Garden holidays

√ Watch/Do-Play √ Culture √ Climate

garden holidays

Gardening is enjoyed by millions of people throughout the world – for pleasure, and also as a livelihood.   Gardens are not just about flowers, and there is an incredible array of different types of garden holidays available.


Fascinating gardens can be found across all continents – Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe and Australia.

The features of such gardens are varied, from lush tropical and sub-tropical jungles in Africa and South America, to arid deserts in Asia, North America and Australia, unique flora in the Himalayan Mountains of South Asia, to manicured and meticulously designed floral and topiary gardens across Europe.


If you would like to pick and choose a holiday where you can either just admire the view or get more involved, where there are a wide variety of places with different weather conditions to narrow down your options, where you can immerse yourself in different cultural experiences along the way, and where you can meet as many (or as few) people during the trip, then a garden holiday could be the perfect choice.

Garden holidays are likely to appeal to people with an interest in admiring plants and flowers in their natural settings, as well as watching expert staff and volunteers at work.   If you have ever visited a Royal Horticultural Society or National Trust property in the UK then you will probably have had the opportunity to find out a bit about what this involves.   You might even be inspired to become a volunteer yourself, where you can learn from the experience of others and maybe acquire new skills or another hobby.   If you have a preference for a certain type of climate, then you can tailor your garden holiday to the surroundings that suit you.   For example, a visit to the AmazonRain Forest in Brazil will not be short of high rainfall, up to 2,000 millimetres a year with average temperatures of 18 degrees Celsius every month. On the other hand, a visit to the Mediterranean Basin covering Spain, Italy and Turkey in Europe will be accompanied by hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.   Depending on your choice of garden destination you can also immerse yourself in different cultures, from densely populated and bustling metropolises like New York and Los Angeles in North America, to sparsely populated islands like the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.


You can take a garden holiday throughout the year.

If you don’t mind wet but mild weather, then South America is a good choice.   However, monsoon season in African countries like Kenya may not be your idea of the best weather conditions, if so avoid April and May when rainfall is at its highest levels.   If you prefer hot and dry conditions, then a visit to the Mediterranean gardens of Italy is recommended.   For very hot summers and very cold winters (40 degrees Celsius in summer and -40 degrees Celsius in winter), you should consider the steppes of Russia and Central Asia, as well as Turkey, Hungary, Central North America and Canada.


For most garden holidays no special equipment is needed, though you may need a pair of sturdy walking shoes, and a waterproof jacket with layers of clothes.   For the more intrepid traveller, additional gear might be needed, especially if you are likely to be climbing to secure the best vista, or camping under the stars.   Bear in mind also that some gardens are exposed to extreme temperatures at certain times of the year.   You might for example need a good drinking water supply, sun hat and cream in the Arizona Desert, or insect repellent in the Amazon.


In North America, the DesertBotanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona has for more than 70 years been teaching and inspiring visitors from the local community and around the world, providing research, exhibits and more to help visitors understand, protect and preserve the desert’s natural beauty. Today, the Garden features 145 acres, 65 acres under cultivation, 50,000+ plant displays showcased in beautiful outdoor exhibits, 1 of only 44 botanical gardens accredited by the American Association of Museums, 1,140 volunteers, 82,740 volunteer hours, 104 staff members, 640,529 attendees each year, 26,065 member households and 46,158 school children on guided field trips.

The Ji Chang Yuan garden in Chinawas originally a 16th-century garden in Jiangsu province also known as the Garden of Ecstasy – which promises much and also delivers. This is a garden of illusion, occupying barely an acre but giving an impression of depth, breadth and height. An artificial mountain in distinctive yellow rock appears to be a natural part of the hilly landscape surrounding the garden, and a decorous “musical” stream gurgles down it into a long pool, its many inlets creating a feeling of naturalism. A beautiful low-eaved pavilion extends over the water at one point, while the far end of the pool is dignified by the Bridge of Seven Stars. Beyond this the garden dissolves into more compartments with pavilions and allées. The fact that the garden was comprehensively restored in the 19th century does not alter the fact of its beauty.


A garden holiday to Phoenix, Arizona, in North America will cost from around £1,000 per person for one week, which will include return economy class flights, a double/twin room in a three star hotel, car hire and tickets to enter a selection of gardens.   It is possible to spend longer in more luxurious accommodation, so for people wanting to splash out a budget of at least £2,000 per person is suggested.


Famous people whose primary profession was not gardening who have made notable contribututions to horticulture by planning or commissioning significant gardens include: Michael Heseltine, 20th century British politician and noted arboriculturalist; Thomas Jefferson, 19th century American president, recognized for planning the grounds of the University of Virginia; Lucullus, 1st century BC Roman general, noted for laying out the Gardens of Lucullus; Vita Sackville-West, English author, gardening columnist, creator of Sissinghurst Castle Garden in Kent, and William Shenstone, 18th century English poet, one of the earliest practitioners of landscape gardening through the development of his estate, The Leasowes.

Link to Other Things To Know (Passports, Visas, Health, Security) 

It is possible to take a garden holiday to several areas of the world without any special passport, visa, health or security considerations.   However, if you are thinking of visiting a country in places like Central Asia then you will need to bear in mind the time it takes to obtain a Visa for travel and also issues surrounding the exchange of currency.   You should also take account of the cultural differences you will need to observe.   Likewise, if you visit a hot and humid area like South America, parts of Asia and the Indian Ocean, you should carefully check if you need vaccinations before you travel as biting insects could be a possibility.   There are also some areas which are famous for flora but perhaps not considered as safe as the UK and most of Europe, so you should also verify whether there are any security concerns which will have an impact on whether you can visit those countries, and also whether you can obtain insurance.

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