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 and Japan. New destinations - Denmark, Sweden, and Australia are in the works.

Closer to home, our U.S. tours have featured gardens in Washington and California. The Puget Sound Islands tour series has highlighted the gardens of Whidbey Island, Vashon Island, and Bainbridge Island.   Trips to the East Coast have also been popular. Recent destinations include New York City, the Hudson Valley, 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 members 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 earlybird registration privileges for HPSO tours. Contact the HPSO office to join and be on a travel-interest mailing list.


Tours announced and in planning for 2019


“Galicia: The Camellia Trail & the Douro Valley” (northern Portugal and northwest Spain)
March 8-17, 2019

SORRY. THIS TOUR IS NOW FILLED. Contact us if you would like to place your name on the wait list. 

The Galicia tour will explore Spain's undiscovered northwest corner plus Porto and the Douro Valley of Portugal.  Our journey is timed to coincide with Camellia season, for which the Galicia region is justly famous.  Many of our hotels are historic buildings and some are five-star hotels. With a mild climate, rugged coastal scenery, atmospheric towns, grandiose architecture, superb wines, gourmet cuisine and the most delightful, welcoming locals -  you'll wonder why you've never been to Galicia before.  This 9-night tour is expected to be March 8-17, 2019.


 "The East of England & the Thames River Valley"
July 4 - July 15, 2019

SORRY. THIS TOUR IS NOW FILLED.  Contact us if you would like more information.

Our Quint[essential] England for Gardeners series continues in another region with this tour - the East of England plus the Thames Valley. The East of England is one of nine official districts, comprising the counties of Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex. To these, we add Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Rutland, and a bit of Lincolnshire. In ancient times, this area was the most populous in England and, as such, it is a land filled with history. Today, it is mostly a rural landscape dotted with market towns, churches, and picturesque villages. It also has one of best areas for viewing wildlife.
Join us on this garden-intensive tour as we explore this wonderful part of England. We include visits to famous places such as Blenheim Palace (birthplace of Winston Churchill) and the Queen’s country residence of Sandringham House. We visit fabulous gardens such as Beth Chatto’s Garden and the Old Vicarage of East Ruston - a “bucket list” garden not to be missed! We enjoy lunch and bird watching while cruising on The Broads. We visit some of England’s prettiest villages and cathedrals. We include seaside hotel accommodations.   Our summer tour is the perfect time to visit gardens as we travel around the East of England and the Thames Valley. 

East of England tour  East of England tour East of England tour


 "Coast to Coast: The English Channel Islands & Brittany's Emerald Coast"
July 18 - July 31, 2019

SORRY. THIS TOUR IS NOW FILLED.   Contact us if you would like more information.

Grab your hat and sunglasses and join us on this garden-centric, island-hopping tour of the British islands of Wight, Guernsey, Herm, Sark, and Jersey, as well as a small French island, the Ile de Brehat. Before and after our island explorations, we’ll visit gardens on the two mainland coasts, particularly those on Brittany’s Emerald Coast! Not only will we see fine gardens, but our journey will include sites of cultural and historical interest, too.
With their mild maritime climate, the Channel Islands offer the ideal conditions for growing a wide palette of flowering vegetation - from Aeonium to Zauschneria. Our tour includes a wide array of gardens, both private and public, and a wide array of garden styles, from an English cottage garden to formal French chateaux.
For the visiting traveler, the Channel Islands are a justly popular destination offering sun- kissed beaches, delicious seafood, idyllic landscapes and fascinating history - a mix of both British and French influences. In its own right, Brittany’s Emerald Coast has some of the nicest gardens in France as well as quaint villages and fabulous food.   Please join us on this adventure to England’s summer playground! 

Coast to Coast tour Coast to Coast tour Coast to Coast tour Coast to Coast tour


 "Past as Prologue: The Gardens of Berlin, Potsdam & Surrounding Regions"
September 2-14, 2019  

Known for its tumultuous and often tragic history, and renowned as a center of education and culture, Berlin and its surrounding regions also possess a proud gardening tradition, with expensive Prussian palaces and gardens, some of Europe's earliest public parks, and the nurseries of pioneering horticulturists.  The region is now at the forefront of environmentally sensitive and sustainable gardening movements.  This13-day, 12-night tour takes members on a fascinating journey through a dynamic region, visiting public parks, private gardens and other beautiful and engrossing gardening and horticultural sites.  On display, too, are centuries of German history, and the tour includes visits to landmarks stretching from the Reformation through to the 21st Century.  Everywhere, tour members meet locals whose passion for gardening transcends the changes and challenges they have encountered.

Please check with Jim Rondone for space availability on this tour.     

