2013 Garden Trips with George
January 15th, 2013
So many great gardens to see… and you’re invited to chip away at a new crop of them with my wife, Sue, and me this year.
The lineup starts with our annual jaunts to the Philadelphia International Flower Show, which this year will highlight gardening in the United Kingdom.
We’re running four Philly show trips again this year through Lowee’s Group Tours of Harrisburg – Mon., March 4; Wed., March 6; Thur., March 7, and Fri., March 8. We leave later in the morning to get there after the opening rush subsides and stay until 7 p.m. so you can take advantage of the late-day thinning crowds.
The best thing about seeing the show by bus is that you don’t have to deal with turnpike tolls, Schuylkill Expressway traffic and parking hassles. You just get dropped off at the door and then enjoy the show. I’ll give you insider show-seeing tips and other gardening tips on the way down.
These fill up fast, so call Lowee’s at 717-657-9658 or 800-345-6933 to sign up. The cost (including show ticket) is $79 – same as last year. (Here’s a list of all of upcoming trips and talks.)
The “big trip” for 2013 is a 14-day gardener vacation to northern England and Scotland from July 13 through July 26.
I figured if you liked what you saw at the Philly Show, this will give you a chance to see the real thing. The British have a reputation for being the world’s best gardeners, and I can’t argue with that.
The July trip starts with visits to such English gardens as Castle Howard, Newby Hall, Harlow Carr and Holehird and then takes us to the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Dunrobin Castle, Edinburgh Botanic Garden and more in Scotland.
We’re not doing just gardens, though. A few “touristy” attractions on the agenda are Britain’s largest cathedral, the homes of Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth, tours of Theakston Brewery and the Glengoyne Distillery, a cruise on Loch Lomand, a tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia, several castle tours and a stop at a Scottish kiltmaker.
The cost is $4,480, which includes airfare, three- and four-star hotels, 10 dinners, tour guides, in-country transportation and admissions to the gardens and attractions.
The third really cool trip I wanted to tell you about is a 4-day, 3-night trip to see seven great gardens in Ohio, with a stop at Pittsburgh’s excellent Phipps Conservatory on the way home.
This one happens June 27 to 30. We’re cramming a lot into this trip, which is primarily in and around Columbus (including an afternoon at the Columbus Zoo, one of the nation’s best).
Columbus has the best Community Garden I’ve ever seen. It’s big, new, diverse and impressive, and is located next to Columbus’s Franklin Park Conservatory and gardens. We’ll see all of it. On the way out to Columbus, we’ll see the hillside conifer grove at Mission Oaks in Zanesville and tour Dawes Arboretum and its peaceful Japanese garden.
While in Columbus, we’ll also see Ohio State University’s Chadwick Arboretum, the 121-acre Inniswood Metro Garden and a “topiary park” with plants carved to re-create a Victorian painting. I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else.
Lowee’s Group Tours is running this one, and the cost is $575 per person, including hotels, seven meals and all admissions. To sign up, call Lowee’s at 717-657-9658 or 800-345-6933.
Our other Lowee’s overnighter for 2013 is a trip to Asheville, N.C., to see the Biltmore Estate at Christmas. It will run Dec. 2-4 (3 days, 2 nights).
This Vanderbilt mansion has been called “America’s greatest house,” and we’ll get a tour featuring insider information on how the staff decorates this place for the holidays. We’ll also see the National Gingerbread House Competition while there and stop at the 65-acre North Carolina Arboretum (noted for its bonsai collection) on the way home. The cost is $499.
The remaining venues are all bus day trips:
* The Penn State Arboretum and two Bellefonte bed-and-breakfast gardens on Aug. 8.
* Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and the University of Virginia’s historic Morven Gardens on Sept. 13.
* The fall foliage at two of the Philadelphia area’s top arboreta – Tyler and Jenkins – on Oct. 25.
* And that annual favorite, a day at Winterthur and Longwood Gardens, both decorated and lit for the holidays on Dec. 13.
Call Lowee’s to reserve seats or to get more information on any of those.
We give away prizes on all trips (including $25 Stauffers of Kissel Hill gift cards), and I’ll talk your ear off about gardening to help make the bus time go faster (or longer if you’re bored by plants).