family run balsamic vinegar producer. We see how the vinegar is aged in a series of wooden barrels for a minimum of twelve years. The tour concludes with a tasting of the different varieties of balsamic vinegar including one that sells for Euro 110. We will have lunch at Osteria Francescana, voted third in “The world’s top 50 restaurants “ where famous Italian chef Massimo Bottura is able to balance traditional and modern Italian cuisine. We return to Bologna late afternoon.

Day 10 Sunday May 31, 2015 Bologna
Today we will have a tour of the historical shops of the medieval area of Bologna. We visit Paolo Atti & Figli to see their tortellini and their larger cousins, tortilla. Our exploration includes a visit to Ceccarelli to look at their delicious cheeses and prosciutto. We continue to Mercato del’ Erbe, an historic green market. Housed in a traditional covered market, the array of food and vegetables is astounding: the freshest herbs and every variety of tomato are there. Along the perimeter of the market are meat and cheese shops. We will enjoy an included lunch at Trattoria Del Rosso, which serves traditional dishes of Bologna. We will be able to try tortellini or tagliatelle and Bolognese sauce made from pork and veal. These dishes were invented in Bologna. This afternoon is free for individual exploration.

Day 11 Monday June 1, 2015 Como
In the morning, we travel to the Italian Lakes district, staying for the next four nights at Como on the edge of beautiful Lake Como.

Day 12 Tuesday June 2, 2015 Como
Continuing our tour of the Italian Lakes, our coach takes us to Lake Maggiore. We travel by boat to Isola Bella, the most spectacular of the Borromean Islands. The magnificent villa is surrounded by one of the most dramatic 17th-century gardens in Italy, with 10 terraces rising like a ship’s prow in the reflecting waters of the lake. Masses of roses and perfumed plants set among superb statues and fountains make this a garden to remember. We also visit the nearby island Isola Madre. This very different garden has lush sub-tropical planting of ornamental trees and shrubs including a fine swamp cypress and palms.

Day 13 Wednesday June 3, 2015 Como
This morning will be free to relax, shop in Como or take a ferry ride on Lake Como to view the spectacular scenery and fabulous lakeside villas. In the afternoon Julie and Phil will guide us on a visit to the gardens of Villa Melzi. The semi-classical villa stands on the shores of the lake, among gardens studded with an eclectic mix of sculptures, from Egyptian to Roman. We will have time to explore the town of Bellagio, nominated as one of the most beautiful villages in the world.

Day 14 Thursday June 4, 2015 Como
A trip along the west shore of Lake Como brings us to the picturesque village of Tremezzo and Villa Carlotta. This elegant 18th-century villa has its own landing place on Lake Como with beautiful views over the lake. It was given as a wedding present to Carlotta, Duchess of Saxe-Meningen, who, with her husband, created the landscaped gardens and began the botanical collection. Around the house, an 18th-century formal layout has lemon arbours on the terraces, tall camellia hedges and flowerbeds. We continue on to one of the jewels of the lake, Villa del Balbianello, located on its own small island. Steep steps covered with flowers lead from the landing to the gorgeous gardens and villa, chosen as the romantic setting for the movie “A Month on the Lake”. Ancient pollarded plane trees are a feature of this enchanting garden. Tonight we will enjoy a farewell dinner to celebrate our tour.

Day 15 Friday June 5, 2015 Departure This morning is free for individual exploration. This afternoon we are transferred to the airport for our flight to Australia.

Day 16 Saturday June 6, 2015 In flight

Day 17 Sunday June 7, 2015 Arrival Australia
Tour members arrive back in Australia. The tour concludes.

 

ADD A PRE-TOUR TO LONDON FOR THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW WITH HELEN YOUNG

Day 1 Tuesday May 19, 2015 Departure
We depart Australia on our flight to London Heathrow.

Day 2 Wednesday May 20, 2015 London
On arrival we travel in our first class coach to central London. After time to freshen up we meet our London Blue Badge guide for a tour of the main sights of exciting London such as Buckingham Palace, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, The Strand, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London. The afternoon and evening will be free for you to enjoy London’s many attractions as you choose.

Day 3 Thursday May 21, 2015 London
The highlight of our time in London will be our visit to the famous Chelsea Flower Show. Chelsea is the main event in the English horticultural calendar and boasts amazing displays of the world’s best flowers and plants, dozens of show gardens created by leading designers, and everything to do with the garden. Helen will ensure that you get the most from this wonderful show. We return to our hotel early afternoon, with an optional drop-off at Harrods for those who would like to visit this iconic store. Tonight we’ll enjoy a welcome dinner to get to know members’ of the tour and Helen Young.

Day 4 Friday May 22, 2015 London
Today we visit Capel Manor Gardens, with 30 acres and more than 60 gardens and landscapes to explore, surrounding a Georgian manor house. It contains some previous gold-medal winning show gardens from Chelsea, including The Australian Garden from 2011, as well as a 17th-century walled garden, Italianate maze, vegetable plots and plant collections of scented pelargoniums and salvias. Capel Manor College is an esteemed horticultural college. We continue our day with a visit to Mr and Mrs Raworth’s garden in west London. This is a true collectors’ garden, with some rare and unusual plants. Among its many features are impressive hedges of privet, yew. We continue to our welllocated hotel by private coach. The remainder of the afternoon will be free.

Day 5 Saturday May 23, 2015 Bagno Vignonie
We fly to Rome this morning to meet the group arriving for the Italian Food and Garden tour with Julie Ray and Phil Dudman early afternoon.

Gardeners’ and Gourmets’ Delight Tour of Norfolk Island

 Itinerary

 

Day one – Friday 10th October – Guests arrive from Sydney at approximately 12:40pm and are shuttled to their accommodation at the Hibiscus Aloha. The afternoon is free before we are collected from our accommodation for a ‘Welcome to Norfolk Island’ sunset gourmet BBQ at BedRock.

 

Day two – Saturday 11th October – At 9am we are picked up from our accommodation for a 3-hour tour of many of the islands sights looking at the fascinating history of Norfolk Island across all of its major periods of settlement. At 1pm we arrive at the cliff-top estate of Forrester Court for an indulgent high tea on the lawns overlooking the turquoise South Pacific. The evening is free for you to discover some of the islands many dining choices.

 

Day three – Sunday 12th October – Today is free until 2:45 pm for relaxing and doing your own thing. After being collected from our accommodation we arrive at 3pm at Music Valley gardens and farm. Here we’ll be shown around by the garden owner, Jane, looking at the sustainable garden and assisting in harvesting some produce for tonight’s dinner. We’ll depart Music Valley late afternoon before returning at 5.30pm for a sustainable island dinner.

 

Day four – Monday 13th October – Today we enjoy one of the highlights of the tour the annual Norfolk Island Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Show from 12pm after a morning of free time. Explore this small yet diverse and fascinating show before we are collected from our accommodation at 5:45pm for dinner at one of Norfolk’s finest eateries Hilli Restaurant.

 

Day five – Tuesday 14th October – Today a truly unique Norfolk Island experience – the Mastering Taste Chef School and Garden Tour. We visit the gardens where Hilli Restaurant grows much of its own produce using many sustainable principles and are given a tour by the gardener before we adjourn to the luxury kitchens on the property for a ‘master class’ with Hilli’s head chef. After we prepare lunch under chefs expert guidance it’s time to sit and enjoy our delicious work.

The remainder of the afternoon is free for you to relax and this evening is the optional but must-do local experience – a cliff-top sunset ‘fish-fry’.

 

Day six – Wednesday 15th October – Today we have a very special and exclusive experience. We’ll be picked up from our accommodation before touring the gardens that won awards in the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Show Garden Competition of which Adam was a guest judge. We’ll have lunch at the lovely Golden Orb Café & Bookshop before resuming our garden tour.

This evening is free but a dinner at Norfolk Island’s exceptional Dino’s Restaurant is highly recommended.

 

Day seven – Thursday 16th October – Today we experience a range of Norfolk Islands boutique gourmet and just plain yummy experiences visiting the islands coffee plantation, Sweeties chocolate shop and Christian Brothers cheeses with a light lunch in the middle.

This evening we are collected at 5:45pm for our farewell dinner at Norfolk Islands exquisite Norfolk Blue restaurant.

 

Day eight – Friday 17th October – Time this morning for some last minute shopping or relaxing before transferring to the airport at 11:45 prior to our departure from the island at 1:50pm.

 

Glorious Gardens of New Zealand's South Island

Join Lynne Walker, on a personal tour to New Zealand to visit her favourite gardens. Visiting the best of the South Island’s gardens ranging from grand and historic gardens to special private gardens not normally open to the public, Lynne will introduce you to her fabulous selection of private and well-known gardens and some passionate gardeners as well. See spectacular and dramatic scenery, castles and wineries, visit artisans and galleries and, along the way, enjoy delicious regional food and wine.

Tour Highlights:

 The grandeur and history of some of NZ’s oldest gardens, including gardens of national and international significance
 The garden city of Christchurch and the historic French settlement of Akaroa
 Gardens and wineries in the Marlborough region
 Overnight stays in unique accommodation
 Luxuriant woodland gardens tucked under the Southern Alps
 The dramatic scenery of Mackenzie Country and Mount Cook
 Lunch at Riverstone Kitchen and Fleurs Place – two of the best restaurants in NZ
 Special access to private gardens
 The heritage university city of Dunedin, Larnach Castle and a flourishing South Sea Island garden
 The turquoise lakes of Wanaka and Queenstown

 

Day 1 Depart Australia Sat 15 Nov
Meet your Tour Leader, Lynne Walker at Sydney International Airport and depart for Christchurch, gateway to the South Island. Arrive mid-afternoon with time to freshen up before a Welcome Dinner and overview of the program. This is a city in the process of rebuilding itself and we will be staying beside one of its most enduring and unchanged features – the gently winding Avon River lined with grassy banks of poplars and weeping willows.
Overnight: Chateau on the Park Meals: In-flight & D

Day 2 Christchurch Sun 16 Nov
After breakfast depart on an orientation tour of Christchurch, known as ‘The Garden City’. We take a guided tour of the world-class Botanic Gardens taking in the flora, fauna and history of the gardens, as well as a trip on the Christchurch Gondola to lunch with spectacular views of the city, mountains, lake and harbour. After lunch visit a private garden of international significance on the shores of Lyttleton Harbour.
Overnight: Chateau on the Park Meals: BL

