A Garden Lovers Journey to England
With Michael Weishan
Enjoy a day at the the Chelsea Flower Show and discover
England’s top gardens with local experts
May 20 – May 27, 2014
“Matthew, the trip was a garden lover’s adventure of a lifetime! I am still overwhelmed when I look back on all we saw. Just such a great, comprehensive, wonderful gardening experience! Loved every minute.”
WH Smith – 2012 Chelsea Flower Show Guest
Join veteran PBS and NPR host, Michael Weishan and a small group of like-minded friends on the ultimate garden lovers journey to London and Southern England. Gain insider access to many of England’s preeminent private gardens. In addition you’ll stroll the grounds of grand historic gardens in County Kent, tour Leeds Castle and Canterbury Cathedral and spend an unforgettable day strolling the grounds of the Chelsea Flower Show!
3 Nights London
4 Nights Kent Countryside
Chelsea Flower Show ♦ RHS Wisley Gardens ♦ Penshurst Place Gardens ♦ The Great Dixter Garden ♦ Sissinghurst Gardens ♦ Leeds Castle and Gardens ♦ Canterbury Cathedral ♦ The Rock Farm Gardens ♦ Old Buckhurst ♦ Batemans ♦ Goodnestone Park Gardens and Vann Gardens
- Hosted by Michael Weishan, Veteran PBS & NPR Host & Author
- Expert garden guides throughout your journey
- Seven nights of four-star hotel accommodation
- All breakfasts plus nine additional multi-course meals
- A beer tasting
- Transport by air conditioned motor coach
- Admission into all private and public gardens
- Tickets to the Chelsea Flower Show
- Guided tours (where available) of all gardens listed above by head gardener, gardener or owner
- Services of experienced tour manager throughout
- A donation to the CarbonFund so you’ll travel carbon neutral
8 Days/7 Nights (excluding air travel)
$3,595 PP Dbl. Occupancy land (based on 18-25 guests)
$775 single supplement (waived if you are willing to share and a roommate is found)
Trip begins at 3:00pm in London on Tuesday, May 20
Trip returns on Tuesday, May 27
Prices based on 18-25 guests and an exchange rate of 1.00 GBP = 1.61505 USD
Small group surcharge applied of $350 if the group should fall below 17 guests
WAYS TO SAVE $250
Pay by check: Pay your final balance by check or money order and save $75 per person.
Alumni Discounts: All alumni of Earthbound Expeditions will receive a $100 per person discount.
Refer a Friend: Refer a friend and save an additional $75 for each person new to Earthbound who travels with you on an Earthbound Expedition. “Refer a Friend” discounts may be combined with other discounts.
“Just wanted to thank you for such a wonderful trip. It was such fun and such a great group of people. All the hard work you put in to make it happen is very much appreciated. I will cherish the memories of the places and the people. Hope to go on a trip with you again in the near future. Thank you so much for everything.”
D. Dana – Gardens of England Guest
YOUR GARDEN JOURNEY BEGINS…
May 19: Depart for London no later than today!
May 20: Arrive in London
Check into your centrally located hotel, meet your host, Michael Weishan and tour guide this afternoon at 3:00 pm, then make your first garden visit to Eccleston Square garden. This lovely private garden is open to groups by appointment and never fails to delight visitors. It’s three acres of garden with, amongst other things, peonies, ferns, a collection of climbing roses and more. Rose expert and author Roger Phillip who created the garden will act as your guide, along with master gardener Neville Cavil.
We’ll return to the hotel in the late afternoon and have time to freshen up before we meet your guide for a welcome dinner. Sleep in London (D)
May 21: The Vann Private Gardens & RHS Wisley Garden
This morning we board a private motor coach and set out to discover the stunning Vann Gardens. The Caroe family have owned Vann for nearly 100 years. The house is steeped in history with additions to the original timber-framed 16th century house in every century, the most recent in 1907 by WD Caröe. Occupied in the 15th and 17th centuries by the mayors of Guildford, ownership has been traced from 1180 to the present day. The unique Water Garden by Gertrude Jekyll in 1911 links a succession of small ponds fed by the cascade from the quarter-acre pond. It is crossed by stone paths and bridges banked with lush vegetation and 1,500 water-loving plants supplied by Miss Jekyll. The stream flows down to a wild White Garden, a blanket of snowdrops in February succeeded by narcissi, white fritillaries and martagon lilies, before disappearing into the coppiced woodland beyond.
