Itinerary

May 18-25, 2007

Registration Deadline Extended! March 10, 2007

FRIDAY, May 18
Depart U.S. for London

SATURDAY, May 19
Arrive at London Gatwick Airport and transfer approximately one hour south to the County of Kent, where you'll check into the Spa Hotel in Tunbridge. After some time for rest and relaxation, meet Hilary Smith, your tour leader, and fellow travelers for a tour of nearby Hever Castle, which was once the home of Anne Boelyn. The current gardens were laid out between 1904 and 1908 to William Waldorf Astor's designs. Today, the gardens have reached maturity and are teeming with color and interest throughout the year. Among the many superb attractions is an outstanding 4-acre Italian garden, featuring a large collection of classical statuary. There is also a magnificent pergola that supports camellias, wisteria, crabapples, Virginia creeper and roses. The hillside beyond has shaded grottoes of cool, moisture-loving species, such as hostas, astilbes and polygonums. Return to hotel for overnight stay. (Dinner)

SUNDAY, May 20

Curved border
Merriments Garden features color-themed borders and imaginative combinations of annuals, perennials and shrubs.
Today's first visit is to Merriments Garden and Nursery created during the early 1990s. The garden has broad lawns, color-themed perennial borders, a pergola and a lovely water garden. Afterwards, have lunch on your own in the historic town of Rye. Continue to Great Dixter, the home of the late garden writer Christopher Lloyd, for a guided tour of the house and gardens. The design of the garden was partly the work of Edward Lutyens and the present owner's father. You will see a number of gardens including fine topiary, a magnificent mixed border and a new tropical garden. (Breakfast)

MONDAY, May 21
Start the day with a visit to Sissinghurst, perhaps Britain's most famous and romantic garden, created by the poet and novelist Vita Sackville West and her husband, Sir Harold Nicholson. The gardens, which surround the ruins of an Elizabethan mansion, have parts that date back even earlier. They are in immaculate condition and have been designed to offer changing vistas at every turn of the winding paths and formal walks. Have lunch on your own at the garden before visiting Great Comp Garden, an imaginatively planned 7-acre garden. Roderick Cameron and his wife started this garden in 1957 out of rough woodland and paddock. Here long grass walks intersect the beds and borders, creating ever-changing views. Focal points are created using statuary, a temple and a ruined building. There are woodland areas, herbaceous borders, a heather garden, a rose garden, formal lawns, and a new Italianate garden. Return to your hotel. (Breakfast)

TUESDAY, May 22

Hedge and garden
The gardens of Vann contain plants selected by the great plantswoman Gertrude Jekyll.
Depart for the Millennium Baileys Hotel in London this morning, stopping en route at two gardens. First, stop in Surrey to visit Vann, the lovely private garden of Mrs. Caroe. The water garden still contains plants selected and supplied by Gertrude Jekyll. There is also a beautiful formal garden, complete with clipped yews and regular brick paths. This garden truly offers something for everyone! Then continue on to the Royal Horticultural Society's Garden at Wisley, Britain's most important plant collection and garden display. This is British gardening at its best in all aspects, with 250 acres of glorious gardens. For your visit, the wooded slopes massed with azaleas and rhododendrons should be at peak bloom. The bookstore at the garden is thought to have the most extensive collection of gardening books in the country and perhaps the world. Then travel on to London and check in to our hotel for the next three nights. Rejoin the group for dinner, which is included this evening. (Breakfast, Dinner)

WEDNESDAY, May 23
Today we will depart after breakfast for a full day at the internationally famed Chelsea Flower Show on Members Only Day. The show is held annually on the Embankment beside the River Thames. This is Britain's premier horticultural show of the year and a Mecca for garden lovers from all over the world. If time allows, you may want to tour the Chelsea Physic Garden, just a short walk from the Flower Show. Return independently to the hotel. (Breakfast)

THURSDAY, May 24

Hampton Court Palace
Tour the house and gardens at Hampton Court, Henry VIII's majestic palace on the banks of the River Thames.
This morning, travel to the magnificent Hampton Court Palace, constructed in the 16th century by Cardinal Wolseley and given by him to Henry Vlll as a royal residence. This fine garden has much to offer everyone including Britain's oldest hedge planted maze and Tudor knot garden. The Great Vine, which was originally planted in 1768, is probably the oldest surviving vine in the world. Return to London and your hotel at lunch time for an afternoon of museums or shopping on your own. This evening, gather for a farewell dinner celebration with your new gardening friends. (Breakfast, Tea, Dinner)

FRIDAY, May 25
After breakfast, transfer to London's Gatwick International Airport for your flight home. (Breakfast)

Land Package Price for the Gardens of Southern England and The Chelsea Flower Show is $2,988.00 per person based on double occupancy. Single supplement is $498. Deposit is due at time of booking to confirm your reservation. Final payment is due on or before Feb. 27, 2007. Please call Expo Garden Tours for details about this tour. Call 800-448-2685 or e-mail gstours@expogardentours.com

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