Day 3 Christchurch – Akaroa Mon 17 Nov
Today we leave Christchurch for the Banks Peninsula and the charming early French settlement of Akaroa. En route we’ll visit three very memorable and very different gardens. Lunch at a spectacular English-style country garden stylishly designed by its owner, one New Zealand’s foremost plantswomen. Later we’ll visit a spectacular historic garden for a private guided tour of the gardens which date back 118 years and provide an insight into why and how Victorians grew certain kinds of plants. Afterwards continue to the charming and historic village of Akaroa.
Overnight: Akaroa Village Inn Meals: BL

Day 4 Akaroa Tues 18 Nov
After breakfast in a waterfront café we’ll spend the day visiting three private gardens all in the same street in Akaroa. Our first garden is a private garden with large lawns, rose garden, pathways, arbours and pond nestled amongst mature native and English trees. The second garden, in contrast, is a historic Akaroa house surrounded by an exuberant and quirky sculpture mosaic garden and gallery, certain to make you smile. Our third garden is a luxuriant cottage garden featuring old roses and lavenders surrounding a picturesque cottage originally built in the 1850’s. Return to the harbour for an optional dolphin cruise – highly recommended – and dinner on the waterfront.
Overnight: Akaroa Village Inn Meals: BL

Day 5 Akaroa – Hanmer Springs Wed 19 Nov
Our first garden today is an idyllic garden with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, where native plants are combined with a diverse array of non-native plants to create a truly New Zealand ambience. Then we travel north west into a stunning alpine garden in the foothills of the Southern Alps with sculptures and a clever use of water. Lunch will be provided by our charming hostess. We then travel north to the historic spa centre of Hanmer Springs to stay at the magnificent Heritage Hotel
Overnight: Heritage Hotel, Hanmer Springs Meals: BLD

Day 6 Hanmer Springs – Renwick Thu 20 Nov
Morning free to relax and enjoy Hanmer Springs (great shopping with fine NZ products). Leave after lunch for the drive north to Renwick near Blenheim in the wine region of Marlborough. The journey takes us via Springs Junction and Murchison with an afternoon tea stop at Lake Rotoiti. Dinner after booking in at our hotel in the heart of the vineyards. Overnight: Marlborough Vintners Hotel, Renwick Meals: BD

Day 7 Renwick Fri 21 Nov
The three gardens today are all very different and are located in the Renwick Valley, home of some of NZ’s most famous wineries. The first garden is Hortensia, a specialist garden where masses of colour co-ordinated flowers in hazy pastels of blue and yellow are planted along the banks of a spectacular stream. Close by is another romantic garden, this time much more formal with an exquisite 17th century-style knot garden with box hedged colour-themed beds as well as a productive vegetable garden with espaliered fruit trees on brick walls and a small olive grove. Lunch at one of Marlborough’s top outdoor vineyard restaurants and later visit another remarkable garden informally created on several levels and planted with great skill and ingenuity by its owner.
Overnight: Marlborough Vintners Hotel, Renwick Meals: BL

Day 8 Renwick – Kaikoura Sat 22 Nov
Another day visiting gorgeous gardens as we travel south to Kaikoura – one inland and one coastal. “For plant connoisseurs this is a garden made in heaven overflowing with unusual and special plants. Here you will find the very best of herbaceous perennials and shrubs”. So says NZ Garden Writer Judith Petheram, of our first garden today. After time for lunch at the spectacular seaside café, The Store at Kekerungu, visit a remarkable coastal garden that’s been planned on classical French lines. Features include a high brick wall enclosing a canal garden leading to a formal box-edged rose garden. All this along with magnificent coastal views. Continue on to Kaikoura.
Overnight: Anchor Inn, Kaikoura Meals: B

Day 9 Kaikoura – Windwhistle Sun 23 Nov
Today is a day of roses and history commencing with a visit to a hillside garden paradise with the largest collection of old roses in New Zealand, owned by one of NZ’s foremost rose authorities. Then visit the property of one of the most famous Canterbury families; a garden renowned for its trees and rhododendrons as well as its many historic outbuildings which give an insight into the lives of early settlers in the 19th century. After lunch travel to one of the South Island’s oldest homes and gardens formerly the home of one of New Zealand’s significant democratic reformers and still in his family. The garden has magnificent ancient trees and the extensive woodland underneath has mass planting of bulbs, perennials and herbaceous plants.
Overnight: Terrace Downs Resort, Windwhistle Meals: BLD

Day 10 Windwhistle – Ashburton Mon 24 Nov
Leaving Windwhistle travel to the base of the Southern Alps, to a beautiful garden featuring a haha, rhododendrons, dogwoods, lush perennial borders, sweeping lawns and an exceptional tree and shrub collection. Stop for lunch at another outstanding country farm garden en route and at Ashburton visit one of the most renowned gardens in New Zealand, planned from the start unlike most gardens.
Overnight: Mainstay Hotel, Ashburton Meals: BLD

Day 11 Ashburton – Mount Cook Tue 25 Nov
Today, before heading westwards to Mount Cook visit two of the more significant historic stations in coastal South Canterbury. The first one has been in the same family for generations and celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Original farm buildings and an old wooden church are complemented by seven hectares of sweeping lawns, old trees, woodland planting, boxed borders adding colour and interest and a small hand-dug lake. Continue to another historic house and garden nearby for lunch and a stroll. Afterwards travel through Mackenzie Country to Mount Cook with a stop at the Church of Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo. Built as a memorial to the pioneers of the Mackenzie Country, the Church of the Good Shepherd is an enduring landmark amongst the natural beauty of the lake and mountains.
Overnight: The Hermitage, Mt Cook Meals: BLD

Day 12 Aoraki Mount Cook Wed 26 Nov
Today is a completely garden-free day to relax. Outdoor activities include a Glacier Explorers Boat Tour to the Tasman Glacier – highly recommended – or gentle walks around the resort. Worth a visit is the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre; a fascinating museum and display of the great mountaineer and humanitarian.
Overnight: The Hermitage, Mt Cook Meals: B

Day 13 Mount Cook – Oamaru Thu 27 Nov
Leaving Mount Cook we head east to Oamaru visiting a specialist alpine garden en route. Stop for a special lunch at Riverstone Kitchen where the slogan is ‘buy local, think seasonal and eat well’ and afterwards inspect the extensive kitchen gardens tended by the chef’s energetic mother Dot. Continue to Oamaru, former home of author Janet Frame. Architecturally rich, Omaru’s heritage can be seen in many public buildings in the town centre. Oamaru is also home to a wonderful collection of artisans, including master trug maker Bill Blair, located in the Victorian precinct adjacent to the harbour.
Overnight: Hotel Byrdone, Oamaru Meals: BLD

Day 14 Oamaru – Dunedin Fri 28 Nov

Today we head south to Dunedin visiting a hilltop garden with spectacular plantings overlooking the Waianakarua river valley. After a lunch stop at famous Fleur’s Place, a rustic portside café continue to Dunedin where a late afternoon Monarch Harbour Cruise is planned to see the best of the Otago Peninsula’s wildlife – albatross, penguins and ocean birds. Later check in to Larnach Castle, our home for the night. Larnach Castle has a garden of international significance and the owner, a dedicated plantswoman, and longtime member of the Dendrology Society has created a haven for garden types from all over the world, including a spectacular South Seas garden. Dinner in the castle.
Overnight: Larnach Castle Meals: BLD

Day 15 Dunedin Sat 29 Nov

After a scenic tour of Dunedin, tour historic Olveston, a grand Jacobean-style home that showcases the exquisite skills of 19th century craftsmen and displays the priceless treasures and artifacts collected by the Theomin family. Later visit the stunning Dunedin Botanic Gardens which have just celebrated their 150th anniversary. Lunch will be available at the distinctive kiosk restaurant.
Overnight: Mercure Dunedin Meals: BL

Day 16 Dunedin – Wanaka Sun 30 Nov
Depart and visit a large country garden with hundreds of heritage roses on the outskirts of Dunedin. Afterwards travel west through the dramatic Lord of The Rings type landscape to the lakeside township of Wanaka with a lunch stop along the way. Evening free for dinner
Overnight: Edgewater Resort Meals: BL

Day 17 Wanaka – Tarras – Wanaka Mon 1 Dec
Visit the small farming settlement of Tarras and see some delightful family- owned private gardens including a large cottage garden plus a stunning modern garden high on a hillside and finally lunch in the lovely garden of a high country station which has been owned by the same family for over 100 years. Return to Wanaka free time before dinner in a restaurant by Lake Wanaka.
Overnight: Edgewater Resort Meals: BL

Day 18 Wanaka – Queenstown Tue 2 Dec
Depart for Queenstown and travel via two stunning high country farm gardens on the shores of Lake Wanaka. Lunch stop at the rustic Cardrona Pub, one of the oldest hotels in the country, then continue on to Queenstown with its magnificent backdrop of the snow-capped Southern Alps. Free afternoon to relax, shop or take a trip on the historic steamship – TSS Earnslaw, affectionately known as the ‘Lady of the Lake’.
Overnight: Novotel, Queenstown Meals: BD

Day 19 Queenstown Wed 3 Dec
Our last day includes a visit to a lavender farm and a stroll through Arrowtown’s old 1860s gold-mining village for lunch. Conclude the tour with a visit to an extraordinary and imaginative private garden where much thought has gone into ensuring seasonal colour reflects the surrounding mountainous landscape. Farewell Dinner this evening.
Overnight: Novotel, Queenstown Meals: BD

Day 20 Queenstown – Sydney Thurs 4 Dec
Depart Queenstown for the return flight to Australia.

Glorious Gardens of New Zealand’s South Island

Join Lynne Walker, on a personal tour to New Zealand to visit her favourite gardens. Visiting the best of the South Island’s gardens ranging from grand and historic gardens to special private gardens not normally open to the public, Lynne will introduce you to her fabulous selection of private and well-known gardens and some passionate gardeners as well. See spectacular and dramatic scenery, castles and wineries, visit artisans and galleries and, along the way, enjoy delicious regional food and wine.