Berlin tour Berlin tour Berlin tour


 "Springtime in New Zealand: A grand adventure to the gardens & natural wonders of the North & South Islands"
October 8 - November 2, 2019 

SORRY. THIS TOUR IS NOW FILLED.   Contact us if you would like more information or if you wish to be placed on the waiting list.

New Zealand is a land of stunning beauty and diversity.   With volcanic peaks and geothermal hot spots on the North Island to the uplifted "southern Alps" and glacial plains of the South Island, it is filled with contrasts.  From tip to tip, New Zealand is roughly the length of Portland to southern California, having a similar range of climates but in "reverse" since it lies in the southern hemisphere.  The northern tip enjoys a definite subtropical climate (similar to San Diego) while the extreme southern end is a much cooler temperate one (with alpine areas, too).  With all of this diversity comes a wide range of garden styles featuring a wide range of plants - both native and exotic!
Join us on one or both of our tours as we explore the gardens and natural wonders of these two main islands of New Zealand - the North Island and the South Island.  Included in our visit are the very best private and public gardens.  We'll also 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.  It will be a grand adventure in New Zealand in the springtime!

New Zealand tourNew Zealand tourNew Zealand tourNew Zealand tour

 


Tours in Planning for 2020 and beyond

"A Nordic Adventure: Gardens & Castles of Denmark and southern Sweden"
May 26 - June 7, 2020

SORRY. THIS TOUR IS NOW FILLED.   Contact us if you would like more information or if you wish to be placed on the waiting list.

Embark with HPSO on a new adventure to two nations often cited as the happiest in the world. Our tour begins in Copenhagen and ends in Stockholm. We explore gardens and sites of interest on two of Denmark’s main islands, Zealand and Funen, before we cross the Øresund straight into Skåne, a former part of Denmark that became Sweden’s most southern province by the treaty of Roskilde in 1658. After we enjoy Skåne, we travel along the west coast of Sweden, including the cities of Helsingborg and Gothenburg, before we take a scenic train journey across the country to Stockholm, the capital city. 

The Atlantic Gulf Stream provides northern Denmark and southwestern Sweden with a fairly mild climate, allowing beautiful gardens to thrive. Included on our tour are visits to the best private and public gardens in this region plus Tivoli Gardens and the Malmo Flower Festival which is held just every two years. Also included are visits to palaces, castles, historical sites, and various museums such as the Vasa Museum, the Viking Ship Museum, Hans Christian Andersen Museum, and the ABBA Museum. We might even see the changing of the guard at The Royal Palace in Stockholm and see other festivities on Sweden’s National Day, June 6th! Join the fun on this comprehensive and fabulous tour as we follow in the footsteps of Nordic royalty.

 Copenhagen   Denmark Flag-Ship   Swedish garden

 

 

[In Planning]  "A Tale of Two Cities: Gardens of London & Paris"
May 2020

 

Southern France: "The Mystical Land of the Dordogne, of Carcassonne, & Picture-book Provence"
June 14-27, 2020

SORRY. THIS TOUR IS NOW FILLED.   Contact us if you would like more information or if you wish to be placed on the waiting list.

Join HPSO on a new adventure to some of southern France’s most extraordinary regions. In the Dordogne river valley, in Languedoc- Roussillon, and in Provence, humans have left their mark over the ages — from cave paintings in the Paleolithic age — to aqueducts and amphitheaters in the Roman period — to castles and fortified towns in the Hundred Years War — and now to beautiful gardens created in our modern era! This special part of France has all of these things plus a countryside full of world-class vineyards, picturesque villages and chateaux, and a stunning coastline. Our two-week tour begins in the heart of Aquitane in the vibrant city of Bordeaux (one night) and ends near Marseille in Aix-en-provence (two nights). Along the way, we’ll stay four nights in the heart of Dordogne (in Sarlat), then two nights each in Toulouse, Montpellier and Fontvieille. Our tour includes visits to private and public gardens, the Lascaux caves, troglodyte cliff-dwellings, chateaux, medieval towns (including Carcassonne), wineries, and afternoon cruises on the Dordogne river and the Mediterranean’s La Calanques on the southern coast! Join us on this fabulous adventure of this mystical and picture-book area of France.

Aix-en-Provence market day  Hautefort, France  southern France - La Roque Gagaec

[In Planning]  Ireland: "Gardens of the Emerald Isle"
August 2020

[In Planning] "Australia: Brisbane, Sydney & Melbourne"
Sept/Oct 2021

 


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.

2018 tours
Seattle,  Sicily,  Southern Italy,  Bainbridge Island (Washingont),  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

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