Just last week we celebrated the first day of spring, one of my favorite times in the desert southwest. It is finally time to say goodbye to old man winter and welcome the sunny days of spring. With all of the beautiful flowers and trees blooming, I could not help but take a moment and flip through a new catalog that landed on my desk last week. The cover features a lavish garden full of bright colorful flowers and lush green trees. It was from one of our preferred tour companies, Collette Vacations, showcasing RHS Garden Holidays.
RHS Garden Holidays is the product of an exclusive partnership with Collette Vacations and the esteemed Royal Horticultural Society. Together, they offer a new line of tours that offer an insider’s look at the world’s greatest gardens combined with international and domestic travel. There are plenty of options to choose from including the Eight Day Gardens of London Tour featuring the Chelsea Flower Show to the nineteen day New Zealand Garden Route. As I read down the list of tours offered, I could not believe the options and just had to flip through the pages to learn more. This catalog is proof that a picture is worth a thousand words as I think the photos alone sell the tours. While I can’t include this beautiful catalog in one short column, there are some incredible tours worth highlighting:
The Beauty of Britain is a nine day tour through the incredible English countryside beginning in London and ending in Edinburgh. Highlights include a tour of the RHS Garden Wisley, the home of the Royal Horticultural Society, a private tour and coffee at famous Castle Howard, exclusive garden design workshops, an overnight in a historic country estate hotel, and a Scottish culture night with dinner and dancing.
The Gardens of the Loire delight the senses at the Chateau de Chaumont-sur-Loire’s International Garden Festival. This eight day tour begins and ends in Paris and includes Louis XIV’s magnificent gardens at Versailles and the “Grandes Eaux” musical fountain show; a tour and tasting at one of the most well-known wineries in Vouvray; and the famed Giverny, the tranquil gardens that inspired Monet to create his greatest works.
The Gardens and Villas of the Italian Lakes is a ten day tour starting in Venice and ending in Milan. Two nights are spent in Venice, Como, and Lago Maggiore. Guests will visit Murano Island; Doges Palace; tour of Mozzoni Gardens led by a member of the Mozzoni family; garden tour of Villa Serbelloni with a local expert; and the Isola Bella palace and gardens.
For those wishing to stay closer to home, the eight day Historic Gardens of America’s Northeast includes stunning gardens from Boston to New York. Guests will receive exclusive access to the Rockefeller Estate, Kykuit, and Edith Wharton’s home, The Mount, before they open to the public. In addition, they receive access to the Dana Greenhouses (not open to the public) and a stroll through Vanderbilt Mansion (historically known as Hyde Park), one of the nation’s premier monuments of the Gilded Age.
I wish that I had enough space to keep writing about these unique tours. There are several other options including Portugal featuring the Azores and Lisbon; Eternal Gardens of Rome; Gardens of American History; The Beauty of Japan; and Floral Wonders of South Africa. Regardless if you are a master gardener or if you are just looking for a different kind of vacation offering spectacular scenery around the world, consider one of the RHS Garden Holidays for your next vacation. They feature some of Mother Nature’s finest works of art on historical canvases around the globe.