Tour Highlights:

 The grandeur and history of some of NZ’s oldest gardens, including gardens of national and international significance
 The garden city of Christchurch and the historic French settlement of Akaroa
 Gardens and wineries in the Marlborough region
 Overnight stays in unique accommodation
 Luxuriant woodland gardens tucked under the Southern Alps
 The dramatic scenery of Mackenzie Country and Mount Cook
 Lunch at Riverstone Kitchen and Fleurs Place – two of the best restaurants in NZ
 Special access to private gardens
 The heritage university city of Dunedin, Larnach Castle and a flourishing South Sea Island garden
 The turquoise lakes of Wanaka and Queenstown

 

Day 1 Depart Australia Sat 15 Nov
Meet your Tour Leader, Lynne Walker at Sydney International Airport and depart for Christchurch, gateway to the South Island. Arrive mid-afternoon with time to freshen up before a Welcome Dinner and overview of the program. This is a city in the process of rebuilding itself and we will be staying beside one of its most enduring and unchanged features – the gently winding Avon River lined with grassy banks of poplars and weeping willows.
Overnight: Chateau on the Park Meals: In-flight & D

Day 2 Christchurch Sun 16 Nov
After breakfast depart on an orientation tour of Christchurch, known as ‘The Garden City’. We take a guided tour of the world-class Botanic Gardens taking in the flora, fauna and history of the gardens, as well as a trip on the Christchurch Gondola to lunch with spectacular views of the city, mountains, lake and harbour. After lunch visit a private garden of international significance on the shores of Lyttleton Harbour.
Overnight: Chateau on the Park Meals: BL

Day 3 Christchurch – Akaroa Mon 17 Nov
Today we leave Christchurch for the Banks Peninsula and the charming early French settlement of Akaroa. En route we’ll visit three very memorable and very different gardens. Lunch at a spectacular English-style country garden stylishly designed by its owner, one New Zealand’s foremost plantswomen. Later we’ll visit a spectacular historic garden for a private guided tour of the gardens which date back 118 years and provide an insight into why and how Victorians grew certain kinds of plants. Afterwards continue to the charming and historic village of Akaroa.
Overnight: Akaroa Village Inn Meals: BL

Day 4 Akaroa Tues 18 Nov
After breakfast in a waterfront café we’ll spend the day visiting three private gardens all in the same street in Akaroa. Our first garden is a private garden with large lawns, rose garden, pathways, arbours and pond nestled amongst mature native and English trees. The second garden, in contrast, is a historic Akaroa house surrounded by an exuberant and quirky sculpture mosaic garden and gallery, certain to make you smile. Our third garden is a luxuriant cottage garden featuring old roses and lavenders surrounding a picturesque cottage originally built in the 1850’s. Return to the harbour for an optional dolphin cruise – highly recommended – and dinner on the waterfront.
Overnight: Akaroa Village Inn Meals: BL

Day 5 Akaroa – Hanmer Springs Wed 19 Nov
Our first garden today is an idyllic garden with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, where native plants are combined with a diverse array of non-native plants to create a truly New Zealand ambience. Then we travel north west into a stunning alpine garden in the foothills of the Southern Alps with sculptures and a clever use of water. Lunch will be provided by our charming hostess. We then travel north to the historic spa centre of Hanmer Springs to stay at the magnificent Heritage Hotel
Overnight: Heritage Hotel, Hanmer Springs Meals: BLD

Day 6 Hanmer Springs – Renwick Thu 20 Nov
Morning free to relax and enjoy Hanmer Springs (great shopping with fine NZ products). Leave after lunch for the drive north to Renwick near Blenheim in the wine region of Marlborough. The journey takes us via Springs Junction and Murchison with an afternoon tea stop at Lake Rotoiti. Dinner after booking in at our hotel in the heart of the vineyards. Overnight: Marlborough Vintners Hotel, Renwick Meals: BD

Day 7 Renwick Fri 21 Nov
The three gardens today are all very different and are located in the Renwick Valley, home of some of NZ’s most famous wineries. The first garden is Hortensia, a specialist garden where masses of colour co-ordinated flowers in hazy pastels of blue and yellow are planted along the banks of a spectacular stream. Close by is another romantic garden, this time much more formal with an exquisite 17th century-style knot garden with box hedged colour-themed beds as well as a productive vegetable garden with espaliered fruit trees on brick walls and a small olive grove. Lunch at one of Marlborough’s top outdoor vineyard restaurants and later visit another remarkable garden informally created on several levels and planted with great skill and ingenuity by its owner.
Overnight: Marlborough Vintners Hotel, Renwick Meals: BL

Day 8 Renwick – Kaikoura Sat 22 Nov
Another day visiting gorgeous gardens as we travel south to Kaikoura – one inland and one coastal. “For plant connoisseurs this is a garden made in heaven overflowing with unusual and special plants. Here you will find the very best of herbaceous perennials and shrubs”. So says NZ Garden Writer Judith Petheram, of our first garden today. After time for lunch at the spectacular seaside café, The Store at Kekerungu, visit a remarkable coastal garden that’s been planned on classical French lines. Features include a high brick wall enclosing a canal garden leading to a formal box-edged rose garden. All this along with magnificent coastal views. Continue on to Kaikoura.
Overnight: Anchor Inn, Kaikoura Meals: B

Day 9 Kaikoura – Windwhistle Sun 23 Nov
Today is a day of roses and history commencing with a visit to a hillside garden paradise with the largest collection of old roses in New Zealand, owned by one of NZ’s foremost rose authorities. Then visit the property of one of the most famous Canterbury families; a garden renowned for its trees and rhododendrons as well as its many historic outbuildings which give an insight into the lives of early settlers in the 19th century. After lunch travel to one of the South Island’s oldest homes and gardens formerly the home of one of New Zealand’s significant democratic reformers and still in his family. The garden has magnificent ancient trees and the extensive woodland underneath has mass planting of bulbs, perennials and herbaceous plants.
Overnight: Terrace Downs Resort, Windwhistle Meals: BLD

Day 10 Windwhistle – Ashburton Mon 24 Nov
Leaving Windwhistle travel to the base of the Southern Alps, to a beautiful garden featuring a haha, rhododendrons, dogwoods, lush perennial borders, sweeping lawns and an exceptional tree and shrub collection. Stop for lunch at another outstanding country farm garden en route and at Ashburton visit one of the most renowned gardens in New Zealand, planned from the start unlike most gardens.
Overnight: Mainstay Hotel, Ashburton Meals: BLD

Day 11 Ashburton – Mount Cook Tue 25 Nov
Today, before heading westwards to Mount Cook visit two of the more significant historic stations in coastal South Canterbury. The first one has been in the same family for generations and celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Original farm buildings and an old wooden church are complemented by seven hectares of sweeping lawns, old trees, woodland planting, boxed borders adding colour and interest and a small hand-dug lake. Continue to another historic house and garden nearby for lunch and a stroll. Afterwards travel through Mackenzie Country to Mount Cook with a stop at the Church of Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo. Built as a memorial to the pioneers of the Mackenzie Country, the Church of the Good Shepherd is an enduring landmark amongst the natural beauty of the lake and mountains.
Overnight: The Hermitage, Mt Cook Meals: BLD

Day 12 Aoraki Mount Cook Wed 26 Nov
Today is a completely garden-free day to relax. Outdoor activities include a Glacier Explorers Boat Tour to the Tasman Glacier – highly recommended – or gentle walks around the resort. Worth a visit is the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre; a fascinating museum and display of the great mountaineer and humanitarian.
Overnight: The Hermitage, Mt Cook Meals: B

Day 13 Mount Cook – Oamaru Thu 27 Nov
Leaving Mount Cook we head east to Oamaru visiting a specialist alpine garden en route. Stop for a special lunch at Riverstone Kitchen where the slogan is ‘buy local, think seasonal and eat well’ and afterwards inspect the extensive kitchen gardens tended by the chef’s energetic mother Dot. Continue to Oamaru, former home of author Janet Frame. Architecturally rich, Omaru’s heritage can be seen in many public buildings in the town centre. Oamaru is also home to a wonderful collection of artisans, including master trug maker Bill Blair, located in the Victorian precinct adjacent to the harbour.
Overnight: Hotel Byrdone, Oamaru Meals: BLD

Day 14 Oamaru – Dunedin Fri 28 Nov

Today we head south to Dunedin visiting a hilltop garden with spectacular plantings overlooking the Waianakarua river valley. After a lunch stop at famous Fleur’s Place, a rustic portside café continue to Dunedin where a late afternoon Monarch Harbour Cruise is planned to see the best of the Otago Peninsula’s wildlife – albatross, penguins and ocean birds. Later check in to Larnach Castle, our home for the night. Larnach Castle has a garden of international significance and the owner, a dedicated plantswoman, and longtime member of the Dendrology Society has created a haven for garden types from all over the world, including a spectacular South Seas garden. Dinner in the castle.
Overnight: Larnach Castle Meals: BLD

Day 15 Dunedin Sat 29 Nov

After a scenic tour of Dunedin, tour historic Olveston, a grand Jacobean-style home that showcases the exquisite skills of 19th century craftsmen and displays the priceless treasures and artifacts collected by the Theomin family. Later visit the stunning Dunedin Botanic Gardens which have just celebrated their 150th anniversary. Lunch will be available at the distinctive kiosk restaurant.
Overnight: Mercure Dunedin Meals: BL

Day 16 Dunedin – Wanaka Sun 30 Nov
Depart and visit a large country garden with hundreds of heritage roses on the outskirts of Dunedin. Afterwards travel west through the dramatic Lord of The Rings type landscape to the lakeside township of Wanaka with a lunch stop along the way. Evening free for dinner
Overnight: Edgewater Resort Meals: BL

Day 17 Wanaka – Tarras – Wanaka Mon 1 Dec
Visit the small farming settlement of Tarras and see some delightful family- owned private gardens including a large cottage garden plus a stunning modern garden high on a hillside and finally lunch in the lovely garden of a high country station which has been owned by the same family for over 100 years. Return to Wanaka free time before dinner in a restaurant by Lake Wanaka.
Overnight: Edgewater Resort Meals: BL

Day 18 Wanaka – Queenstown Tue 2 Dec
Depart for Queenstown and travel via two stunning high country farm gardens on the shores of Lake Wanaka. Lunch stop at the rustic Cardrona Pub, one of the oldest hotels in the country, then continue on to Queenstown with its magnificent backdrop of the snow-capped Southern Alps. Free afternoon to relax, shop or take a trip on the historic steamship – TSS Earnslaw, affectionately known as the ‘Lady of the Lake’.
Overnight: Novotel, Queenstown Meals: BD

Day 19 Queenstown Wed 3 Dec
Our last day includes a visit to a lavender farm and a stroll through Arrowtown’s old 1860s gold-mining village for lunch. Conclude the tour with a visit to an extraordinary and imaginative private garden where much thought has gone into ensuring seasonal colour reflects the surrounding mountainous landscape. Farewell Dinner this evening.
Overnight: Novotel, Queenstown Meals: BD

Day 20 Queenstown – Sydney Thurs 4 Dec
Depart Queenstown for the return flight to Australia.

