Great Dixter         La Chatonniere

Trips and Tours

Since 1998, HPSO members have traveled together to international garden destinations throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, South Africa, Spain, Portugal and Madeira, and, closer to home, to gardens in the Puget Sound area, the Mid-Atlantic states, and New York.  New for 2016 will be tours to Japan, southern England, Wales, Scotland, New Zealand, and Vashon Island (Washington State)

Trips vary in duration, but they are filled with activities and represent an excellent value for the money. Tour prices typically include double accommodations, motor coach and guide, tour gratuities, many meals, and admission to all gardens and other sites along the way. Participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the tour's start and finish points, including airfare.

Tours are conceived and led by HPSO members with experience in the relevant countries. HPSO works through excellent international tour companies such as STITA/Pathfinder Tours,  Brightwater Tours, Sterling Tours, and ATS Pacific. These tour companies are responsible for booking arrangements overseas. Tours are open exclusively to HPSO members.


Gardens of Savannah & Charleston (April 22-29, 2017)  Southern hospitality awaits in two of the country’s loveliest garden cities: Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina.  Horticulture and gardening are important to both these communities which is reflected in their many public gardens, intimate private gardens and historic plantations.  HPSO members will experience many of these and more!

"Bonjour Normandie!" The Ultimate Tour of Northern France, Part 1: Normandy (June 24-July 6 2017) - Sorry. This tour is now filled; contact Bruce Wakefield for tour details.  Normandy (or “Normandie” in French), is one of France’s most beautiful regions. From vast stretches of magnificent coastline to it’s verdant interior, Normandy is a place where good food, history, and quaint towns converge to make a delightful vacation experience. It is also a great place for gardens! Situated across the channel from southern England, this region shares a similar climate and terrain (and has shared some English designers such as Lutyens and Jekyll)! This is a place where the English garden style and French garden style intermingle.  Join us on this extensive tour of Normandy and see this region’s finest gardens and chateaux. Visit historical sites from Norman times to Joan-of-Arc to D-day. Tour a Calvados distillery, visit a camembert cheese museum, enjoy the Fêtes Medieval in Bayeux, and dine at seaside restaurants. This 13-day, 12-night tour is part One of the “ultimate” tour of northwestern France which includes Normandy and Brittany. 

"Bonjour Bretagne!" The Ultimate Tour of Northern France, Part 2: Brittany (July 5-16, 2017) Sorry. This tour is now filled.   Contact Bruce Wakefield for tour details.  Brittany (or “Bretagne” in French), is a unique region in western France. Situated on a jutting continental arm into the Atlantic, this mountainous and forested land is steeped in its Celtic roots, complete with its own language, Breton, still spoken in many parts today. [Brittany was annexed to France in 1532.] It is a land rich in culture, tradition, and history.  Join us on this extensive tour of Brittany. Not only will we see fine gardens, but we’ll visit prehistoric megalith sites and tour a faïence pottery factory. We’ll visit the region’s finest châteaux and medieval fortified towns, enjoy the Fêtes Historique in Vannes and Bastille Day celebrations in Josselin. We’ll explore quaint seaside villages along a spectacular coastline and spend a day on Belle-ile-en-mer, France’s “Beautiful Island in the Sea”. This is more than just a garden tour. We plunge into all aspects of Bretagne history and culture, too!  This 12-day, 11-night tour is part Two of the “ultimate” tour of northwestern France which includes Normandy and Brittany. 

Southwest England: Cornwall & Devon (July 22-August 4, 2017) - Sorry. Registration for this tour is now closed.  HPSO is returning to the United Kingdom again in 2017 with a thirteen-night tour traveling through a corner of Somerset and highlighting the gardens and history of Devon and Cornwall.  From wild moorlands to sheltered cottage gardens, this special region of Britain lends itself to a unique mix of gardening styles and climates.  Travelers will experience the wonder of the Eden Project biomes, the magic of Tresco Abbey and the charm of the Arts & Crafts manor gardens tucked along the south coast.  You'll have time to explore on your own in charming Devonshire and Cornish towns such a Exeter, Falmouth and St Ives.  We will roam the wild coastal landscapes well known to fans of the PBS series Poldark, and, of course, the perfect cream tea awaits you around every corner.  Questions about this tour?  Please contact tour planner Barb Christopher for tour details.

