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Travel With Us to the Gardens of Southern England

From the largest flower show in the world to some of the very best English country gardens, immerse yourself in beautiful floral displays and stunning garden designs with others who love gardening just as much as you do, including Garden Gate’s Editor, Kristin Beane Sullivan, and Senior Photographer, Jack Coyier. We’ll explore well-known historical gardens and discover fascinating contemporary gardens on an eight-day garden adventure you’ll never forget!

TOUR DATES

July 7-July 15, 2022

TOUR PRICES

$4,975 (USD) per person, double occupancy

+$1,200 (USD) per person, single occupancy

TOUR INCLUDES:

  • All 4-star hotel accommodations
  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 7 dinners
  • Admission to all gardens, including tips
  • Comfortable coach transport
  • Friendly & knowledgeable tour coordinator
  • Design & botanical expertise of Garden Gate Editor, Kristin Beane Sullivan, and more Horticulture & Garden Gate tour leaders
  • Garden photography expertise of Garden Gate’s Senior Photographer, Jack Coyier
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ITINERARY

AT A GLANCE

July 7, Thursday – Arrive at Heathrow Airport

July 8, FridayRHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival

July 9, SaturdaySissinghurst, Charlotte Molesworth’s Garden

July 10, SundayGreat Dixter, Free Time in Rye

July 11, MondayPerch Hill, Gravetye Manor

July 12, TuesdayFollers Manor, Sussex Prairie

July 13, WednesdayParham House, Denmans

July 14, ThursdayHannah Peschar Sculpture Garden, RHS Gardens at Wisley

July 15, Friday – Depart or continue travels

DETAILS

Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate strives to operate according to our published itinerary. However, in the event of unforeseen circumstances beyond our control or opportunities that would enhance the itinerary, adjustments may be necessary.

Day 1, Thursday, July 7 — ARRIVE

Tour members independently arrange travel to Heathrow Airport and transfer on their own to the Crown Plaza London Heathrow Airport Hotel at Terminal 4, where a room is booked for them (included in the tour price).

We’ll gather for a Welcome Dinner in a hotel restaurant at 6:30 PM (included in the tour price).

Day 2, Friday, July 8 — RHS HAMPTON COURT PALACE GARDEN FESTIVAL

We start our tour with a day at the Royal Horticulture Society’s premier summer event, the Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival. Spread over 34 acres on the historic palace grounds, this celebration of gardening is the largest flower show in the world. We’ll want to check out the show gardens to see which were awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals by the judges. We’ll also visit the amazing Floral Marquee, a tent almost as big as a football field, where nurseries and specialty growers display their finest plants. Throughout, we’ll see vendors selling every kind of gardening tool and object you can imagine. And when we need refreshment, we’ll stop at one of the many food stalls to sit down with a Pimms, which of course, is typically English.

Day 3, Saturday, July 9 — SISSINGHURST & CHARLOTTE MOLESWORTH’S GARDEN

For our first garden visit, we travel to the iconic Sissinghurst Castle Gardens. These treasured gardens result from the commitment and imagination of writer Vita Sackville-West and her diplomat husband, Harold Nicolson. In the 1930s, he planned the gardens’ architecture, and she filled the spaces with lush, romantic plantings. Besides exploring the series of famous garden rooms, make sure you climb the tower and take in the panoramic views at the top. From this vantage point, it’s easy to see why thousands of garden lovers consider a pilgrimage to Sissinghurst an absolute must.

Next, we visit Charlotte Molesworth’s Garden, a magical topiary garden at Balmoral Cottage. Topiary — the practice of clipping evergreen shrubs and trees into ornamental shapes — is a favorite way that English gardeners create year-round structure and focal points. In Charlotte Molesworth’s skillful hands, topiary becomes a witty and personal expression resulting in spaces overflowing with green garden sculpture. The garden developed over forty years with the help of her husband Donald and now includes, in addition to topiary, cottage garden perennials, greenhouses made with recycled materials, a vegetable garden, woodland walks, a nature pond, and a chicken walk.

Day 4, Sunday, July 10 — GREAT DIXTER & VILLAGE VISIT TO RYE

This morning we explore Great Dixter, perhaps the best known and most loved of all English gardens. It exists as a living testament to the late owner, plantsman, and writer Christopher Lloyd’s life-long passion for gardens. Head gardener Fergus Garrett, who worked for Lloyd during the last years of his life, carries on the tradition of experimentation that Lloyd started. Although this garden’s structure is early 20th century, the spirit of the plantings is contemporary. Under Garrett’s leadership, the garden is being developed and maintained to such a high level that you are unlikely to find any other garden like it. Great Dixter is a visionary, exuberant, plant lover’s haven. Expect to see contemporary planting design at its best.