Peru – Cuisine and Culture

In  the  footsteps  of  the  Incas        

Peru has it all, Lonely Planet tells us. ..’Mystical archeological sites, Amazonian rainforest, the world’s highest tropical mountains and an endless desert coastline…..Diverse and welcoming peoples, even varied wildlife.

They omitted to mention Peru’s cuisine – the finest in South America!  Our Peru tour is for normal travellers in good health. It is not a challenging ‘adventure tour’.

These notes need to be read in conjunction with the World Expeditions Program.

Day 1: Saturday 13 September

Lima (Peru): Travellers arrive on various flights from Australia and elsewhere. There will be time for a welcome drink and introduction before most of us seek an early night. Hotel Atton, Lima

 

Day 2: Sunday 14 September

Lima: Today provides an introduction to some of Lima’s highlights. The Casa Aliaga historic residence enclosed within the heart of Lima provides a window into centuries of gracious living. We then depart for the Mistura Festival – the most successful culinary festival in South America. Peru’s rich biodiversity and vast culinary wealth are showcased at Mistura. There are sections dedicated to chocolate (Choco Expo Perú), bread (El Mundo del Pan), quinoa (Mundo Quinua), and coffee (Mundo del Café). About 350 producers from all regions – the coast, sierra, and jungle attend, with more than 50 restaurants, 70 trucks and about 16 rustic kitchens. Gastronomic, music and cultural presentations should be great fun and very filling.

Next stop by special arrangement is the private Amano Museum with its famed ceramics and textiles, arranged chronologically to illustrate the development of weaving throughout Peru’d pre-Columbian cultures. Finally, we depart for the Larco Hererra Museum – one of the finest Pre-Colombian museums in South America where we will dine at its beautiful restaurant. Hotel Atton, Lima

 

Day 3: Monday 15 September

The Andes: We have an early start for our flight to Cusco, former capital of the mighty Inca Empire. We are there met by our guide and immediately board our coach and travel down to the Sacred Valley where we can relax in a lush green garden with regional food. We depart on the Vistadome train to take us through the Andes and Inca settlements to Aguas Calientes, the last hillside village close to Machu Picchu.BD The Inka Trail

– One Day Option The Incas were second only to the Romans for their superb stone roads which connected their Empire-from Colombia in the north␣to Chile in the south. Roads extended over some 25- 30,000 kms in total. The Inca Trail, commencing in the Sacred Valley and culminating at Machu Picchu, has spectacular mountain landscapes, suspension bridges, dramatic terracing and major archeological sites. It is the best preserved remnant of the Inca roads and one of the world’s most significant walks. We do not have the necessary 4-5 days to walk the Inca Trail, but keen and fit walkers, may alight from our train at the 104km stage and wlk the last day’s trek of approximately 10km. This should take some 5-8 hours depending on our walking pace. The trail includes many up and down sections, some uneven stony surfaces and is at an altitude of about 2,700m maximum which means you may experience some symptoms and you require a good level of fitness. You will walk over the very stones the Inca warriors trod for some 700 years! The Trail ends in a steep climb up to the Inca Sun Gate from which the most astonishing view unfolds of Machu Picchu below! It is an incomparable moment which we can share with the Incas␣for whom these mountains meant everything.

We hope to meet the rest of the party at this point. They will have completed their journey long before. You will need a special Inca permit for this walk which has limited places and you should apply as soon as possible. The cost of this optional walk (for permit and guide) is $130. This evening we settle in for a beautiful meal to celebrate our arrival at one of our very favourite hotels – the Inketerra Pueblo, Aguas Calientes BD

 

Days 4-5 Tuesday and Wednesday 16-17 September

Aguas Calientes: We devote these days to touring Machu Picchu, nature walks and feeding the endangered Spectacle Bears who are part of the hotel’s recovery plan. And you may choose to relax in the hot springs! Our program will vary depending on the changing weather. For those who do not suffer from vertigo, there is the option of climbing Huayna Picchu, that very steep mountain behind Machu Picchu. Note – a permit in advance costing US$12.00 is required. Inketerra Pueblo, Aguas CalientesBD (2)

 

Day 6 Thursday 18 September

Sacred Valley: There will be time for one last visit to Machu Picchu perhaps, prior to our departure back on the vistadome. We return to the Sacred Valley and to the magnificent Ollantaytambo – the great citadel where the Incas had their only victory over the marauding Spanish forces. We visit the village with its superbly preserved stone streets and houses and may visit the work of one of Peru’s most famous potters. Pakaritampu, Ollantaytambo Hotel B

 

Day 7 Friday 19 September

Sacred Valley: We then journey back to Cusco making various stops and detours to visit domestic weavers, villages, salt pools and the ancient Moray complex. The landscapes for this journey are often through unspoilt valleys with majestic mountains providing a magnificent backdrop. We arrive in Cusco and to the – Casa Andina Private Collection Hotel BL

 

Day 8 Saturday 20 September

Cusco: This former capital of the Inca Empire – largest of the Pre-Columbian civilisations – and in most respects, as sophisticated and organised as those of Europe. The Incas had a nobility, armies, bureaucracy and religion but without horses, armour and modern weapons, were no match for the ruthless, exploitative Spanish who relentlessly pursued power, gold and silver and offered little more than Christianity as a palliative for the conquered. Cusco has a range of colourful plazas, markets, churches, Inca museums and sites, shopping areas, restaurants and other places of special interest to keep us occupied today. In the evening, we will dine at the historic Monasterio Hotel (former Inca Amaru Qhala’s Palace) and relax with opera singers for company. BD

 

Day 9 Sunday 21 September

Today may be treated as a free day to relax, shop etc. or it can be occupied with tours with our guides as we wish. There is much to see with key Inca sites, superb Inca buildings constructed with local stone, museums, Spanish churches and other places of special interest. Shopping expeditions for knitwear, silver and precious stones are also very successful. B

 

Day 10 Monday 22 September

We depart for Santiago, Chile (via Lima), in preparation for the South American ‘Gardens Tour’ to Chile, Argentina and Brazil, or to return home. B

Colombia's gardens and culture

Our Colombia Tour Program will be provided to travellers in more detail but in brief:-

4-8 Sept – Bogota area

Includes a downtown walking tour of historic precinct including the fabulous Gold Museum (Museo del Oro), Fernando Botero Museum, Candelaria Artists Colony, various private properties and gardens, Bogota Botanic Gardens, at least one of Diana Wiesner’s contemporary landscape projects in addition to the Casa Bolivar and the rehabilitation project at the Monserrate Mountain which dominates the capital. Butterfly enclosure, Quindio B.G.

 

10-12 Sept

Cartagena

We have three nights for enjoying the Old Town at Cartagena – a wonderful Spanish architectural legacy and a fascinating old port in which to relax. Undulating rich soils in the La Zona Cafetera

 

13 Sept

Tour concludes.

Transfers to Lima, Peru for those continuing in South America on the ALC Peru Tour from 13-22 September 2014.

Colombia’s gardens and culture

Our Colombia Tour Program will be provided to travellers in more detail but in brief:-

4-8 Sept – Bogota area

Includes a downtown walking tour of historic precinct including the fabulous Gold Museum (Museo del Oro), Fernando Botero Museum, Candelaria Artists Colony, various private properties and gardens, Bogota Botanic Gardens, at least one of Diana Wiesner’s contemporary landscape projects in addition to the Casa Bolivar and the rehabilitation project at the Monserrate Mountain which dominates the capital. Butterfly enclosure, Quindio B.G.

 

10-12 Sept

Cartagena

We have three nights for enjoying the Old Town at Cartagena – a wonderful Spanish architectural legacy and a fascinating old port in which to relax. Undulating rich soils in the La Zona Cafetera

 

13 Sept

Tour concludes.

Transfers to Lima, Peru for those continuing in South America on the ALC Peru Tour from 13-22 September 2014.

Gardens of Paradise & Cultural Tour of South America

In Chile, leading designer Juan Grimm guides us to country and city gardens, hacienda gardens, and his own brilliant retreat overlooking the Pacific. We visit the bohemian port of Valparaiso, the idyllic seaside village of Zapallar, the gracious, historic Santa Rita Vineyard Estancia, and glimpse the Chilean soul through writers like Pablo Neruda and Isabelle Allende.

In Rio de Janeiro we visit gardens of Roberto Burle Marx − perhaps the finest twentieth century landscape designer − who often teamed with brilliant architect Oscar Niemeyer. Both were profoundly affected by the power and beauty of Brazil and voluptuous landforms of Rio de Janeiro.

Over six days in magical Rio we experience vibrant Brazilian flora and Marx’s brilliant civic designs − such as Copacabana Beach’s swirling mosaic promenade. We see his cubist garden designs ‘painted with plants’ in his treasured hill station gardens of Teresópolis and Petrópolis, and in his own Sitio – a unique garden-studio-nursery complex. (Garden of Wonders). As well as historic and contemporary gardens, you may be interested in visiting a vibrant favella.

We leave sensuous Rio for one of the great natural wonders of the world − the spectacular Iguazu Falls set amidst tropical landscapes. In Buenos Aires, ‘Paris of the South’, we tour parks of Palermo, Puerto Madero (the rejuvenated port), colourful streets of San Telmo and La Boca, and jostle through antique markets. We see galleries of Latin American art, and ponder national icon Eva Peron at her museum, and her mausoleum in the famed Recoleta Cemetery.

We’ll relish Latin American cuisine and marvellous wines in historic cafes and restaurants; we’ll visit galleries and the famed Teatro Colon Opera House; we’ll be moved by pulsating samba music of Rio, and a night of riveting tango. We travel in luxury coaches and relax in marvellous 4−5 star hotels.

What makes this tour extraordinary is visiting some of the finest gardens in South America, including 18 privately owned. We talk with designers, and owners, and absorb their worlds. During special presentations from designers and experts we contemplate art, literature, politics and national identity.

This tour follows on from other ALC tours to Colombia (4-13 September 2014) and Peru (13-22 September 2014)

Gardens of Paradise & Cultural Tour of South America

In Chile, leading designer Juan Grimm guides us to country and city gardens, hacienda gardens, and his own brilliant retreat overlooking the Pacific. We visit the bohemian port of Valparaiso, the idyllic seaside village of Zapallar, the gracious, historic Santa Rita Vineyard Estancia, and glimpse the Chilean soul through writers like Pablo Neruda and Isabelle Allende.

