HPSO Garden Travel

WHERE HPSO TOURS GO

Since 1998, HPSO members have traveled together to international garden destinations in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Madeira, South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Slovenia, and Croatia.  New destinations - Southeast Australia and Tasmania -  are in the works.

Closer to home, our U.S. tours have featured gardens in Washington and California. The Puget Sound Islands tour series highlighted the gardens of Whidbey Island, Vashon Island, and Bainbridge Island.   Trips to the East Coast have also been popular.  Destinations include New York City, the Hudson Valley, New England, Savannah and Charleston.

HOW WE CREATE AN HPSO TOUR

HPSO tours have distinctly garden oriented focus that supports our mission to provide great horticultural education opportunities for our members. Tours include a variety of cultural and historical sites that round out the landscape. Trips vary in duration, and they are filled with activities. HPSO tours represent an excellent value for the money.

Tour prices typically include double accommodations, motor coach and professional 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, researched and led by HPSO volunteers with experience in the relevant destinations. HPSO works through excellent international tour companies that are responsible for booking arrangements. Tours are open exclusively to HPSO members.

HOW TO GET ON AN HPSO TOUR

Tours are announced to members through emails, our member magazine the HPSO Quarterly, the HPSO Travel Interest Group (a.k.a. HPSO Travel Club), and on this web page.

HPSO Members who wish to have advance notice about tours must join the HPSO Travel Interest Group.  There is no fee for joining the group and no obligation to attend extra meetings. Travel Interest Group members receive early-bird registration privileges for HPSO tours. Contact the HPSO office to join and be on a travel-interest mailing list.


Tours proposed & planned for 2023 & beyond


2023

[In Planning]  Both Sides of the Bay (San Francisco Bay Area)
May 30 - June 6, 2023

Come take in the San Francisco Bay Area, known for beautiful scenery and mild climate that contribute to a lifestyle of easy living, locally-sourced food, unusual public spaces, world-class wine and environmental awareness. The many micro-climates of the area, from the dry hills of Berkeley and windy Walnut Creek to foggy San Francisco, have fostered diverse public and private gardens. The garden design culture is strong. Bay Area garden designers embrace their beautiful surroundings and revel in the diverse plant palette available from the area’s excellent nurseries.

This seven night tour takes us to both sides of the San Francisco Bay visiting private gardens, iconic public spaces and fantastic nurseries. You will visit the West Coast's oldest glass house conservatory, stunning botanical gardens, and a 21st century roof garden on a transit center. We will take a tour through one of the first gardens preserved by the Garden Conservancy. We will tour private gardens of all sizes led by their owners and designers including a special evening in an artist and plantswoman’s personal garden. And of course, the tour includes some great nursery shopping.

For those who want to extend their journey, an optional two-night post-tour extension will be available from June 6 to June 8. Travelers will cross the Golden Gate and head for the gardens and wineries of the Sonoma Valley where we will enjoy wine tastings as we savor gardens large and small.

 


Gardens of Scotland: From the Border to the Highlands
May 25 - June 9, 2023
[SORRY.  THIS TOUR IS NOW FILLED.  Contact us if you wish to be placed on the waiting list].
Inverary Castle, ScotlandMeconopsis sheldonii Piper in Scotland Cawdor Castle, Scotland

 


Northern England: The Borders, The Lake District, and Yorkshire gardens

June 10-23, 2023
[SORRY.  THIS TOUR IS NOW FILLED.  Contact us if you wish to be placed on the waiting list].
HPSO at Newby Hall in Yorkshire
 Peter Rabbit shop in Windemere, UK Old Town York at night Gresgarth Garden, UK

 


Wales

June 23-July 4, 2023
[SORRY.  THIS TOUR IS NOW FILLED.  Contact us if you wish to be placed on the waiting list].
Bodnant Garden, Wales  Powis Castle, Wales Bookstore in Hay-on-Wye, Wales Bodnant Garden, Wales Queen Victoria Bodysgallen Hall, Wales Bryan's Ground Garden, Wales

 

 

[In Planning]  "Escape to the Islands" (Oahu and Hawai'i)
September 17 - 28, 2023

 

