From Gardener's Supply (www.gardeners.com)

Itinerary

June 30-July 7, 2007

Saturday, June 30

Depart for Bristol, England

Sunday, July 1

Upon arrival of your flight and completion of customs formalities you will be met and transferred to the Roman City of Bath by your Expo Garden Tours tour manager for hotel check in. This afternoon, enjoy a guided city sightseeing tour of Bath to include the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey and the Royal Crescent. This evening partake in a welcome dinner celebration at Crowe Hall, a Regency style house with a beautiful garden, which overlooks Bath. Our host, Mr. John Barrat says, 'The garden is an island of classical simplicity surrounded by romantic wilderness.' For its stunning setting and romantic ambiance Crowe Hall is an experience not to be missed. (Dinner)

Monday, July 2
Roses and clematis at Hestercombe
Roses and clematis will be at their peak for our visit.

Travel south this morning to Somerset two visit two great gardens. The first is Hestercombe House Gardens, which is a superb product of the collaboration between architect Edwin Lutyens and garden designer Gertrude Jekyll. Here they have blended the formal art of architecture with the art of plants. This garden has been described as Lutyens at his best, with the detailed design of steps, pools, walls, paving and seating. Afterwards, visit Cothay Manor Garden, set on the River Tone. The private garden of Mr. and Mrs. Alistair Robb was originally designed in the 1920's and restored in 1993. It is now a 7 acre plantsman's paradise surrounding perhaps the most perfect example of a small classic medieval manor. Many garden rooms, each a garden in itself, radiate from the 200 yard yew walk. In addition, there is a bog garden, fine trees, cottage garden, courtyards and a river walk. Return to Bath with the evening at leisure. (Breakfast)

Tuesday, July 3

Start today's visits at Longstock Water Gardens, where The River Test feeds an exquisite 7-acre water garden. The winding paths and little bridges take the visitor from island to island, revealing wonderful collections of water irises, lilies, astilbes, primulas and many other water-loving plants. The walled garden features herbaceous borders, a rose pergola and the collection of clematis viticella. There is also a 6 acre arboretum. We have made a special request to see their National Collection of buddleias with over 100 varieties. Then on to one of Britain's National Trust's prime rose collections, which is located at Mottisfont Abbey Gardens. This famous collection of historic roses, based on the design and selection by Graham Stuart Thomas, was established in 1972. The garden is quartered with paths and box hedging with a central pond and fountain in the original kitchen garden. There are fine herbaceous borders, but it is the National Collection of 300 old-fashioned roses in the walled rose garden that this garden is known for. Return to Bath with dinner at a local restaurant. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Wednesday, July 4

This morning we will travel north to the town of Malmesbury to visit Barbara and Ian Pollard's labor of love, Abbey House Gardens. This remarkable 5 acre garden has been under development by the owners, since 1995. Two thousand different roses were planted to celebrate the Millennium making this the largest privately held rose collection in the country. There are numerous other features in the garden that make it well worth visiting, including an arcaded fruit walk, a knot garden, huge herbaceous borders, a formal garden and a beautiful laburnum tunnel. Overall, it is the design and plantings which are so distinctive. It is rare to find so much in one garden that is bold, varied and inspirational. Then move on to historic Lacock Village, with its many charming stone and half-timbered houses. The entire village is now owned by the National Trust. It has been featured in various TV and film costume dramas, in particular Pride and Prejudice, Moll Flanders and Emma. None of the shops show any sign of belonging to the 20th century, let alone the 21st! Residents and businesses are forbidden to display any form of advertising, so a visit to Lacock is like a journey into the past. In the afternoon, we will visit two lovely private gardens, starting with Bolehyde Manor, the garden of the Earl and Countess of Cairns. This garden is built around the house, outbuildings and gatehouses, which are made of beautifully weathered Cotswold stone, and punctuate a series of linked garden rooms The garden is at its best in summer when masses of roses bloom on the old walls, and the half-hardy planting in the courtyard is nearing the peak of a brilliant display. Then on to Ridleys Cheer, which was created in the 1980's by a garden designer and his wife. The garden is on two levels, connected by a broad flight of steps with a wrought-iron rose arbor at the top and a grass walk, and contains many fine examples of rare shrubs and trees. The shrub roses, including some 120 species and hybrids seldom encountered, are a major summer feature. This is an informal garden full of appeal, and is brought to life by the very knowledgeable owners. Return to Bath with the evening free to explore the city on your own. (Breakfast)

Thursday, July 5
Upton Grey Manor
Upton Grey Manor was the residence of Charles Holme, a key figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement. Parts of the home date back to the 15th century.

Depart this morning for London, stopping along the way at two private gardens and one of England's premier public gardens. The gardens at West Green House Garden have been restored by Australian Marylyn Abbott, who took over in 1993. The main feature of West Green House is its charming walled garden with many different borders containing different types of plants from vegetables to roses, all separated by gravel paths. The walled garden leads on to a classic style water garden with pools and rills appearing from a stone folly. The recently built Paradise Fountain, inspired by traditional Islamic gardens, is just around the corner and feels quite modern. Next we'll visit Upton Grey Manor, the private garden of Rosamund Wallinger. This garden was originally designed by Gertrude Jekyll a well-known garden designer at the turn of the last century. The Wallinger's purchased the property some 15 years ago and there was little trace of Ms. Jekyell's garden design. With no prior knowledge about gardening, Mrs. Wallinger set out to restore the property, which is now one of Jekyell's best preserved works. You'll enjoy morning tea at the garden before continuing 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. The Long Walk herbaceous borders and the fabulous rose gardens should be at peak bloom for your visit. The bookstore at the garden is thought to have the most extensive collection of gardening books in the country and perhaps the world. Continue on to London for hotel check in and dinner tonight. (Breakfast, tea, Dinner)

Friday, July 6
Hampton Court
Hampton Court is a former Royal Palace, located directly on the River Thames. It was the home of King Henry VIII and King William III. The Privy Garden, shown here, was recently restored to the way it appeared when it was completed for King William III in 1702.

After breakfast this morning we will depart for the Hampton Court Palace, a former royal palace and the setting of the Hampton Court Flower Show. You will have the entire day to browse through the show at your own pace, and take in all the wonderful things this show has to offer. The Hampton Court Flower Show is now considered the most prestigious in Britain, with a full range of summer flowering plants on display including many roses. Gather this evening for a Farewell Dinner at historic Rules Restaurant, known as London's Oldest Restaurant. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Saturday, July 7

Have breakfast this morning, finish packing and then transfer to the airport for the return trip home. (Breakfast)

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