This afternoon, we’ll have free time in the medieval village of Rye, set where three rivers meet a few miles from the English Channel. We’ll wander the hilly, cobbled streets of this charming village taking in the crooked half-timbered cottages, 12th-century church, and ancient castle. Along the way, we can shop for that special souvenir at the numerous antique and vintage shops and, when we’re tired, have a “cuppa” in one of the lovely tea rooms or cafes.

Day 5, Monday, July 11 — PERCH HILL & GRAVETYE MANOR

Today our first garden is Sarah Raven’s Perch Hill. Sarah is a writer, TV personality, teacher, and flower arranger with a particular interest in intense flower color. Since moving to this former dairy farm in 1993, Sarah has created a two-acre garden where she trials hundreds of bulbs, annuals, and perennials, offering her best selections to the gardening public through her courses and mail-order business. We’ll see perennial and annual cutting gardens, a trials garden, a Dutch-style yard, and ornamental vegetable beds, each featuring a different color palette. Make sure you come prepared to take notes, for this is a garden full of superb ideas to try when you get home.

Our afternoon garden is Gravetye Manor, the home and garden created a century ago by Irish garden writer and designer William Robinson. He made the gardens to showcase the ideas spelled out in his books about naturalism and wild gardening, contrasting structured areas close to the house with untamed plantings further away. Now the property is a country house hotel where we’ll have a special lunch in its Michelin Star restaurant (included) and then stroll the restored gardens. But don’t expect a historical set piece.  Tom Coward, the current head gardener, has boldly added experimental plantings within the original William Robinson structure, giving the garden an energetic 21st-century twist.

Day 6, Tuesday, July 12 — FOLLERS MANOR & SUSSEX PRAIRIE

This morning we visit Follers Manor, a relatively new private garden set high above a scenic valley in a national park. Geoff and Anne Shaw bought the property in 2006, and after renovating the house, they turned to Ian Kitson, a garden designer known for his curving designs, to help them design the outdoors. The garden he made for the Shaws has attracted wide attention and won many awards. It includes a sinuous, sunken garden close to the house, providing enclosure and shelter for meals, and paths snaking down the slope ending at a wildlife pond. Curving beds are planted with colorful perennials and wispy ornamental grasses throughout the garden, while beyond a wildflower meadow humming with bees supports beehives.

This afternoon we travel to Sussex Prairies, Paul and Pauline McBride’s eight-acre garden made in a field on a farm owned by Pauline’s family. Inspired by Dutch designer Piet Oudolf (the designer of the High Line in New York City and Millennium Park in Chicago), the couple, with the help of many friends, planted 30,000 plants of 600 different varieties in the shape of a nautilus shell in May 2008. Prairie gardens and meadows with their swaying grasses and sturdy, late-season perennials are a popular type of planting throughout Europe. Sussex Prairie is one of the most extensive, immersing visitors in a sea of plants.

Day 7, Wednesday, July 13 — PARHAM HOUSE & DENMANS

We start our day at Parham House, the home of Lady Emma Barnard and her family. The house’s foundation stone was laid in 1577 and is one of the best surviving examples of Elizabethan architecture in England. A four-acre Walled Garden was added in the 18th-century along with seven acres of Pleasure Grounds. It is the not-too-carefully manicured Walled Garden where we will spend most of our visit, exploring the wide, color-themed herbaceous borders; rose garden; cut flower garden; vegetable garden; and orchard.  We’ll also check out the Wendy House (a small playhouse for children) and the teak Greenhouse brimming with a fine collection of pelargoniums (sometimes called geraniums by American gardeners), both structures added in the 1920s. Outside the Walled Garden, we’ll take turns walking the turf maze that some have called “fiendishly complicated.”

Our afternoon garden is Denmans, the former home and garden of the late John Brookes (1933 - 2018), one of Britain’s most influential contemporary landscape designers. The garden is modern with a relaxed, informal design. In much of the garden, gravel — its primary paving material — flows like a river around abstract bed shapes with occasional focal points of urns, sculptures, and benches painted in Denmans blue. Brookes taught courses worldwide, including in the United States, and authored twenty-five popular books about garden design, using his garden as a laboratory for his ideas about making a good garden for the way we live today.

