To Go or Not to Go on a Garden Tour - The Pros and Cons

Going on a trip is a big decision, especially if you have to cross an ocean. While the lure of adventure is irresistible to some, others find leaving home a difficult undertaking. In the winter, when the garden is dormant and we are hearth-bound, the lure of travel is all the more compelling.  But then spring comes and our garden comes alive again, and all those trips we dreamed of taking in the winter are suddenly not so alluring.  So should you stay home or should you go?  

I'd argue that there are compelling reasons either way. How you travel is really the key. If you want to travel anyway, you don't need convincing. But if you really don't want to leave home, read on about the reasons that are holding you back and how you might reconsider.


gardens with a large pond and maple trees. The leaves are turning.

This is arguably the most compelling reason not to travel. You work all year to make sure your garden looks beautiful, and just when your most beloved and coveted plant is about to bloom, just when the picture you have strived to paint with different plant combinations is about to come alive, you are to leave home to go and visit other people's gardens. How could anything be as beautiful and rewarding as enjoying your own garden? You don't want to miss what you've been working so hard to achieve.

Consider: It must be a very compelling trip indeed to wrest you away from home! Nothing less than a once-in-a-lifetime experience will do. A bespoke tour, which takes into account your traveling style, your interests and your needs, is a sure way to make sure that missing out on the beauty at home is best compensated by seeing glories abroad (and make sure someone at home records the glory of your garden for your enjoyment when you return).


A significant reason to travel to visit gardens is to be inspired and learn. And yes, there are many books and movies about gardening that can provide inspiration and answers to design and horticulture questions. Movies, in particular, are very good at giving you the impression that you are physically there. A movie will give you a sense of the landscape, the colors, the style. But let's face it, gardens are about emotions. The emotion you will feel when all your senses are aroused. While a movie can walk you through a garden, it doesn't communicate the scents, the feel of walking on the grass or on the paths, or the emotions it will evoke in you.

Consider: There is nothing, I repeat nothing, like experiencing a garden with all your senses. Then and only then can you experience the garden to its fullest, as the designer and the gardener intended. Only this experience can provide lifelong memories and inspiration.


There are so many gardens you have read about, heard about, or seen movies about that you're not sure where to begin. The list of places is long, and they aren't even all in one country, much less in the same part of the world. Then there is the unpredictability of travel in a post-pandemic world.  Cancelled flights, last-minute changes to flight schedules—all of that is pretty daunting. Add to that traffic and local driving customs, and staying in your garden seems like a far better option.

Consider: You could engage the help of an expert to help you craft an itinerary that will include those gardens you most want to see in a way that will take into account your needs and travel style. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a professional arrange visits, book transportation and lovely hotels so you can simply enjoy and marvel?


Traveling takes being open to new opportunities, new people, new events, and being open to the unpredictable. But group travel?!

If you sign up for a trip without knowing anyone else, you might think, Oh no, what if I don’t find friends? What if they are all boring? And following a group when I am not in the mood to be social and all I want to do is look at gardens?

Consider: How about traveling with a group of like-minded friends? Then you will feel safer, and it will seem less daunting. Not to mention that traveling with friends and sharing new discoveries with your friends will make your joy even greater; joy is the only thing that grows when you share it!


In the last century, especially, English has really become the lingua franca across most of the developed world. So chances are that in most European countries, in most situations, English will be fine. Off the beaten path, however, you might run into times where sign language is your best option. This may lead to uncomfortable, or perhaps even unsafe, situations.

Consider: How about engaging an expert to arrange a bespoke tour? The expert's long-standing local contacts will let you relax and fully enjoy yourself.


Visiting gardens is about inspiration and learning.  Visiting gardens is about emotions. Only a physical visit to the garden can achieve that dimension; books and movies are only a teaser, a promise. A stress-free experience where you can simply marvel and wonder is best achieved by taking part in a group tour with like-minded friends, expertly organized by an experienced planner. This is the best way to ensure a once-in-a-lifetime experience, which is the only acceptable reason to be away from your garden at prime time.



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