July 2005 rose garden tour in England

CAPEROSE(z7AMACapeCod)March 11, 2004

Hi!

I am interested in visting the English countryside in July 2005 mainly to view rose gardens. I am a bit overwhelmed with all the beautiful gardens I am finding online. Can anyone tell me their experiences and gardens that are "must be seen". I would like to be in England 10-14 days, perhaps staying in B&B's. Would I be better off booking a tour or doing this on my own? Had thoughts of bringing members of our local rose society. Any ideas??

caperose

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gardengull(z6B RI)

Hi Caperose-
Ooooh, your question brings back great memories of our trips. Your choices are overwhelming... Here are some points to ponder. Sorry, if I restate the obvious.

Do you want to see formal gardens, cottage gardens, or smaller private gardens, or a mix? Do historic houses w/gardens interest you? You need to decide in order to refine your focus.

Enrollment in National Trust, Royal Hort Society, etc. qualifies you for free admission to their properties. Saved us a bundle. Also check out the "Yellow Book" (charitable garden schemes) which specifies dates that private gardens can be visited. All info on net.

There is a 1992 book on "rose gardens to visit in England" - probably out of print but available in your state-wide library system. Sorry, forget title and author.

The number one mistake US folks make is overbooking too many places to visit and too frequent a lodging change. Too many of us return home exhausted and it doesnt need to be that way.

When you evaluate travel miles, 50 country road miles there can take 2 hrs by car, not the 1 hr here. We've had a blast using public transport and an occasional day guide there (for isolated areas) and have found it very rewarding. Another idea: day coach tours run daily from the larger cities and are reasonable. Oh yeah, when I have emailed the rail and coach authorities for clarification, their responses are accurate and timely - love those people - the US transport system could learn from them, they arent perfect but they sure are helpful.

Independent travel is very easy if you enjoy research and planning. We did and wow, the small as well as the formal gardens we saw - memories to last a lifetime. Garden tour companies didnt fit our taste as we like to set our own pace. Example, one private garden on an island is open a few weeks a year and we stayed 5 hrs there, some plants bloomed for the first time in 25 years! A tour company moved on after 2.5 hrs and we would have missed the many details that sunny day, including our picnic at water's edge.

On the other hand, tour companies take the worry out of planning, etc so many people prefer this type of trip. Again, there is no wrong or right, you just need to know what suits you best. Make sure that you ask for the daily itinerary to check out the time per garden. Some tour companies devote more on meals/giftshop versus the gardens and that works for many people. Tour companies also tend to frequent more populated places and they can be very crowded in summer and holidays.

Travel time - make sure that you dont overplan your trip and need to hurry from place to place. A distance of 50 miles there could take you 2 hrs, depending on the roads.

Let's hope the exchange rate improves and don't forget Wales and Scotland, lovely gardens there too!

English Grammy's Gardengull

    Bookmark   March 18, 2004 at 3:52PM
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treacle(Z6 NY)

I have visited many gardens in England, Wales and Scotland. I love roses too and found late June to be the best as I have visited several times. Mottisfont, Sissinghurst, Hidcote, Kifstgate and Sudley Castle were highlights for me but there are gardens everywhere and many good books available to tell you where they are.

I drove all over the UK in search of gardens and visited many beautiful places.

One issue is the price of fuel, I did my tour 8 and 9 years ago when the cost of petrol (gasoline to Americans) was 70 pence a litre (which is about a quart). Now I understand it is about L 1.60 which is over $11 a gallon at todays exchange rate. This could change by next year but the thought of putting $100 to fill up a tank really scares me.

I will try to post more soon but right now I am trying to plan my summer garden trip to France.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2004 at 1:00AM
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geoffhandley(Shropshire, UK)

The price of petrol is now over 80p/litre and likely to rise still further. However remember that most European cars are much more economical than US cars. Expect at least 30mpg on a good run.. Diesels are getting popular and I get over 40mpg and I don't generally hang about!
I don't necessarily agree with the comment on speed. Traffic in towns and cities is slow but in the rural areas we can usually average about 50mph. Mind you I( have heard that some americans are surprised at the speed with which we drive round our narrow curvey roads!
If you want to see the real England you ought to try and get out of the South east which is overcrowded and overpriced. The North(Yorkshire, Cumbria), the midlands and South West have much to offer but many Americans rarely get beyond areas close to London, OXford, Stratford etc.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2004 at 7:11AM
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Kandy_Australia(NSW Aust)

See my posting on Sissinghurst Garden Tours. No doubt they will be planning some more garden tours tours for 2005! I can recommend them highly!

Here is a link that might be useful: Wonderful English Garden Tours

    Bookmark   July 27, 2004 at 6:47AM
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