Day 8, Thursday, July 14 — HANNAH PESCHAR & RHS GARDEN, WISLEY

We start our final tour day at Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden, an outdoor gallery for garden sculpture set in a woodland water garden. The garden was designed by acclaimed landscape designer Anthony Paul, Hannah Peschar’s husband, and surrounds Black & White Cottage, their home. Since 1977, they have turned a neglected and overgrown site into a showcase for some of the best garden sculpture anywhere.  It was crucial to them that the garden feel entirely natural. The sculptures sit on the mossy banks of streams with ferns and other shade-loving plants, particularly those with gigantic leaves such as gunnera, petasites, and rheum. The effect is magical.

The last garden of our tour is the Royal Horticultural Society Garden, Wisley. For more than 100 years, Wisley has been a center of British gardening excellence. Although the garden spreads over 240 acres, we’ll focus on the demonstration gardens, which feature everything from stream gardens to meadows to double borders. Of particular interest in July are the Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden with nearly 4000 roses in flower, the Cottage Garden with its soft romantic plantings, and the water lilies blooming in the Jellicoe Canal. Also not-to-be-missed are the perennial borders near the Glasshouse created by influential garden makers Tom Stuart-Smith and Piet Oudolf.

Day 9, Friday, July 15 — DEPARTURE

Our time together has come to an end, but garden lovers always find fresh inspiration wherever they are. Tour members can choose to return home or carry on the adventure. We’ll provide coach transfer to Heathrow Airport at 7:00 AM for those with flights leaving at 11:00 AM or later. Alternatively, you can take a taxi at the time of your choosing from the hotel to the airport.

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PRICING

Tour price:

$4,975 (USD) per person for double occupancy

+$1,200 (USD) per person for single occupancy

Tour price includes:

  • All 4-star hotel accommodations
  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 7 dinners, including tips
  • Admission to all gardens, including tips
  • Comfortable coach transport
  • Ground transportation between hotel and airport on departure day
  • Friendly and knowledgeable professional tour coordinator
  • Design and botanical expertise of your Horticulture & Garden Gate hosts

Tour price excludes:

  • Airfare
  • Travel Insurance (required)
  • 5 lunches, drinks, including water, and snacks
  • Breakfast & lunch on arrival day and lunch & dinner on departure day
  • Tips for coach driver & tour coordinator

Payment schedule:

A $1,000.00 (USD) deposit is due when you book your tour.

Final payment, in full, is due on April 8, 2022.

NOTE: Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate offers thoughtfully arranged garden tours. Each tour is guaranteed to proceed as soon as the minimum of 18 reservations has been met. If our reservation minimum is not met, Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate reserves the right to cancel the tour. Deposits/payments will be refunded in full if the tour is canceled.

Please DO NOT make your airline reservations until Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate has guaranteed (by email) that the tour will proceed.

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ACCOMMODATIONS

4-Star Relaxation & Comfortable Coach Travel

Hotel Accommodations

After a day filled with garden inspiration and botanical discoveries, we will retire to the comfort of 4-star accommodations. Rooms are double occupancy with the option for a single room for an additional fee.

July 7 & 14Crowne Plaza London Heathrow T4

July 8 - 10The George in Rye

July 11 - 15Nutfield Priory

Note: The Crowne Plaza at Heathrow is curently being used by the National Health Service, but will be released from those duties sometime in 2022. If it’s not available when we travel, we’ll be using a similar nearby hotel.

Coach Travel

Daily transportation will be provided by a modern, comfortable coach operated by an experienced driver.

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TERMS & CONDITIONS

Responsibilities:

Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate hosts garden tours operated by CarexTours and Garden Tours. As the hosting organization, Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate provides reservation services and has chosen Garden Tours, a professional tour operator, as its designated tour operator. As the designated tour operator, Garden Tours arranges for the actual tour of the garden sites. Garden Tours also acts as an agent for services connected with specific tours hosted by Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate, such as ground transportation, lodging accommodations, and meals. Each service provider is solely responsible to the participant for providing their respective services.

By making a reservation for a tour hosted by Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate, the participant certifies that she/he does not have any mental, physical, or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other participants. Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate, CarexTours and Garden Tours reserve the right in their sole discretion to accept, decline to accept, or remove any participant on a tour hosted by Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate.

Price:

The tour prices in this agreement are based upon current exchange rates, tariffs, and taxes. Fluctuations in these rates could result in a price adjustment without prior notice until the tour is paid in full. Once the price for the tour is paid in full, the fee will not be adjusted due to any later change in exchange rates, tariffs or taxes.

