With garden clubs returning to their normal schedule of monthly meetings in September, make an appointment to present them with some eye-catching new itineraries that they have not seen before?
Orchid Societies will relish Kew’s annual Orchid extravaganza in February. While other gardeners, too busy to travel in the spring, might say ‘yes’ to a Poldark/Doc Martin infused Cornwall garden tour in March. Scotland’s Rhododendron Festival blended with a few castles and distilleries may draw the attention north of the border, with others liking my suggestions for the Keukenhof in Holland, Floralia in Belgium and some of our English tulip festivals. The mid-May RHS Malvern Flower Show is also a very good reason for a “travel less, see more” visit to the Cotswolds.
With the Journées des Plantes taking place over the weekend that precedes the Chelsea Flower Show, offer them a Paris-London combination. Formidable, as the French would say!
Kew Gardens Thai Orchid Festival
Next February, forget the winter blues and become immersed in a celebration of Thailand’s vibrant colours, culture, and magnificent plant life inside the tropical paradise of Kew Gardens conservatories. To find an Orchid Society near you, check out www.aos.org.uk and click on Affiliated Societies. There may be one near where you live, and you may also spot the name of someone you know!
Cornwall Garden Tour in March
March is when the stately homes of Cornwall fling open their garden gates to show off fantastic displays of camellias and magnolias that bloom in pastel white and pink and vibrant red, purple and yellow. With a dash of Poldark and a hint of Doc Martin, it may appeal to clients too busy in their own gardens to travel in May.
Scotland’s Rhododendron Festival
The wonderfully diverse world of the rhododendron will be celebrated with the Scottish Rhododendron Festival returning for its fifth year. Flowering across the country from 1 April to 31 May 2019, it features more than 90 events displaying swathes of colour in gardens, estates and woodlands nationwide. Some of the most stunning displays will be seen in the west of Scotland.
Keukenhof and Floralia
Everyone knows about Tulip Time in the Netherlands, but this part of Europe is also home to many magnificent ornamental gardens. This tour visits some of the most outstanding public gardens and several private properties in Holland and Belgium, all looking superb in the spring. Time your tour for April or early May to enjoy the tulip fields and world-famous Keukenhof Gardens!
Tip-Toe Through the Tulips
With many gardeners busy in their own gardens in May, this late April tour brings together leisurely visits to the extensive and breathtakingly beautiful tulip displays at 11th century Arundel Castle, the award-winning gardens at Pashley Manor, at Chenies Manor, plus 3 more internationally renowned gardens. Your garden loving clients will not have been offered this tantalising combination before.
RHS Malvern Spring Festival
If you’re looking for a truly outstanding tour of castles, stately homes and gardens with some great recommendations for country pub lunches, you’ve just found it. Based in the Cotswolds and in Shakespeare’s England, this “travel less see more” itinerary can be timed to coincide with the RHS Malvern Show (9th-12th May), a glorious spring extravaganza celebrating food, gardening and the countryside.
Journées des Plantes, Paris and RHS Chelsea London
Established over 30 years ago, the Journées des Plantes has become the top horticultural event in France. Taking place between 17th-19th May 2019, it makes a great partner for the 21st-25th May Chelsea Flower Show. With Eurostar providing the connection, let’s talk about a 4-night Paris and 4-night London tour tailored to include visits some of your clients have not seen before.
Paull Tickner, owner of U.K.-based Custom GB, is known for his expertise in creating and operating imaginative, value-added tours of Great Britain and Ireland. Visit his website at www.customgb.co.uk or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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