In Rio de Janeiro we visit gardens of Roberto Burle Marx − perhaps the finest twentieth century landscape designer − who often teamed with brilliant architect Oscar Niemeyer. Both were profoundly affected by the power and beauty of Brazil and voluptuous landforms of Rio de Janeiro.

Over six days in magical Rio we experience vibrant Brazilian flora and Marx’s brilliant civic designs − such as Copacabana Beach’s swirling mosaic promenade. We see his cubist garden designs ‘painted with plants’ in his treasured hill station gardens of Teresópolis and Petrópolis, and in his own Sitio – a unique garden-studio-nursery complex. (Garden of Wonders). As well as historic and contemporary gardens, you may be interested in visiting a vibrant favella.

We leave sensuous Rio for one of the great natural wonders of the world − the spectacular Iguazu Falls set amidst tropical landscapes. In Buenos Aires, ‘Paris of the South’, we tour parks of Palermo, Puerto Madero (the rejuvenated port), colourful streets of San Telmo and La Boca, and jostle through antique markets. We see galleries of Latin American art, and ponder national icon Eva Peron at her museum, and her mausoleum in the famed Recoleta Cemetery.

We’ll relish Latin American cuisine and marvellous wines in historic cafes and restaurants; we’ll visit galleries and the famed Teatro Colon Opera House; we’ll be moved by pulsating samba music of Rio, and a night of riveting tango. We travel in luxury coaches and relax in marvellous 4−5 star hotels.

What makes this tour extraordinary is visiting some of the finest gardens in South America, including 18 privately owned. We talk with designers, and owners, and absorb their worlds. During special presentations from designers and experts we contemplate art, literature, politics and national identity.

This tour follows on from other ALC tours to Colombia (4-13 September 2014) and Peru (13-22 September 2014)

Tastings Tasmania

DAY 1 Sunday 23 November 2014 Sydney – Launceston (D)

Meet Robin Powell at Sydney Airport for the flight to Launceston. This afternoon we’ll visit Woolmers Estate. This historic estate belonged to one of the three Archer brothers who so dominated the northern Tasmanian economy in the mid 19th century. We’ll tour the house and garden, and the fabulous outbuildings. Also in the grounds here is the National Rose Garden, which will be in its spring peak of fragrant flower for our visit. We’ll check in to our accommodation for the next three nights, Peppers Seaport. The hotel is on the marina where the three rivers that come together in Launceston – North Esk, South Esk and the Tamar – meet. We’ll have a welcome dinner tonight in the hotel.  Accommodation: Peppers Seaport, Launceston

DAY 2 Monday 24 November 2014 Launceston (B/L)

We’ll get another side of the Archer family story this morning when we visit Panshanger. The property has been in the Mills family since the turn of last century. Maree Mills is a wonderful guide to the history of the estate and she’ll show us around her beautiful garden, and treat us to morning tea. Then we’re off to lunch at one of the state’s finest wineries, Josef Chromy. The 2011 chardonnay made here won World’s Best Chardonnay in Decanter’s World Wine awards last year. Decided if you agree with the judges when we taste the range, and choose what to enjoy with our lunch. We’ll be back in Launceston in time to catch the last cruise of the evening up the river to Launceston’s famous Cataract Gorge.  Accommodation: Peppers Seaport, Launceston

DAY 3 Tuesday 25 November 2014 Launceston (B)

Ginseng takes a long time to mature so Ziggy Pyka set up a salmon farm to make ends in the meantime. His intriguing setup is completely off the grid, and uses gravity to wash water through the fish ponds, and then through a series of wetlands that clean the water before returning it to the river. It’s a fascinating project – and the award-winning fish is delicious! Old Wesleydale is our garden visit this morning, where we’ll meet Scott and Deb Wilson who bought the 1830s property in 2001 and starting making a garden. You’ll love what they’ve done – especially the ‘elephant’ hedge in front of the house. We’ll lunch in Mole Creek, resisting dessert so we can indulge in the leatherwood ice cream at the honey shop in Chudleigh, the self-described village of roses. Accommodation: Peppers Seaport, Launceston

DAY 4 Wednesday 26 November 2014 Launceston – Hobart (B/L)

We leave Launceston this morning and head down the Midlands Highway to Hobart. Our first stop is at Oatlands, which boasts the largest collection of sandstone Georgian buildings in Australia. We’ll have a quick tour, and enjoy scones and tea at Callington Mill. This wind-driven stone ground flower mill was an empty shell for most of the 20th century. But it is now operating again and our scones will be made from Callington’s stone ground flour. Lunch today is a visual and gastronomic treat! We’re off to a peony and vegetable farm. The Westons grow thousands of peonies, and they’ll be at their peak when we visit. The family also grows interesting vegetables for fine restaurants in Hobart, including their own café, Pigeonhole. Chefs from the café will cook lunch for us in the wood-fired oven in the garden. After lunch we’re visiting the neighbours, renowned sculptors Folko Cooper and Maureen Craig, who have made an unusual garden to show off their work. (Regulars at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show will be familiar with this couple’s work, which dominates the sculpture show at MIFGS.) Folko’s background is as a chef – he started carving ice, not sandstone – and his chefly talents now find their way into his cider, made from apples grown on the property. Hobart chefs are keen to get the cider on their menus, but Folko keeps it for his own use – and ours, when we have a tasting this afternoon. Later we’ll check in to our Hobart hotel, The Old Woolstore, which is an easy walk to the waterfront or into the heart of the city. Accommodation: The Old Woolstore, Hobart

DAY 5 Thursday 27 November 2014 Hobart – Huon Valley (B/L)

We heading south today down the D’Entrecastueaux Channel and the Huon Valley. Our first stop is one of the country’s few sheep milk cheese makers, Grandvewe. We’ll taste their award-winning cheeses while admiring the amazing view over Birchs Bay. Our garden visit today is in the perfectly named village of Flowerpot! Claire and Bill Handbury have made a French-style garden on the edge of the river. The views here will make you want to move to Tasmania! After lunch in a sculpture garden, we’ll take the long way to the Huon valley to feast our eyes on the beautiful scenery for as long as we can. By afternoon tea time we’ll be at Willie Smith Organic Cider and Apple Museum, where they do a great apple pie! We’ll also have a cider tasting here and a tour that will explain the history and importance of apples to the Apple Isle. Accommodation: The Old Woolstore, Hobart

DAY 6 Friday 28 November 2014 Hobart – Richmond (B)

Richmond is a charming village on the river, with a thriving garden club. The club will put on morning tea for us this morning, and then take us on a tour of a couple of the local gardens. Then we’ll head back to Hobart, with free time to shop and explore. Accommodation: The Old Woolstore, Hobart

DAY 7 Saturday 29 November 2014 Hobart (B/D)

Salamanca market is synonymous with Hobart, and we’ll explore its nooks and crannies this morning. This is the place to find antique china, kitchenware and knickknacks, as well as art and craft by local artisans. After lunch we’ll look at art of a different kind at the phenomenal MONA. We’re going by ferry, which is a great way to arrive at this fascinating bunker of art. There’ll be plenty of time to explore before our coach picks us up and takes us further up the Derwent River to Plenty. The historic property here is Redlands Estate, built by the secret son of King George IV. Redlands was once the thriving heart of agricultural production in the region, and it is being revitalised by its new owners Peter and Elizabeth Hope. We’ll find out what they have in store, tour the gardens and convict-built outbuildings and irrigation channels, then narrow our focus to whisky. We’ll learn how whisky is made, what makes it taste different and taste some for ourselves. Our farewell dinner is in the distillery at Redlands Estate, where we’ll enjoy bread baked in the country’s oldest oven, as well as local produce skilfully prepared just for us by one of the city’s leading caterers. Accommodation: The Old Woolstore, Hobart

DAY 8 Sunday 30 November 2014 Hobart – Home (B/L)

Salamanca is the market for things, but for edibles the locals come to Hobart Farmers Market. We’ll join them this morning and pick up the delicacies we can’t leave the island without. There’s more opportunity to fill the carry-on luggage later this morning when we visit Littlewood strawberry farm, and pick ourselves a couple of punnets of sweet red berries. Our final treat is lunch at Frogmore winery, formerly Meadowbank Estate. With its views over the vineyards and the water and great food, the restaurant here has been a benchmark of fine dining on great Tasmanian produce for more than a decade. After lunch we’ll head to the airport, which is only moments away, and bags loaded with treats, regretfully farewell Tasmania.

Grand Gardens of the Hunter Valley, NSW

Indulge yourself on this special weekend break visiting the most significant and grand gardens of the Lower Hunter Valley.

Meet the creators who have spent years building their gardens with love, enthusiasm and skill.

Also enjoy wine tastings and canapes in the Pokolbin wine district, a gourmet lunch at the Old Bakery in Morpeth, and lunch at a special Hunter Valley nursery where you can partake of a little plant-based retail therapy.

Pick up point: Gordon Station in northern Sydney, at 8am Saturday; returning approximately 6pm Sunday. 

Discover Delicious Réunion Island!

Réunion, exotic and primal, offers breathtaking contrasts, from the dramatic natural amphitheatres of the three cirques (Mafate, Salazie and Cilaos) to the stark, smoldering lunar landscape of the Plaine des Sables. Add an active volcano, lush tropical forests and 17km of white or black sandy beaches and Réunion gives the visitor the extraordinary.

But it is the people of Réunion who add a living soul to this intense island. A plethora of ethic groups (Creole, French, African, Malagasy, Chinese and Indian) live together in harmony, contributing rich and varied cultural traditions. This results in a cuisine that is unique and exotic. Eating is a favourite activity in Réunion and the fertile island provides a variety of local ingredients, including turmeric, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla.

Join us as we explore the exotic flavours, spices and tastes of Réunion!

 

Full itinerary

THURSDAY 16 OCTOBER

FLIGHT JOHANNESBURG – REUNION

You will arrange to be at Johannesburg International Airport for your flight to Reunion approximately 2 hours before departure for you flight to Reunion. (4hrs). On arrival you will be met by our ground operators who will assist you and transfer you from the airport to the Diana Dea Lodge 4* where you will overnight for 3 nights on a Dinner bed and breakfast basis.

THURSDAY 17 OCTOBER

ST DENIS AND EAST COAST

09h – After breakfast you will be transported by bus to St. Denis, the Capital of Reunion, where you will be taken on a city tour of the Capital as well as a Visit of the Museum Histoire Naturelle and the Jardin D’etat

The Jardin de l’État, formerly known as the Jardin du Roy, is a historic botanical garden on the island of Réunion, found in the capital Saint-Denis.