Join us for HPSO’s first ever tour to Hawai’i. Our eleven-night itinerary is designed for travelers who have never been to the Islands as well as repeat visitors who want more time to fully enjoy the state’s horticultural treasures. We will explore the incredible biodiversity of two very different islands, Oahu and the “Big Island” of Hawai’i. Take in everything from dense, damp rain forests to dry land succulent gardens. Visit new-formed lands, home to volcanic survivors.. On both islands, our garden visits include botanical gardens showcasing exotic tropical specimens amassed by both universities and private collectors.  This is paradise for plant geeks and lush collector's gardens abound. We will spotlight plantations and nurseries featuring both ornamental and edible plants from coffee, chocolate and pineapple to hibiscus and orchids. As a cultural melting pot, Hawai’i is the perfect showcases for a world of garden design traditions. Sites from the Polynesian Place of Refuge near Kona, to the urban Chinese sites of Honolulu, to the tranquil Japanese gardens of the Valley of the Temples will provide further insight into the history of this crossroads of the Pacific. All along our journey, you will be treated to balmy island breezes and dramatic vistas -- what better way to forget that the rainy season is about to start back home. 

 



Australia: Sydney & the Blue Mountains plus Melbourne & Victoria State
October 24 - November 10, 2023
(Australia mainland tour)
SORRY.  THIS TOUR IS NOW FILLED.  Contact us if you wish to be placed on the waiting list].

Attila Kapitani garden near Melbourne   Sydney Harbor Bridge 

 
The Three Sisters, Katoomba, NSW Australian native plant Royal Botanic Garden Cranbourne, Victoria State

 

 
Australia:
Tasmania
November 10-20, 2023
(following the Australia mainland tour)
SORRY.  THIS TOUR IS NOW FILLED. 
Contact us if you wish to be placed on the waiting list].
Tasmanian Devil   Cradle Mountain

 

2024

[In planning]  Magical in the off-season: Enchanting Winter Gardens of England
February, 2023

Not even winter keeps the English out of the garden, and the wide array of gardening activities and sights in late winter is testimony to their tenacity.  Whether it be snowdrops festivals, witch hazel nurseries, a national collection of hellebores, or extraordinary gardens designed especially for winter, the gardeners of England make the most of the winter, and so does this tour!

 

[In planning]  "West of the Rhine: From Reims to Lyon" - Eastern France
May 29 - June 15

A 17-night tour (in two parts) of gardens, cathedrals, historical sites, some of the prettiest towns in France, and so much more.   Part one includes visits to the Champagne region (Reims, Lorraine (Nancy) and Alsace region (Strasbourg/Colmar).  Part two includes visits to Burgundy (Beaune/Dijon) and Rhone/Alps (Annecy and Lyon).  Food and wine will undoubtedly be a big feature of this tour.  

House in the Alsace  French wine "Aiguille du midi" in the Alps Annecy, France   

 

[In planning]  Japan
November, 2024

This 10-day tour will change hotels only once and explores sights within approximately an hour of Tokyo and Kyoto. There will be an optional 2-day stay at a Japanese-style ryokan hot springs hotel, where the focus is on relaxation, traditional foods, mind and body.  In addition to visiting gardens, we will also explore some historical sites, culture, arts and craftsmanship.  November is when Japanese maple colors are peaking plus many communities host chrysanthemum festivals.  It will help us plan if we know how many people might be interested.   So please email the tour planners here if the tour might interest you.  More details will be published here as the itinerary is developed.  

  


Past Trips & Tours

HPSO offers custom tours, and we do not repeat our destinations every year. However, there are some popular garden spots that do tend to cycle onto the tour calendar fairly frequently. HPSO members in our Travel Interest Group also provide feedback that helps us with program ideas for new tours. A sampling of our recent tours is provided here.

2022 tours
Netherlands,  Paris-London,  Tuscany,  Northern Italy,  Denmark-Sweden,  Slovenia-Croatia,  Southern France,  Ireland

2020-2021 tours
2020: no tours due to the pandemic.  2021: New England

2019 tours
Galicia & Northern Portugal,  East of England,   Coast-to-Coast (English Channel Islands & Brittany's Emerald Coast),   Berlin & Potsdam,   New Zealand (north & south islands)

2018 tours
Seattle,  Sicily,  Southern Italy,  Bainbridge Island (Washington),  Netherlands/Belgium/Germany,  South Africa,  Southern Spain/Portugal

2017 tours
Savannah/Charleston,  Normandy (France),  Brittany (France),  Cornwall/Devon (UK),  Portugal & Madeira

2016 tours 
Southern England,  Wales,  Scotland,  Seattle/Tacoma,  Vashon Island (Washington),  New Zealand (north & south islands)

2015 tours
Northern Ireland,  Republic of Ireland,  Hudson Valley NY

2014 tours
Andalusia (Spain),  Portugal,  Madeira,  Berlin & Potsdam (Germany)

2013 tours
Provence/Cote d'Azur (France),  Northern Italy,  Whidbey Island (Washington)

2012 tours and prior