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 planned for 2021 & beyond


"A Nordic Adventure: Gardens & Castles of Denmark and southern Sweden"
May 25 - June 6, 2021 

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

 

Southern France: "The Mystical Land of the Dordogne, of Carcassonne, & Picture-book Provence"
June 9-22, 2021 

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

Ireland: "Gardens of the Emerald Isle"
July 26 - August 5, 2021

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 us on this 11-day / 10-night tour visiting exceptional gardens in green and mystical Ireland. Starting in Ennis in the west and continuing through eight counties on our way to Dublin, we meet accomplished Irish gardeners on their home ground, tour sights of historical and cultural significance, stop in quaint seaside towns, and enjoy the company of other gardeners during this exciting adventure in the Emerald Isle. All hotel accommodations are rated four stars.

 

2022

[In Planning]  Gardens of Santa Barbara, California
March or April, 2022

 

In the Heart of Tuscany: A Garden & Gastronomic Holiday
May 4-13, 2022

SORRY.  THIS TOUR IS NOW FILLED.  Contact us if you wish to be placed on the waiting list.

Our HPSO tour commences in Florence or “Firenze” and concludes in Lucca. En route we’ll travel through the Chiante region, the Val d’Orcia with its fortified hilltop towns, to Sienna, and we’ll include a side trip to Assisi and Deruta (in Umbria). We’ll visit some of the best Italian villas and gardens, museums, wineries, and enjoy a cooking demonstration as well as a tour of a local chocolate factory!
Join the fun on this 10- day (9-night) fabulous and comprehensive tour - a garden and gastronomic Tuscan holiday.

Florence La Foce garden in Tuscany Art in Tuscany Iris in Tuscany

 

A Garden Sojourn Across Northern Italy: From Liguria to Veneto

May 13-23, 2022

SORRY.  THIS TOUR IS NOW FILLED.  Contact us if you wish to be placed on the waiting list.

Join the fun on this 11-day (10-night) sojourn across northern Italy. We begin our tour in Liguria, the Italian Riviera, on the Mediterranean coast. Next, we travel into Piedmont, known for its incredible wine, food, and the home for Italy’s finest chocolatiers - no doubt influenced, in part, from past French dominance. We then cross over into Lombardy, now sensing a melding of some Austrian-Germanic influences which get even stronger as we venture north into Trentino. We end up in Venice with its own unique twist on everything Italian.
Our tour includes fabulous gardens, food and wine adventures, villa and castle excursions, and visits to Italy’s greatest lakes - Lake Maggiore, Lake Como, and Lake Garda. Join us as we make our garden sojourn across northern Italy!

Isola Bella at Lake Maggiore, Italy  Garden near Bellagio, Lake Como Venice - Grand Canal

 

[In Planning]  "A Tale of Two Cities: Gardens of London & Paris"
May 23 - June 4, 2022

 

Magical Slovenia & Croatia: Alps, Archeology, Architecture, & Adventure
May 23 - June 8, 2022

SORRY.  THIS TOUR IS NOW FILLED.  Contact us if you wish to be placed on the waiting list.

The area surrounding the northern Adriatic Sea is one of the most diverse regions in the Mediterranean - from coastal marshes and plains near Venice to the Julian Alps in Slovenia to the myriad of islands and fjord-like coast of Croatia. This is a land of contrasts. But, the diversity doesn’t end with geology. This region has had centuries of different cultures, religions, and civilizations converging, sometimes merging to create something new while other times ending in brutal conflict. It is a beautiful area, too - often referred to as the eastern riviera!
Our 17-day (16-night) adventure begins in Venice (Italy), then explores the highlights of Slovenia before moving down the rugged Croatian coastline and ending in Dubrovnik. While not a garden-heavy tour, our dates are timed to encounter the best of the wildflower bloom in the region, including a botanical hike near Lake Bohinj during the annual Slovenia Wildflower Festival.  We will see Alpine lakes (including famous Lake Bled), cosmopolitan cities and museums, castles, caves, Roman ruins and antiquities, wineries, medieval hilltop towns, ancient churches and cathedrals, national parks, and coastal resorts!  We will experience the magic and diversity of this northern Adriatic region on our HPSO adventure. Please join us!

Lake Bled, Slovenia Dubrovnik harbor Wildflowers in Slovenia

 

[In Planning]  Springtime Garden Adventures in New Zealand
October 20-24, 2022
[Pre-tour: Northland]  October 24 - November 4, 2022 [North Island tour], November 4-17, 2022 [South Island tour]

Join us on one or both of our tours plus the pre-tour as 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 third complete adventure to New Zealand - one of our most popular tours.

  New Zealand tour New Zealand tour New Zealand tour

 

2023

[In Planning]  Gardens of Scotland: From the Border to the Highlands
May 25 - June 9, 2023

[In Planning]  Northern England: The Borders, The Lake District, and Yorkshire gardens
June 10-23, 2023

[In Planning]  Wales
June 23-July 4, 2023

[In Planning]  Australia: Sydney & the Blue Mountains plus Melbourne & Victoria State
October 24 - November 10
(Australia mainland tour)

[In Planning]  Australia: Tasmania
November 11-20
(following the Australia mainland tour)

 


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.

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