Portugal's Horticultural Treasures: Sintra, Cascais, and the island of Madeira (November 9-17, 2017) - Sorry.  This tour is now filled.  Please contact Lois Moss for details!  us for this nine-day, eight-night tour exploring Cascais and Sintra on the Portuguese Rivera, and the volcanic slopes of the island of Madeira, with its unique flora and fauna. You’ll be astounded by the natural beauty, horticultural diversity and stunning gardens of these locales, including three UNESCO World Heritage sites. Both regions are blessed with year-round mild weather.  Traveling at a time when Portugal is an incredible value, we benefit by staying in two luxurious hotels at bargain prices (and you’ll only pack your bags twice on the tour!). This expert-guided, fully escorted tour also includes time for independent discovery.   Questions about this tour?  Please contact tour planner Lois Moss for tour details.



[In Planning]  Philadelphia Flower Show (March 2018)

"The Enchanting Island of Sicily" (April 23-May 3, 2018) Sorry.  This tour is now filled. Sicily (or Sicilia, pronounced See-CHEE-lee-ah by the natives) is a varied land steeped in history! As the largest island in the Mediterranean sea, strategically located in the center, it was constantly invaded over millennia - by the Carthaginians, Greeks, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, French, Spanish, and Bourbons until it ultimately became part of modern Italy. With each invasion, these peoples left their mark in Sicilian culture, customs, architecture, and food. Sicily also has a diverse topography, from a rugged coastline to gentle inland valleys to Europe’s largest active volcano, Mt Etna!  Join us on this tour of this enchanting island. We will experience equal parts of Sicily’s gardens, gastronomy, history, archeology, and architecture. We’ll enjoy wandering amongst Greek ruins and wildflowers (see photo above of a temple at Selinunte in western Sicily), enjoy a traditional puppet show, visit a 150-year-old chocolate factory, tour a Baroque town, visit Norman cathedrals and castles, ascend Mt Etna, and see the best gardens that Sicily has to offer - and so much more!  Questions about this tour?  Please contact tour planner Bruce Wakefield. 

"Gardens & Villas of Southern Italy" (May 7-May 18, 2018) Sorry.  This tour is now filled. 
For thousands of years, southern Italy has been a desirable destination due to its strategic location, benign climate, beautiful coastline, fertile soil, and fine food! It is a land filled with history.  Join us on this southern Italy tour as we, too, explore this wonderful part of the world. We will see fabulous cliff-top villas, visit the famous archeological site of Pompeii, tour the Pope’s private garden in Castel Gandolfo, visit royal palaces and museums, see the stunning Amalfi coast, and enjoy the magical islands of Capri and Ischia in the Bay of Naples, as well as visit incredible gardens - and a lot more! We will see the most romantic garden in Italy, the private garden of Ninfa, built on the ruins of a medieval village - a garden not to be missed!  Our main southern Italy tour will focus on the regions of Campania (encompassing Naples) and Lazio (home of Rome).  An optional pre-tour to the Boot of Italy will explore areas further south - the regions of Calabria, Basilicata, and Puglia, visiting the UNESCO world heritage sites of Matera and Alberobello.  Our spring tour is the perfect time to visit southern Italy. Please join us and see the best of this beautiful land.   Questions about this tour?  Please contact tour planner Bruce Wakefield.

"Border Crossings: Garden Discoveris in The Netherlands, Belgium, & Northwest Germany" (September 4-16, 2018) Sorry.  This tour is now filled "Border Crossings: Garden Discoveries in The Netherlands, Belgium, and Northwest Germany".  The dates of the tour are September 4-16, 2018.  With this tour, Nancy and Jim return to one of their favorite gardening regions of the world.  Explore great public gardens and parks, several leading nurseries, and a number of superb private gardens on this 13-day, 12-night tour, which is almost entirely new compared to their 2008 and 2011 tours to the region.  Other sites with historical and natural significance are also included.  As usual, many of the stops on the tour are seldom seen by Americans or the independent traveler. Questions about this tour?  Please contact tour planner Jim Rondone.

[In Planning] "A Tale of Two Cities: Gardens of London & Paris" (May/June 2018)


Future tours will be announced to members through email, our member Quarterly, the HPSO Travel Interest Group (aka HPSO Travel Club), and on this web page.  If you wish to have advance notice about tours, please join the HPSO Travel Interest Group.  HPSO members only - contact the HPSO office to join or to be on a travel-interest mailing list.


Villa Rufolo          Chateau de Canon

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