Next we set out for one of England’s most cherished gardens, the RHS Wisley Garden. The Royal Horticultural Society was given to Wisley in 1903. At that time, only a small part of the 60-acre estate was actually cultivated as a garden, the remainder being wooded farmland. Today, the garden covers over 200 acres and offers visitors a fascinating blend of the beautiful with the practical. For many people, it is the beauty and tranquility of the garden that captures the imagination with its richly planted borders, luscious rose gardens and the exotica of the glasshouses. Return to London in the later afternoon. Sleep in London (B, L)
May 22: THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW TURNS 100!
The Chelsea Flower Show is the gardening Mecca of Europe, where some of the greatest exponents of the art exhibit imaginative garden designs over an 11-acre site at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea. They create a wonderland for the public to explore, as the tranquil canvas of the hospital’s lawns comes alive with a riot of color and form. Since its inception in 1913, the show has been at the forefront of horticultural development. In 2002, the entire event was housed in the dramatic, new-look of Great Marquees – higher, lighter, brighter and better ventilated than ever before.
Dozens of model gardens have always formed the prime attraction, reflecting the changing enthusiasms of designers, from the Japanese and topiary styles of the early days to a major emphasis on rock gardens during the war years, to the paved backyards, cottage and wildflower gardens of the present day. The show continues a long tradition of pushing boundaries.
You’ll have plenty of time to wander at the show today. Enjoy! Sleep in London (B, D)
May 23: Sissinghurst Castle Garden
Our journey today continues as we depart London for County Kent, England’s garden paradise. En-route we’ll enjoy Sissinghurst gardens. Here, you’ll enter the world of influential gardener and writer Vita Sackville-West and husband Harold Nicholson. A disciplined framework of walls and hedges is filled out by wonderfully exuberant plantings of old roses, perennials and cottage garden flowers. The setting itself is wildly romantic, the remains of an Elizabethan mansion with twin towers and rambling, low out buildings, crumbly red-brick walls and open courtyards. The most famous of the many gardens is Vita’s innovative White Garden, a poetic composition of white and off-white flowers, set off by green, grey and blue-tinted foliage plants, such as ferns, artemisias, sea kale and grasses. It is soothing, cool and restrained. Sissinghurst is a pilgrimage for gardeners worldwide.
After, we’ll enjoy lunch and a tour of Penshurst Place Gardens. The 600-year-old gardens are still in private ownership of the Viscount de L’Isle and has many small enclosed gardens with a delightful Elizabethan flavour. The garden includes a rose garden, 100ft-long peony border, which should be in full bloom in May, and new herbaceous borders. The Tudor house can also be visited.
In the afternoon we’ll make our way to our hotel in the country. Upon arrival we’ll enjoy an orientation of the town and dinner. Sleep in the Kent countryside (B, L, D)
May 24: Leeds Castle & Old Buckhurst
Built in 1119 by Robert de Crèvecœur to replace the earlier Saxon manor of Esledes, Leeds castle became a royal palace in 1278 for King Edward I of England and his queen, Eleanor of Castile. Today the castle and grounds are considered to be some of the most beautiful in the world.
Our day culminates with a visit to the garden at Old Buckhurst house. This garden was started by its present owners, John and Jane Gladstone, in January 1988 (just after the hurricane). At that time, there was no garden at all; just lawns, a mature oak, holly and paving around the house. Now the garden attracts admirers from all over the world. Sleep in the Kent countryside (B, D)
May 25: Penns in the Rocks, Batemans & The Gardens of Great Dixter
This morning enjoy a private visit to Penns in the Rocks. Owned by Lady Gibson, the 17th century home once belonged to William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania. In a dramatic setting, surrounded by sandstone outcrops, the garden was in part laid out by Vita Sackville West (of Sissinghurst fame) in an axial arrangement of spaces around a walled garden. It includes perennial borders, an avenue of mulberries, and an 18C Ionic Temple.
Next we are off to Bateman’s House.
“That’s She! The Only She! Make an honest woman of her – quick!” was how Rudyard Kipling and his wife, Carrie, felt the first time they saw Bateman’s. Surrounded by the wooded landscape of the Sussex Weald, this 17th century house, with its mullioned windows and oak beams, provided a much-needed sanctuary for this world-famous writer. The rooms, described by him as “untouched and unfaked,” remain much as he left them, with oriental rugs and artifacts reflecting his strong association with the East. Bateman’s is very much a family home, but impressive nonetheless.
