My Tours

Loraine and Steve Whysall in Matera on their 2015 Italy Garden Tour

COME ON A FUN TOUR

Tours for 2018

We normally offer two tours a year - one in spring, around April-May time, and one in fall, around September and October. Next year, we are looking at a spring tour to India, visiting spectacular Mogul gardens and other key sites and destinations.  London and the Chelsea Flower Show is always popular, so I am also looking at a shorter tour there in May. 

Advance list

Demand is always intense for these tours. They often sell out very quickly within a few days.

If you're keen to travel with us, the best way to guarantee a place on a tour is to put your name on our advance notification list by emailing Loraine at lwhysall@shaw.ca

Then you will be the first to know about tours and booking times. 

Seattle Show

Seattle's exciting Northwest Flower and Garden Show, the second biggest gardening event of its kind in North America, is always popular with B.C. gardeners. I have been going to it every year since it started. Next February, I plan for the first time to take a bus tour to the show. Space will be limited, so we are already taking names. 

Take a look at some of our previous tours

A history of great tours

My first garden tour was a cruise in 2010 out of Rome and around Italy, stopping on the way to visit Florence, Portofino, Sicily, Venice and Dubrovnik.
From Rome, we visited Villa d’Este in Tivoli and in Florence we went to the Boboli Garden and from Venice we went out to Padua to see the world’s oldest botanical garden.

It was a fun tour, but I was disappointed that we kept stepping in and out of Italy.
From that point on, I decided land tours were the only kind I was interested in doing because you are always totally immersed in the culture of the country you are visiting.
The next year, I lead a tour to England’s West Country, finishing off with the Chelsea Flower Show. It was a big success.
The following year, we did two back-to-back tours to France, starting out from Paris and going to the Loire Valley.
With Mike Nelhams, director of Tresco Abbey Garden in the Sicily Isles, in 2016.
In 2011, I designed a tour of the Italian Lakes and the Dolomites. In 2012, we went to Holland, Belgium, England and Scotland. And then to South Africa.
Since then I have done 12 more tours, including ones of Brazil, Japan, China, Myanmar, Philadelphia, Spain and Morocco, and a few more to France, England and Italy for a total of 20.
This spring, I am leading two back to back tours to England’s Lake District, North Wales, Ireland and the Chelsea Flower Show and in the fall another tour to South Africa to visit the Namaqualand where the landscape should be a carpet of brightly coloured wild flowers. By the end of 2017, I should have lead a total of 22 garden tours.
What do people like about them so much?
Well, I always like to say that from start to finish it is a wonderful party with friends. We laugh. We share stories. We have endless dinner parties and lunches together.
View of the lake at Stourhead Garden in Wiltshire
We visit some spectacular gardens and amazing historical and culturally significant destinations as well as discover art, architecture and special cuisines and wines. It is always an unforgettable experience.
I have a professional gold-star guide with me all the way to help oversee details such as hotel rooms and dinner reservations as well as tracking down any lost souls.
On the "bowling green" at Villa Gamberaia in Settignano, Italy
And I make every effort to make sure no one is left out of the party and that everyone is included in the fun at all times. It works. But you have to experience it to see how wonderful it can be. Many people have come back time and time again. Some people have been with us on several tours; they like it so much and, of course, they have made friends and then friends end up bringing more friends.
We have had numerous moms-and-daughters, sisters, life-long buddies and, of course, many couples as well as singles who never feel like they are on their own.
Apart from watching over the whole group to ensure everyone is safe and happy and having a good time, I tell stories about the gardens and the places we are going and many other things. Loraine listens very carefully to everyone and makes sure their vacation is the best it can be.
I always tell people when they come on a tour that it is important that they come with an open heart and open mind and a willingness to be surprised and thrilled by the unexpected. That is how we have had so many unforgettable moments.

swhysall@hotmail.com