Planted with trees and spices taken from outside the island by Pierre Poivre, the garden is home to a natural history museum opened in August 1855. The garden was built from 1767 to 1773.

The garden’s golden era came at the beginning of the 19th century, when its plants were tended to by famous botanists such as Joseph Hubert, Nicolas Bréon and Jean-Michel-Claude Richard. At that time the garden housed 2000 species. 7000 of its plants were distributed to the islanders in 1825 as part of a scheme to improve the colonial agriculture.

Today, the garden’s main entrance faces the historic Rue de Paris. In the garden itself a bust of Pierre Poivre and a Wallace fountain.

Lunch will be at your own expense in St Denis. You will be taken to a Patisseries or Saladrie where you will be able to choose a light lunch. Budget approximately euro 10 for a Sandwich and a juice or bottled water or coffee.

14h00 – From there you will proceed to St. Andre, to a Vanilla Plantation,. Here you will see a traditional vanilla processing factory as well as being able to sample some of the products.

16h00 – You will then be taken to the Sucre de Bois Rouge for a tour of approximately 45 minutes . Connected to the Bois-Rouge factory, one of the islands two sugar refineries, Distillerie de Savanna lets visitors in on the secrets of making rum. This visit takes visitors through the magical transformation of the cane into sugar and introduces visitors to the preparation of the great rums, fermentation processes and the mysteries of ageing in the cellars of Savanna Distillery. Finally the tasting at Tafia & Galabé shop : the charm of Réunion flavours.

You will then return to the Diana Dea Lodge 4* where you will overnight on a dinner bed and breakfast basis.

SATURDAY 18 OCTOBER

VISIT SALAZIE AND HELLBOURG

09H00 – After breakfast you will be taken on a full day excursion to the Cirque of Selazie. Cirques are natural amphitheaters and Salazie is the most beautiful of the 3 and the wettest. Resting against the Piton des Neiges and drained by the Rieviere du Mat and its tributaries, Selazie is the largest and the greenest, with hundreds of waterfalls cascading down its walls. Hell-Bourge village is well known for its pretty houses and flowery Gardens. You will visit the Kafé La Gregue in Hellbourg as well as the Mare a poule d’eau. You will take part in a small hike learning about the history of the coffee Bourbon Pointu, visit of a coffee plantation, a plantation of chouchou, orchards and peach trees. Here you will experience the unique preparation of a Creole meal cooked on a wood fire and lunch served on banana leaves.

In the afternoon you will return to your hotel where you will overnight on a Dinner bed and breakfast basis.

SUNDAY 19 OCTOBER

THE WILD SOUTH -LAVA TUNNELS AND GARDEN OF SPICES

After breakfast you will depart to the Wild South where you will be taken on an excursion to visit the Lava Tunnels

Accompanied by qualified potholing guides, the more curious among you will be able to venture into the belly of the volcano for an easy trip to discover the scenery underground.

With the ‘full’ outing you can complete the full length of the tunnel which is 1.2km long, for a total of 3h30underground. The tour begins with an informative look at the landscape and creation of the Piton de la Fournaise, starting with 2004’s ‘lava flow of the century.’ After that, it’s down into the heart of the volcano for a visit to see the beautiful formations arising from the cooling of lava as the flow rate dropped during the late eruptive phase.

Lunch will be at own expense . Budget about euro 10

After lunch you will visit the Spice and Fragrance Garden, where you will discover some endemic species. A guide with perfect knowledge of the garden and its history will take you around where past and present meet.

Here you will discover over 1,500 species of scented, spice and medicinal plants, examples of fine cabinetwork, ornaments, and much more…

This was a private garden opened to the public since 1989. It provides visitors with a glimpse of the many gifts nature has bestowed upon La Réunion, flora and fauna alike. Scented plants such as geraniums, vetiver and Ylang-Ylang, spices plants such as clove trees, cardamom and vanilla, ferns, orchids, palm trees and fruit trees. The Jardin des Parfums et des Epices is located in Mare Longue, on an 800-year-old lava flow in the midst of the forest. Guided visits last around 1½ hours and includes sampling of seasonal fruits at end of visit.

You will also be taken to the Domaine du Café to Grille. In this garden of 4 ha located in Saint-Pierre, travel back in time as you learn about the important crops which shaped the history of Reunion, from today to the first plant which has colonised the island. The visit starts with the discovery of exotic plants (colourful shrubs, rock area, scented-tiare plants area, frangipani tree, ylang ylang, jasmine, fransciceas… blooming all year) which will delight visitors with many fragrances. Then, we follow with “the game of lianas” (alamanda, devil’s claw, “garlic creeper”, gold cup ( with coconut flavored), passionflower…

It is in a cool blossoming undergrowth that one discovers species introduced by man (Anthuriums, orchid hybrids, placed on calabashes trees, bauhinias, cinnamon, trees dophins). Then we arrive to the palm grove, in harmony with orchids flower beds, followed by a small bamboo grove which is the Zen area of the garden.

Finish with some tasting of the very best coffees at the La Savanne bar.

 

MONDAY 20 OCTOBER

CILAOS

Overlooked by the piton de Neiges (3.071 m) Cilaos is the driest and sunniest of all the Cirques. Up until 1932 the only way to get up to Cilaos was by foot or sedan chair, carried over a very narrow path. The only path that leads to the heart of the caldera is in itself quite spectacular. The Road “with 420 hairpin bends” Although there Is no real wine making tradition in Reunion, Cilaos is the small exception . You will be taken to visit a small Winery as well as a visit of the Ilet (hamlet) Cordes , the village of lentils. A picnic lunch will be provided.

Cilaos is also known for its thermal spa and mineral water, its wine, lentils and handicraft (House of Embroidery, sculpting and copper engraving)

In the afternoon you will return to your hotel Palm Hotel 4* where you will overnight for 1 night on a Dinner bed and breakfast bases.

TUESDAY 21 OCTOBER

THE VOLCANO

Altitude: 2360 metres

Temperatures: 3 to 21°C

What to wear: good shoes, rainwear, hat, pullover, sunscreen cream

Head off to the Piton de la Fournaise for an unforgettable hike. This volcano is one of the most active in the world and yet accessible to everyone. As you gradually approach the volcano, the scenery slowly changes until it looks like you’re on the moon. The descent down into the area around the summit begins at Pas de Bellecombe. The conical summit

looms majestically above this natural arena. The footpath leading up to the final ascent to the crater (2.631 m) is marked with white paint on the rocks. The lunar atmosphere of the Plaine des Sables was also created by the volcano, and is in stark contrast with the steep cliffs of basalt on the wild coast down in the South. The successive lava flows down to the ocean have made them truly unique.

Lunch will be at own expense. Budget about euro 10

After lunch you will visit the Volcano’s House. This modern, interactive museum, conception shows us the tempestuous life of volcanoes, and the geologic formation of the island.

Return to the hotel around 17h00

Overnight at the Palm hotel 4* on a Dinner bed and breakfast basis.

 

WEDNESDAY 22 OCTOBER

ST.GILLES

You will have the morning with a leisurely breakfast. You will then be taken to La Petite Ile where you will take part in a cooking course at a local guesthouse

After you have partaken of your cooked lunch you will be taken to the Conservatoire Botanique de Mascarin. The Conservatoire botanique was established in 1986 as the Conservatoire et Jardin Botanique de Mascarin on farmland belonging to the family of the Marquis Antoine Sosthène Armand de Châteauvieux, at an elevation of 500 meters on the leeward side of La Réunion. In 1993 it was given its current name as it became one of France’s eight Conservatoires Botaniques Nationaux. In 1996 its mission changed focus from conservation within its gardens, and the cultivation and the propagation of rare and threatened plants endemic to La Réunion, to a primary emphasis on management and monitoring of species in their natural habitats.

Overnight Hotel St Alexes on a Dinner bed and breakfast basis.

THURSDAY 23 OCTOBER

ST GILLES

At leisure for the full day. Those that wish may wish to book a day of Golf, a spa treatment, or a helicopter flight over the island. This has to be booked and settled directly.

Overnight on a dinner bed and breakfast basis.

FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER.

MAIDO – GERANIUM DISTILLERY – ST PAUL MARKET & GARDEN OF EDEN

After breakfast you will be taken to visit the Geranium Destillery Via the Maido. Maido is situated in Petite France and is also the gateway to one of the most spectacular views of the Cirque Mafate, the most inaccessible of the cirques. In Petite France there are a number of flower farms that distil their own essence. These farms concentrate of the production of geraniums and their oil for the world’s perfume industry.

On the return from Petite France you will stop off at the market of St. Paul where you will see local produce and arts and crafts on display. The market is only open on a Friday. Lunch will be at own expense. Budget about euro 10.

After lunch you will be taken to visit the Garden of Eden. Visitors to this “English-style” landscaped tropical and ethnobotanical garden in the heart of Saint-Gilles-les-Bains are taken on a guided walk through the 2.5 hectares of grounds, which are planted with some 700 species, spices and tropical fragrances.

A leisurely stroll through the midst of bamboos, aquatic plants, the geranium collection, blue flowers, stream of dreams, plants used for dyeing, aphrodisiac plants, plants sacred to Hinduism, sea of bulrushes, and more besides.

Overnight at the hotel St. Alexis on a dinner bed and breakfast basis.

 

SATURDAY 25 OCTOBER.

ST GILLES AT LEISURE

You have the day at leisure to relax and enjoy your surroundings, play around of golf, spa treatments etc. lunch at own expense

In the late afternoon you will be taken on a sunset cruise with a cocktail

Overnight hotel St. Alexis 4* on a dinner bed and breakfast basis.

 

SUNDAY 26 OCTOBER

FLIGHT REUNION – JOHANNESBURG

Early morning transfer to the airport for flight back to Johannesburg.

 

Gardening Scotland

Gardening Scotland

 

Gardening Scotland is the biggest plant fayre in the country, offering gardeners the chance to take home top quality plants that are hard to source anywhere else. You can find them in the New Hopetoun Gardens Floral Hall and outside in the Plant Village.

In the Show Garden Avenue top designers show off the latest trends in garden style while  amateur gardening clubs and schools throughout Scotland create mini Pallet Gardens that show what’s possible in a very small space.

The Living Garden area is packed with environmental organisations with information on how to live in harmony with bugs, birds, butterflies and bees and all the gardening advice you could ever need is on hand from our gardening experts. Meanwhile in the Big Back Garden the emphasis is on outdoor fun for all the family.

Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh, 10am-5pm each day.

Gardens, Gourmet & History Cruise on the Rhine, Moselle, Saône & Rhône Rivers

Day 1. Arrive Amsterdam and Embark Ship.

Arrive in Amsterdam and transfer to your luxury river ship, moored close to the city centre. Tonight meet your fellow travellers at a Welcome Reception.

Seven Nights: Aboard a luxurious APT river ship (D)

 

Day 2. Gardens or Art, Freedom of Choice Touring

This morning, choose from either our gardens or art excursions. Flower lovers will rise early to be at the Aalsmeer Flower market for the excitement of seeing acres of flowers being auctioned to all parts of the world. Followed by a visit to the famous Keukenhof garden display with more than seven million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths filling over 32 hectares with spring colour and fragrance. Art lovers can choose to visit the newly renovated Rijksmuseum, home to some of the world’s most famous paintings including Rembrandt’s Night Watch. Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the Rhine River. (BLD)

 

Day 3. Cologne Garden, Andernach and Burg Namedy

Take a tour through the historic old town of Cologne, or perhaps visit a beautiful private garden in the heart of Cologne. Afterwards continue along the Rhine to the 2,000 year old town of Andernach where we disembark for an exclusive visit to Burg Namedy for a decadent evening as the private guests of Princess Heide von Hohenzollern. Enjoy the opulent castle’s rooms, hidden nooks and manicured gardens before we enjoy a private lavish banquet in the ballroom. (BLD)

 

Day 4. Moselle River and Cochem

Today we visit the German town of Cochem, possibly the prettiest town in the Moselle Valley. You may wish to explore the town on a walking tour, then visit the Cochem Castle, perched on a hill overlooking the river. Alternatively, enjoy a guided bicycle ride. Afterwards, return to the ship and cruise along the magical Moselle River, a winding and picturesque waterway surrounded by magnificent landscapes. (BLD)

 

Day 5. Rhine Gorge, Rudesheim and Darmstadt Gardens, Freedom of Choice Touring

This morning we cruise the Rhine Gorge known as the most beautiful stretch of the Rhine River with hilltop castles around every bend. After lunch we arrive in Rudesheim where you have a choice to tour Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum, home to one of Germany’s most beautiful collections of automated musical instruments or explore the Rhine Valley wine region with a tour and wine tasting at a local winery. For a horticultural experience you can choose to travel to the University of Darmstadt Botanical Gardens laid out in 1874 with amazing conifers and well labelled and unusual plants. Afterwards, visit the formal parterre gardens of Prinz-Georgs Garden in Darmstadt. (BLD)

 

Day 6. Speyer, Schwetzingen Gardens, Freedom of Choice Touring.

This morning you can choose a visit to the Technik Museum with its amazing collection of aircraft, classic cars, locomotives, fire engines and even a space shuttle, or join a garden excursion to visit the magnificent and expansive Castle Gardens in Schwetzingen created in the 18th-century in the French formal style but then transcending into the English landscape style. (BLD)

 

Day 7. Bresach, Black Forest, Insel Mainau Flower Island, Freedom of Choice Touring

Arrive today in Breisach and choose to take a tour of the wonderful Black Forest with its beautiful trees, lakes and cuckoo clocks or a visit to the beautiful Insel Mainau ‘Flower Island’ garden, a floral paradise on the shores of picturesque Lake Constance. This is a horticultural delight with thousands of flowers and plants immaculately planted. There is something to delight everyone around every corner. (BD)

 

Day 8. Swiss Alps, Yvoire, Le Labyrinthe Garden and Lyon

After breakfast disembark the ship and farewell the Rhine River before travelling along the shores of Lake Geneva to the beautiful village of Yvoire set on a promontory overlooking the lake. Here is the poetic and award winning medicinal garden of Le Labyrinthe, considered one of the finest gardens of its type in Europe. Continue to Lyon and board your second luxurious river ship, which will be home for the next seven nights. We embark on our French chapter of this magnificent river cruise, travelling through the French countryside by the Saône and Rhône Rivers.

Seven Nights: Aboard a luxurious APT river ship B(D)

 

Day 9. Lyon Gardens, Freedom of Choice Touring

In Lyon, considered the gastronomic capital of France, we are joined by our Gourmet Guide, Jane Webster who will share her love and knowledge of French food with those of you who would like a more in-depth cultural immersion into French cooking. Your choices today are to enjoy a morning of leisure on your own in Lyon where you might like to explore the shops or visit the Art Gallery, or join Jane to explore some hidden gourmet treasures of Lyon or visit a private garden. Later, cruise north onto the beautiful Saône River, past the medieval village of Trevoux. Hear about the different French wine regions with a lecture from our wine expert on board. This evening, enjoy a meal at Paul Bocuse’s Michelin Star Restaurant, right on the river. (BLD)

 

Day 10. Belleville and Beaujolais Wine Region

From Belleville we traverse the picturesque landscapes of the Beaujolais wine region, the Pays d’Or or ‘Land of the Golden Stones’, named for the distinctive ochre limestone of its homes and castles. After exploring the medieval hilltop village of Oingt, we visit a family owned winery for a tour and wine tasting before cruising south to the charming town of Vienne with its strong Roman history, for an evening tour. (BLD)

 

Day 11. Tournon and Ardeche Mountains, Freedom of Choice Touring

Explore the town of Tournon and visit the Eden Parc Garden etched steeply into the mountainside, or travel through the majestic landscapes of the Ardeche Mountains to the pretty village of Boucieu-le-Roi to visit its local market of handmade crafts and enjoy local entertainment. Later, we cruise to Viviers and enjoy an after dinner stroll around the largely abandoned medieval town. (BLD)

 

Day 12. Provence, Grignan and Truffles

Today we visit the beautiful village of Grignan, perched upon a hill surrounded by lavender fields. We also visit a truffle farm for an insight into this unique industry as we join the truffle dogs on their hunt for truffles to dig, then sample some truffle delicacies. This afternoon, as we cruise through the Provence countryside dotted with fields of lavender and olive groves, our Gourmet Guide will do some French cooking demonstrations. (BLD)

 

Day 13. Avignon and Monty Don, Freedom of Choice Touring

In Avignon, the ‘City of Popes’, we have the option of a guided tour of the narrow streets and elegant squares to the Papal Palace. Alternatively, visit the gardens of Saint Andre Abbey and Brantes Castle or explore the markets with our gourmet guide and enjoy a French cooking class. This evening, we will have a very special lecture and cocktail party hosted by Monty Don. (BLD)

 

Day 14. Arles, Les Baux, Olive Oil or Bamboo, Freedom of Choice Touring

Arrive in Arles this morning, whose most famous resident was the painter, Van Gough. You can choose to take an excursion to the hilltop village of Les Baux de Provence for a tour of the castle, then visit Moulin du Calanquet, an olive mill and farm in Saint-Remy de Provence, where you can discover the tradition of olive growing. Alternatively, visit the biggest bamboo garden in Europe, which also has an amazing Japanese garden. Enjoy free time to explore Arles before a special Farewell Dinner. (BLD)

 

Day 15. Disembark Ship and Depart Nice

This morning, disembark the ship and be transferred to Nice airport for your onward flight, or you can choose to continue with Botanica for a 4 day Gardens of the Côte d’Azur tour, staying three nights in Nice on the French Riviera. (B)

Gardens, Gourmet & History Cruise on the Rhine, Moselle, Saône & Rhône Rivers

Day 1. Arrive Amsterdam and Embark Ship.

Arrive in Amsterdam and transfer to your luxury river ship, moored close to the city centre. Tonight meet your fellow travellers at a Welcome Reception.

Seven Nights: Aboard a luxurious APT river ship (D)

 

Day 2. Gardens or Art, Freedom of Choice Touring

This morning, choose from either our gardens or art excursions. Flower lovers will rise early to be at the Aalsmeer Flower market for the excitement of seeing acres of flowers being auctioned to all parts of the world. Followed by a visit to the famous Keukenhof garden display with more than seven million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths filling over 32 hectares with spring colour and fragrance. Art lovers can choose to visit the newly renovated Rijksmuseum, home to some of the world’s most famous paintings including Rembrandt’s Night Watch. Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the Rhine River. (BLD)

 

Day 3. Cologne Garden, Andernach and Burg Namedy

Take a tour through the historic old town of Cologne, or perhaps visit a beautiful private garden in the heart of Cologne. Afterwards continue along the Rhine to the 2,000 year old town of Andernach where we disembark for an exclusive visit to Burg Namedy for a decadent evening as the private guests of Princess Heide von Hohenzollern. Enjoy the opulent castle’s rooms, hidden nooks and manicured gardens before we enjoy a private lavish banquet in the ballroom. (BLD)

 

Day 4. Moselle River and Cochem

Today we visit the German town of Cochem, possibly the prettiest town in the Moselle Valley. You may wish to explore the town on a walking tour, then visit the Cochem Castle, perched on a hill overlooking the river. Alternatively, enjoy a guided bicycle ride. Afterwards, return to the ship and cruise along the magical Moselle River, a winding and picturesque waterway surrounded by magnificent landscapes. (BLD)

 

Day 5. Rhine Gorge, Rudesheim and Darmstadt Gardens, Freedom of Choice Touring

This morning we cruise the Rhine Gorge known as the most beautiful stretch of the Rhine River with hilltop castles around every bend. After lunch we arrive in Rudesheim where you have a choice to tour Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum, home to one of Germany’s most beautiful collections of automated musical instruments or explore the Rhine Valley wine region with a tour and wine tasting at a local winery. For a horticultural experience you can choose to travel to the University of Darmstadt Botanical Gardens laid out in 1874 with amazing conifers and well labelled and unusual plants. Afterwards, visit the formal parterre gardens of Prinz-Georgs Garden in Darmstadt. (BLD)

 

Day 6. Speyer, Schwetzingen Gardens, Freedom of Choice Touring.

