HPSO Garden Travel


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.


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.


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 2024 & beyond


Magical in the off-season: Enchanting Winter Gardens of England
February 4-10, 2024

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!


Portugal's Horticulture Treasures: Lisbon, Sintra & the island of Madeira
April 28 - May 6, 2024

This nine-day, eight-night tour explores Lisbon and Sintra on the Portuguese mainland plus 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. The finale to the tour will be grandstand seats at the parade during the Madeira Flower Festival.


Across the Iberian Peninsula: The French Pyrenees & Basque Country
May 7 - May 25, 2024,  and also May 9 - May 27, 2024

Running across the neck of the Iberian Peninsula, the Pyrénées form a natural separation between the countries of Spain and France and their respective cultures and languages. Adding to this separation are the peoples that live in the regions at either end of the Pyrénées — the Basques in the west (Atlantic Ocean side) and the Catalonians in the east (Mediterranean Sea side). Each of these two peoples have their own proud history, language, and cultural traditions. Our HPSO adventure includes visits to both of these unique regions that “bookend” the Pyrénées. We begin with a 5-night pre-tour to Catalonia (from Barcelona to Carcassonne) followed by our 13-night main tour to Basque Country (from Carcassonne to Bilbao).

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao Gaztelugatxe Jardins de Poterie, France



"West of the Rhine: From Reims to Lyon" - Eastern France
June 6-23, 2024
SORRY.  THIS TOUR IS NOW FILLED.  Contact us if you wish to be placed on the waiting list.

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   


"Japan’s Magical Gardens, Culture and More"
November 3-15, 2024
SORRY.  THIS TOUR IS NOW FILLED.  Contact us if you wish to be placed on the waiting list.

Japan has intrigued travelers for centuries but was closed to foreigners for much of its history. Gardens and horticulture have been exceptionally important to Japanese society. In addition to visiting gardens, we will also explore historical sites, culture, arts and more. November days are generally dry and the weather is usually ideal. Color from Japanese maples and ginkos are starting to show plus there are extraordinary chrysanthemum celebrations. Join us on this tour to the Land of the Rising Sun, magical and beautiful Japan.

Garden teahouse in Japan  Mt Fuji Chrysanthemum display in Japan Japan autumn color

"In the Land of the Silver Fern": A Grand Adventure to New Zealand"

October 21 - November 21, 2024
SORRY.  THIS IS TOUR IS NOW FILLED.  Contact us if you are interested on being on the waiting list

We explore the gardens and natural wonders of these two main islands of New Zealand - the North Island and the South Island. We will visit the very best private and public gardens. We’ll enjoy fabulous sights, geologic wonders, country towns, a Maori cultural performance, wine tours and tasting, and cruises on the Milford Sound, the Bay of Islands, and across the Cook Strait. We’ll do some shopping, see unfamiliar plants, make some new friends, enjoy the camaraderie of other gardeners, and meet the wonderful and friendly people of New Zealand. In short, we’ll experience the very best that New Zealand has to offer!  This will be HPSO's fourth complete adventure to New Zealand - one of our most popular tours.
  New Zealand tour New Zealand tour New Zealand tour



"Southwest England: Gardens & Highlights to Land's End":  A Quintessential tour of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, & Dorset for Gardeners"
May 6-8, 2025: Pre-tour to select Cotswold & Wales gardens
May 8-20, 2025: SW England tour
May 20-23, 2025: Post-tour to London & the Chelsea Flower Show
SORRY.  THIS TOUR IS NOW FILLED.  Due to the length of the waiting list, we are no longer accepting reservations.


[In planning] "Philadelphia: America's Garden Capitol"
May 12-18, 2025
Registration expected in August.


"Ulster: The Top of the Emerald Isle": The Gardens of Northern Ireland and northwest Ireland (& Dublin, too)
July 23 - Aug 4, 2025
SORRY.  THIS TOUR IS NOW FILLED.  Contact us if you wish to be placed on the waiting list.

This tour will begin in Dublin and then head up the east coast to Northern Ireland.  The tour includes some of the amazing world-class gardens such as Mount Stewart and Rowallane, and it also includes geologic and historic sites (plus a visit to the famous Bushmills Distillery).  We'll also visit numerous private gardens open only to groups by appointment.  After seeing Northern Ireland, we cross the border into northern Ireland (or the northwest part of the Republic of Ireland into County Donegal).  Here we find some fantastic coastal gardens warmed by the Gulf Stream.  Finally, we'll head back southeast to Dublin and visit some great gardens nearby.  The tour ends in Dublin.

Mount Stewart, Northern IrelandA white meconopsisDunluce CastleCastlewellan garden in Northern Ireland


In planning]  "Netherlands"
Aug 25 - Sept 5, 2025


[In planning]  "Along the St Lawrence River: Gardens & Highlights of Montreal & Quebec City"
Aug 28 - Sept 9, 2025 [Postponed to 2026 or ...]


[In planning] "Japan’s Magical Gardens, Culture and More"
November, 2025
Due to the popularity of the 2024 tour, the Japan tour is being offered again in 2025. 



[In planning]  "Chelsea Flower Show & the Cotswolds"
May, 2026


[In planning]  "France: Normandy & the Loire Valley"
June or Sept, 2026 


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.

2023 tours
Scotland,  Northern England,  Wales, Southeast Australia, Tasmania 

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

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