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Butchart Gardens
Gardens of Eden
01.09.12

Whether you’re an avid gardener or just like to stop and smell the roses, here are resources to help you find some outstanding gardens near your next destination.

Garden Tours

Garden enthusiasts should consider participating in specialized garden tours that travel to specific countries or regions. You’ll get to travel with a dedicated guide—usually an expert in horticulture or garden history—and a group that shares your interest. Get to know people, learn about design, discover ideas for your own garden and be inspired. To find these tours:

  • Type the name of country/city + “garden tours” into your search engine and be amazed at the options
  • Check horticultural and conservancy websites like www.rhs.org.uk (England) and www.gardenconservancy.org (United States)
  • Local garden clubs and plant societies often tour private gardens
  • Garden Magazines

Festivals & Garden Shows

Spring brings a tide of special floral and garden exhibits, like the amazing Chelsea Flower Show in England held annually in May. These are bountiful showcases in floral, garden and outdoor living, and can include speakers, demonstrations and classes. Wherever you may be traveling, look for special floral happenings at/on any of the following:

Two Birds with One Stone

If you don’t have a garden enthusiast traveling with you, all is not lost. Castles, palaces, estates and manor houses usually include fantastic gardens that are often included in the entry price. That means there is something of interest for history and architecture buffs and plenty to take in for garden admirers. Plan your itinerary with this in mind. The following websites provide park and garden information for the countries listed:
France: www.jardinez.com/
Germany: www.germany.travel/
Italy: www.grandigiardini.it/
Ireland: www.castlesgardensireland.com/
U.K.: www.parksandgardens.ac.uk/

Go Public

City parks and gardens let you enjoy the outdoors and take a break from the city and endless sightseeing jaunts—although many parks make excellent sightseeing points of their own. Great places for kids to roam, parks are also ideal for people watching and observing local culture. Walking also brings pleasant surprises. Small parks tucked into city neighborhoods are often hidden gems. City parks offer one further perk, they’re free! The following are some of the greats:

  • Amsterdam – Vondelpark
  • Beijing – Beihei Park
  • London - Hampstead Heath; Hyde Park; St. James Park
  • Los Angeles – Griffith Park
  • Madrid – Retiro Park
  • Munich – English Garden
  • New York – Central Park
  • Paris – Jardin de Luxembourg, Jardin des Tuileries
  • Rome – Villa Borghese, Villa Doria Pamphili
  • Vancouver, Canada – Stanley Park
  • Vienna - Stadtpark

Sleepover with Gardens

What better way to travel than to wake up with a garden outside your door? Choose accommodation to lift your spring spirit and look forward to more than just a room. Small hotels, quaint bed and breakfasts, elegant country manor houses, Italian villas, traditional Japanese ryokans and Spanish inns often have wonderful private gardens and rooms with a view, not to mention a more intimate setting. Seek garden-friendly accommodations in travel books, magazines and websites like Alistair Sawday’s British B & B Guide for Garden Lovers is the perfect companion to green thumbs on the road in Great Britain.

U.S. Customs & Airport Security

As much as you might like to bring a piece of garden home from abroad, it’s simpler to take notes (or photos) and purchase your must-have upon return. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Plants, cuttings and seeds that are capable of propagation; unprocessed plant products; and certain endangered species require import permits and other documents
  • Some plants are prohibited entirely
  • Threatened or endangered species that are permitted must also have export permits from the country of origin
  • Soil is prohibited entry unless accompanied by an import permit. Soil must be declared and the permit must be verified
  • If you purchase any garden tools or equipment, be sure to pack them in your checked bags and not your carry-on

For more information on permits, visit the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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