It is summer travel season and it is also the time when many gardens are at their peak prettiness. I am just arriving back from my summer holiday, but if you are headed out, consider seeking out gardens as travel destinations. There is nothing like immersing yourself in place through a literal change in the flora and fauna.
When I am in a new city, I find that the gardens give me a great sense of not only the climate and region but also the people. Public gardens are full of people who are relaxed and open and if you can manage a garden tour you will likely have an opportunity to meet the homeowner you may even make a new travel friend.
I have been writing about inspiring garden destinations on studio 'g' for a couple of years now and there is a rather large backlog of destinations that you might want to check out as you make summer travel plans. But when I plan a trip, I always check a few other sites to make sure I am in the know as far as gardens go.
Alices Travel Garden Buzz is full of pictures, details, and ideas from Alice who travels the world of gardens and good life and documents every adventure.
Garden Visit is the smartest and most comprehensive garden travel site I know of. It is well organized by country (it covers the whole world) and also it provides reviews and history of each garden destination.
Some of the best gardens are not often open for touring, but if you visit the The Garden Conservancy's website, you can find out when their open days are scheduled. Most every garden that they take into their program is extraordinary for some reason or another and it is generally privately owned and not opened except for in support of this garden preservation group.
If you happen to be traveling in England, make sure to consult the Yellow Book (available in British book stores or libraries) created by the National Garden Scheme (NGS). Published annually, the NGS coordinates a program whereby private gardens are opened by their owners and the yellow book is the master list of which gardens are open on which days. The fact that it is roughly the thickness of an old fashioned American Yellow Book gives you a sense of the huge popularity of the program. Most gardens charge an admission and the proceeds are given to named charity by the homeowner.
And finally, when you have a destination in mind, make sure you google 'garden tour' and your town, or when you arrive, check in with local Botanical Gardens, Garden Clubs, and even signs in local coffee shops or news boards. If you can learn of a locally sponsored garden tour you are likely to see something really special and get a good sense of the community that you are visiting.
Even though I am traveling home today, I have already started plotting my next adventure. This one, will be to Cougar Annies Garden in British Columbia, Canada (the picture above indicates the only route for arriving at this remote place -- sea plane). It is a wild and rustic garden that was created about 100 years ago by a pioneer woman (Annie) with 11 children. She regularly dispatched husbands and cougars who threatened their existence and ran a mail order plant shop from this remote island garden. I can't wait!
Where is your next adventure going to take you?