Enjoy lunch and then we are off for an afternoon visit and private tour of Great Dixter, home and garden of famed gardening writer and plantsman Christopher Lloyd. His garden follows the crisp design laid out by Sir Edwin Lutyens prior to the First World War. Yew hedging and flagstone paths divide the seven-acre garden into spaces of different character and purpose. Dynamic and bold planting is the garden’s theme, and most famous is the view down the Long Border, a richly planted sunny border filled with mixed annuals, perennials, bulbs, shrubs, small trees and climbing plants (particularly clematis) that perform with brilliant color over a long season. Return to Kent countryside in the late afternoon. (B, D)
May 26: An Excursion to Canterbury & Goodnestone Park
The Cathedral’s history goes back to 597AD when St. Augustine, sent by Pope Gregory the Great as a missionary, established his seat (or “Cathedra”) in Canterbury. In 1170 Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in the Cathedral, and ever since the Cathedral has attracted thousands of pilgrims, as told in Geoffrey Chaucer’s famous Canterbury Tales. Today you’ll tour the cathedral before breaking for lunch.
This afternoon we visit Goodnestone Park. The Palladian style house, built in 1702, has connections with Jane Austen, who stayed there, and is set in 18th century parkland. The wonderful gardens include a parterre, grass amphitheatre, mature woodland with walks, a new grass and gravel garden by plantsman Graham Gough and the piece de resistance, a huge, old, walled garden romantically filled with old-fashioned roses, climbers, a rill, vegetable and cutting garden and a vista onto the neighbouring Norman church.
Since this is our last night together, let’s enjoy a farewell feast and toast to our great garden adventure! Sleep in Kent countryside (B, L, D)
May 27: Return home with a lifetime of memories
Note: A complimentary shuttle will depart this morning at approximately 7:00am and will make a quick stop at Gatwick (if need be) and will continue on to Heathrow. If flying out today please make sure to reserve a flight that departs after 11:00am. Happy travels!
- Gardens and Itinerary Subject to Change -
Your Host, Michael Weishan
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Michael Weishan first began gardening at the age of five. Originally intending to follow his grandfather into the State Department (hence his Harvard training in Classics and Romance Languages), Michael ultimately chose to pursue a different path – combining avocation with vocation in the field of landscape design.
After founding his own design/build firm Michael Weishan & Associates in 1986 – a practice he still actively heads – Michael began to share his gardening expertise through writing, first in his own quarterly newsletter, Traditional Gardening, and then for Old House Journal. From there, Michael went on to publish his first book, The New Traditional Garden, (Ballantine 1999) which has been widely credited with introducing the joys of old-house gardening to North America. A contributor to numerous national magazines and periodicals over the last decade, Michael is the former Gardening Editor of both Country Living and New Old House magazines. He has authored two other books: From a Victorian Garden (Viking 2004), and the Victory Garden Companion, published by HarperCollins in 2006.
In the field of electronic media, Michael is a veteran of National Public Radio where he hosted his own program, The Cultivated Gardener for several years before he debuted as the host of The Victory Garden on PBS in 2001. There he shared his design tips, expert advice, and trademark sense of humor with gardeners of all levels for six years. Michael has appeared frequently on various other national programs as well, including spots on the CBS Early Show, and NBC’s Today Show.
Michael is currently working on a new PBS program, Garden Earth.
Michael lives west of Boston in an 1852 farmhouse surrounded by three acres of gardens, pastures and woodland.
Your Expert English Garden Guides
Resident Garden Expert, Janine Wookey: Janine Wookey, formerly editor of The English Garden magazine, has used her extensive experience, to come up with a number of day-tours around National Gardens Scheme, gardens during the year that are a little bit different and will appeal to the garden visiting public.
Resident Garden Expert, Anne De Verteuil: Anne de Verteuil is a garden designer and consultant with extensive experience working both private and public commissions. Based in London, her designs are primarily for urban spaces, ranging from city courtyard and roof terrace to a new university garden and planting for an urban park. Anne’s style is clean and contemporary. Her designs emphasize form and pattern, and structural planting is often used in a sculptural way. Surfaces and textures play an important part in the choice of hard and soft landscaping, and deciduous or ephemeral plants are always included to add softness and movement and mark the changing of the seasons.
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