Keukenhof Gardens, Holland
After visiting the splendid Australian Garden Show Sydney in Centennial Park earlier this month and being inspired by the variety of gardens on display, plus the huge array of beautiful plants and flowers, it made me think of visiting some of the world’s landmark gardens and famous floral festivals, such as London’s Chelsea Flower Show and Holland’s Keukenhof Gardens.
Many of the world renown gardens are located in Europe, where it’s easy to travel around using the river systems, sailing on the Rhine, Danube, Seine and Douro, to name a few.
At certain times of the year, river cruise companies offer tailor made itineraries to visit famous garden landmarks when they are at their peak, such as Holland’s Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, which are only open from 20 March to 18 May.
Tour Escort, Horticulturist Judy Horton
Several companies specialise in garden and horticulture tourism, taking groups on unique tours to view such once a year events as Cherry Blossom Time in Japan.
Botanica World Discoveries, an APT company, offers botanically themed river and small ship cruises and tours to iconic destinations. Garden lovers are able to combine their passion for history, gardens and travel beyond the garden gate, with a botanical expert. Botanica cruises and garden tours of Europe are designed for gardening and gourmet enthusiasts who enjoy taking in ancient castles, magnificent chateaux and stunning landscaped gardens with iconic sights.
Botanica has tours of various lengths ranging from 16,15,12 or 8 days taking in both European and Asian destinations of South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Cambodia
Some of their popular tours are their 15 Day Gardens, History & Landscapes of the Mediterranean Cruise and the 11 Day British Isles Gardens, History & Birdlife tour taking in gardens, castles, birdlife and stunning scenery, all combined with personalised small ship cruising.
For those with limited time, the 5 Day Private Gardens of Inland Scotland would be ideal.
Botanica also offers tours in the USA, with their 19 day tour that cruises through the rivers, lakes and fjords of the northwest, travelling from New York to Montreal, as the autumn season paints a picturesque backdrop. This tour will be escorted by Judy Horton, a Horticulturist who works as a garden adviser for Yates. Judy is responsible for the regular updating of Yates Garden Guide, the best selling Australian gardening book.
Judy is one of the weekend regulars who answers garden questions on ABC 702 “Weekends with Simon Marnie” program. She also has a regular spot on 2UE on Thursday afternoons and takes part in interviews on a number of other radio stations. Judy has filled in for both Graham Ross and Don Burke on their respective shows and is a popular guest speaker at garden shows, such as Canberra’s Floriade, as well as garden clubs. More details, contact your travel agent or APT.
Sandra Tiltman PHOTOS: John Pond