Whether you book to go abroad or stay in the UK, a winter getaway can lift your spirits.
And by taking in an exotic garden during your winter holiday you can stimulate ideas for your own spring and summer planting.
A quick browse on the internet shows that there are plenty of companies specialising in garden holidays, both in the UK and abroad.
A report in The Telegraph described award-winning holiday group, APT Touring’s 20-day Rockies Explorer & Alaska Cruise. The luxury trip not only uses land, train and ocean to take in these sights, but also includes a visit to the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island, a National History Site of Canada and one of the world’s premier floral show gardens.
The 55 acres of public gardens are supported by 26 greenhouses covering almost two acres. They grow over 1,000,000 bedding plants in some 700 varieties to ensure year-round blooms and are visited by close to a million people each year. For details of the holiday, see http://www.aptouring.co.uk/canada2013.
HF Holidays (www.hfholidays.co.uk/activities/exploring-garden-tours) organise short breaks of 3-7 days’ duration. They employ expert guides to show you around public and private gardens across England, Scotland and Wales and also include trips to France and Italy.
Brightwater Holidays are specialists in coach tours to gardens within the British Isles and on longer overseas holidays to destinations such as the Dutch bulb fields and on to exotic faraway lands like South Africa, Japan and Costa Rica. See their holidays at www.brightwaterholidays.com.
If you’re struggling to decide between the UK and the continent, try the half-way house of the Scilly Isles. They have a much milder climate than the mainland and rarely experience frosts.
Tresco, the second largest of the islands, offers the sub-tropical Abbey Garden which is host thousands of exotic plants. Even in the peak of winter more than 300 plants will be in flower. See www.tresco.co.uk/what-to-do/abbey-garden.
So if flora exotica appeal to you this winter – or even Christmas – take a leisurely browse through the websites and ‘pick your own’ holiday.
Happy holiday hunting!