This morning you can choose a visit to the Technik Museum with its amazing collection of aircraft, classic cars, locomotives, fire engines and even a space shuttle, or join a garden excursion to visit the magnificent and expansive Castle Gardens in Schwetzingen created in the 18th-century in the French formal style but then transcending into the English landscape style. (BLD)

 

Day 7. Bresach, Black Forest, Insel Mainau Flower Island, Freedom of Choice Touring

Arrive today in Breisach and choose to take a tour of the wonderful Black Forest with its beautiful trees, lakes and cuckoo clocks or a visit to the beautiful Insel Mainau ‘Flower Island’ garden, a floral paradise on the shores of picturesque Lake Constance. This is a horticultural delight with thousands of flowers and plants immaculately planted. There is something to delight everyone around every corner. (BD)

 

Day 8. Swiss Alps, Yvoire, Le Labyrinthe Garden and Lyon

After breakfast disembark the ship and farewell the Rhine River before travelling along the shores of Lake Geneva to the beautiful village of Yvoire set on a promontory overlooking the lake. Here is the poetic and award winning medicinal garden of Le Labyrinthe, considered one of the finest gardens of its type in Europe. Continue to Lyon and board your second luxurious river ship, which will be home for the next seven nights. We embark on our French chapter of this magnificent river cruise, travelling through the French countryside by the Saône and Rhône Rivers.

Seven Nights: Aboard a luxurious APT river ship B(D)

 

Day 9. Lyon Gardens, Freedom of Choice Touring

In Lyon, considered the gastronomic capital of France, we are joined by our Gourmet Guide, Jane Webster who will share her love and knowledge of French food with those of you who would like a more in-depth cultural immersion into French cooking. Your choices today are to enjoy a morning of leisure on your own in Lyon where you might like to explore the shops or visit the Art Gallery, or join Jane to explore some hidden gourmet treasures of Lyon or visit a private garden. Later, cruise north onto the beautiful Saône River, past the medieval village of Trevoux. Hear about the different French wine regions with a lecture from our wine expert on board. This evening, enjoy a meal at Paul Bocuse’s Michelin Star Restaurant, right on the river. (BLD)

 

Day 10. Belleville and Beaujolais Wine Region

From Belleville we traverse the picturesque landscapes of the Beaujolais wine region, the Pays d’Or or ‘Land of the Golden Stones’, named for the distinctive ochre limestone of its homes and castles. After exploring the medieval hilltop village of Oingt, we visit a family owned winery for a tour and wine tasting before cruising south to the charming town of Vienne with its strong Roman history, for an evening tour. (BLD)

 

Day 11. Tournon and Ardeche Mountains, Freedom of Choice Touring

Explore the town of Tournon and visit the Eden Parc Garden etched steeply into the mountainside, or travel through the majestic landscapes of the Ardeche Mountains to the pretty village of Boucieu-le-Roi to visit its local market of handmade crafts and enjoy local entertainment. Later, we cruise to Viviers and enjoy an after dinner stroll around the largely abandoned medieval town. (BLD)

 

Day 12. Provence, Grignan and Truffles

Today we visit the beautiful village of Grignan, perched upon a hill surrounded by lavender fields. We also visit a truffle farm for an insight into this unique industry as we join the truffle dogs on their hunt for truffles to dig, then sample some truffle delicacies. This afternoon, as we cruise through the Provence countryside dotted with fields of lavender and olive groves, our Gourmet Guide will do some French cooking demonstrations. (BLD)

 

Day 13. Avignon and Monty Don, Freedom of Choice Touring

In Avignon, the ‘City of Popes’, we have the option of a guided tour of the narrow streets and elegant squares to the Papal Palace. Alternatively, visit the gardens of Saint Andre Abbey and Brantes Castle or explore the markets with our gourmet guide and enjoy a French cooking class. This evening, we will have a very special lecture and cocktail party hosted by Monty Don. (BLD)

 

Day 14. Arles, Les Baux, Olive Oil or Bamboo, Freedom of Choice Touring

Arrive in Arles this morning, whose most famous resident was the painter, Van Gough. You can choose to take an excursion to the hilltop village of Les Baux de Provence for a tour of the castle, then visit Moulin du Calanquet, an olive mill and farm in Saint-Remy de Provence, where you can discover the tradition of olive growing. Alternatively, visit the biggest bamboo garden in Europe, which also has an amazing Japanese garden. Enjoy free time to explore Arles before a special Farewell Dinner. (BLD)

 

Day 15. Disembark Ship and Depart Nice

This morning, disembark the ship and be transferred to Nice airport for your onward flight, or you can choose to continue with Botanica for a 4 day Gardens of the Côte d’Azur tour, staying three nights in Nice on the French Riviera. (B)

Western Australian Wildflowers

DAY 1
Tuesday 9 September 2014
Home – Perth (D)

Meet your tour leader, Angus Stewart at Sydney Airport for the flight to Perth. Check in to the 5-star Duxton Hotel, which is located right in the centre of town. We’ll enjoy a welcome dinner in the hotel tonight. Welcome dinner tonight in your hotel.
Accommodation: Duxton Hotel, Perth

DAY 2
Wednesday 10 September 2014
Perth – Hyden (B/D)

We travel from Perth into the Swan Valley and get a fascinating introduction to Australia’s indigenous flora at John Forrest National Park and Wheatbelt Botanic Garden. Then it’s on to Hyden for an overnight stay.
Accommodation: Wave Rock Motel, Hyden

DAY 3
Thursday 11 September 2014
Hyden – Hopetoun (B/L)

This morning we’ll stand under the crest of a giant wave of rock! Over the last 2,700 million years the grey and red granite of Wave Rock has been formed into the shape of a cresting wave, 15m high. It’s a spectacular sight. Then it’s a spectacle of a different sort as we travel on to the southern coast through the wildflower hot spot of the Stirling Range National Park. We’ll see Bluff Knoll, Western Australia’s tallest mountain, and beautiful spring flowers around Lake Grace. We arrive in Hopetoun late in the afternoon, and settle in for a two-night stay.
Accommodation: Hopetoun Motel, Hopetoun

DAY 4
Friday 12 September 2014
Fitzgerald River National Park (B/L)

Ancient ranges, rocky hills, river valleys, estuaries and large inlets make for beautiful scenery – and a plethora of rare wildflowers. We’ll have a local expert to guide us around the area. After a picnic lunch, we’ll head to Ravensthorpe Range, home to the exquisite salmon gum and more spectacular wildflowers.
Accommodation: Hopetoun Motel, Hopetoun

DAY 5
Saturday 13 September 2014
Hopetoun – Albany (B/L)

We’ll search for melaleuca, conostylis, hakea, Qualup Bells, kangaroo paws and others, and picnic in their midst as we skirt the edge of the Fitzgerald River National Park.
Accommodation: Dog Rock Motel, Albany

DAY 6
Sunday 14 September 2014
Albany (B/L)

We’ll spend the day exploring Albany, with a visit to Whale World. This is on the site of Australia’s last whaling station, Cheynes Beach Whaling Station, which was decommissioned in 1978. We’ll also see Torndirrup National Park, on the peninsula that shelters Albany from the Great Southern Ocean. The park boasts some of the Rainbow Coast’s most extraordinary natural features.
Accommodation: Dog Rock Motel, Albany

DAY 7
Monday 15 September 2014
Mt. Barker (B/L)

We’ll explore the incredible Mount Barker region today. The rugged peaks, towering forests and lush rolling granite flats of the Stirling Range and Porongurup National Parks are some of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. There are more than 1500 species of plants in the Stirling Ranges alone and more than 80 of them are endemic, including the famous mountain bells (Darwinias). Hundreds of orchid species grow in this area and we’ll also keep an eye out for some of the 148 bird species that call this part of the world home, including electric blue fairy wrens, brilliant parrots and majestic wedge-tailed eagles.
The area is also Great Southern Wine Country, one of the largest of Australia’s wine regions, and we’ll have a chance to taste the local product with a lunch at Gilbert’s Winery.
Accommodation: Dog Rock Motel, Albany

DAY 8
Tuesday 16 September 2014
Albany to Pemberton (B/L/D)

Take a walk through the treetops this morning on a spectacular lightweight bridge through the forest canopy of the Valley of the Giants. These giants are Karri trees, a species of eucalyptus. Karri is one of the tallest trees in the world and it is only found in the south west of Australia.
We’ll picnic in Peaceful Bay, home to the world’s only endemic stand of red flowering gum (Corymbia ficifolia) and more than 40 species of native orchids! Then it’s on to Pemberton, which is nestled in a quiet valley surrounded by towering old growth karri, jarrah and marri forests. You’ll have an opportunity to climb the 60-metre-high Gloucester Tree, which was once used as a fire watchtower! 
Accommodation: 
Pemberton Hotel, Pemberton

DAY 9
Wednesday 17 September 2014
Pemberton – Yallingup (B)

Augusta, on the lee side of Cape Leeuwin, is Australia’s most south-western town. Large numbers of humpback, southern right, and pygmy blue whales migrate through these waters from late May to October each year. The best vantage point on land is the historic lighthouse on the tip of Cape Leeuwin. And that’sFrom here we’ll look not just for whales, but at the area’s spectacular coastline, and at the the intersection of two of the planet’s great oceans – the Indian and Southern Oceans.
Accommodation: Seashells, Yallingup

DAY 10
Thursday 18 September 2014
Margaret River (B/L)

It has been just 40 years since the first vines were planted in the Margaret River region, but is already recognised as one of the world’s great wine regions. There are 200 vineyards and 90 wineries located here: we’ve chosen Hayshed Hill for a tasting and lunch.
Accommodation: Seashells, Yallingup

DAY 11
Friday 19 September 2014
Margaret River (B)

Nglili Cave is one of the best and most accessible caves in the South West. It features galleries of amazing stalactites and stalagmites as well as other formations. We’ll take a guided tour and then walk to the top of Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse for stunning views of the coastline. Fingers crossed for whales too. 
Accommodation: 
Seashells, Yallingup

Day 12
Saturday 20 September 2014
Yallingup – Perth (B)

First stop today is Busselton, where the longest timber-piled jetty in the southern hemisphere stretches 1.8 kms across Geographe Bay. We will take the train to the Underwater Observatory 8m below the surface to see a world of vividly coloured corals, sponges, fish and invertebrates. Then it’s on to Perth and back to the Duxton Hotel.
Accommodation: Duxton Hotel, Perth

DAY 13
Sunday 21 September 2014
Perth (B/D)

It’s festival time in Perth’s famous Kings Park. From its humble beginnings as a five-day event in 1965, the festival has blossomed into a program of floral displays, music performances, exhibitions, workshops and guided walks that runs for the entire month. The Park at festival time is a fitting spot to finish our tour. The 400-hectare Botanic Garden boasts more than 1,700 native species – and there are more growing in glasshouses. After exploring, we have a free afternoon to relax and freshen up for our Farewell Dinner this evening in the hotel. 
Accommodation: 
Duxton Hotel, Perth

DAY 14
Monday 22 September 2014
Perth – Home (B)

Transfer to Perth airport for flights home.