Liabilities & Booking Conditions:

Garden Tours is established in the Netherlands, and rights and responsibilities for all tours operated by Garden Tours will be governed by Dutch and EU laws only. Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate, CarexTours and Garden Tours will have responsibility only for the proven negligent acts and omissions of its employees or agents and suppliers, subcontractors, servants, and/or agents of the same while acting within the scope of or in the course of their employment in respect of claims arising as a result of death, bodily injury, or illness caused to the signatory to the contract and/or any other named persons on the booking form.

Smoking:

All participants in tours hosted by Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate agree to comply with a non-smoking policy on all coaches, in restaurants, and in all lodging places.

Liability:

Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate, CarexTours and Garden Tours have no responsibility or liability to any person for loss of baggage, money, or other property whatsoever. Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate, CarexTours and Garden Tours have no responsibility or liability for any loss or additional expenses caused by delay or interruption to travel services through weather conditions (such as rain, wind, or fog), civil disturbance, riot, illegal acts of third parties, strikes, wars, floods, sickness or any circumstances amounting to Force Majeure.

Complaints:

In the unlikely event that you have a complaint, you must promptly notify the Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate host or the Garden Tours tour coordinator directly, so he/she can take remedial action on the spot. If the matter cannot be solved directly, any complaints must be submitted in writing to Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate within 20 days after the date of your return.

Your tour canceled by us:

Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate aims to provide your tour as booked. We reserve the right to cancel your tour under any circumstances, but if we cancel your tour, except where this is because you have not paid, you will receive a full refund.

Changes in itinerary details:

Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate and Garden Tours strive to operate according to the published itinerary. However, in the event of unforeseen circumstances beyond our control or opportunities that would enhance the itinerary, adjustments may be necessary or appropriate. Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate and Garden Tours reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the agreed-upon itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of participants. Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate will let you know about any significant changes as soon as possible if there is time before your departure. Otherwise, we will announce changes on the tour.

Cancellations:

If you should need to withdraw from the tour for whatever reason, you must notify Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate in writing. Cancellation becomes effective when written notice is received. There will be no refunds from Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate on or after April 8, 2022.

Insurance:

Travel insurance is required in case you need to cancel your trip after April 8, 2022, you have health emergencies while on the tour, or other unforeseen issues arise. Squaremouth and Insure My Trip are two travel insurance search sites. If you are under 70 years old, World Nomads is usually an economical travel insurance choice. You will be required to provide evidence to Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate that you have obtained travel insurance by April 8, 2022.

Health & Safety:

Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate follows COVID-19 safety updates from the CDC and our destination countries. Although we can't know at this time what the requirements will be in the future, each of our travelers must be fully vaccinated no less than two weeks before departure & have vaccination verification in the form of their CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.

Photography notice:

Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate will be taking photos and videos of the gardens for future editorial and promotional use. Tour participants may occasionally appear in these images.

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RESERVATIONS

Secure your reservation:

To reserve your spot on this tour, download the reservation form and return it with payment to:

Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate
2143 Grand Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50312

Or contact us at gardentravel@aimmedia.com or 800-341-4769. We would love to chat with you about this exciting trip!

Your reservation will be secured after a deposit/full payment is received.

Reservation Form

Payment details:

Deposit amount: $1,000 USD

Full payment: $4,975 USD per person (double occupancy)

Single occupancy: +$1,200 USD

Additional information about the Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate tour costs, including details about inclusions and exclusions, can be viewed on our pricing page.

PLEASE NOTE: Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate reserves the right to cancel the tour. Deposits/payments will be refunded in full if the tour is canceled.

Garden Travel with Horticulture & Garden Gate follows COVID-19 safety updates from the CDC and our destination countries. Although we can't know at this time what the requirements will be in the future, each of our travelers must be fully vaccinated no less than two weeks before departure & have vaccination verification in the form of their CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.

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YOUR TOUR GUIDES

Jack Coyier

In his 12 years at Garden Gate magazine, Jack Coyier has photographed some of the most beautiful gardens across the country and has come away inspired by the spirit and passion of the vast gardening community. Jack wants his imagery to enrich the gardening experience of the Garden Gate community and help gardeners achieve their dream gardens. When not on the road photographing, Jack spends time in his suburban garden with his wife, twin boys, a herd of deer and a smattering of rabbits.

Kristin Beane Sullivan

In her 25 years at Garden Gate magazine, Kristin Beane Sullivan has been lucky enough to meet hundreds (if not thousands) of gardeners, tour and photograph countless gardens and learn something from every single gardener she’s met. She comes from a long line of farmers and gardeners, and today tends an ever-expanding urban garden with her husband and three children who are a lot more help in the garden than she was at their age.

Contact 800-341-4769 or gardentravel@aimmedia.com for more information.