If you are interested in gardening, and want a holiday that is active without being
exhausting, why not try one of the horticulture holidays that are now on offer from
many of the different tour operators. These holidays can be an excellent opportunity
to experience the challenges of gardening in completely different climates and soils,
as well as working with new and exotic plants and pests!
Some horticulture holidays take in scenic tours of regional gardens and parks, such
as group tours of beautiful gardens of Giverny in France, including the famous
garden of impressionist artist Claude Monet, and the contemporary ‘Chateau de
Miserey’ garden, which features highly original planting themes of heaven, purgatory
and hell, and is open from April through to November. Other holidays can be aimed
at study and research on specific species of plants such as orchids or roses, or even
the many different varieties of salt and fresh water plants.
There are also lots of horticulture holidays that focus on conserving natural
surroundings, and an excellent way to spend your holiday and help out the
environment is to volunteer at one of the wildlife charities, such as the Royal Society
for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), who rely on volunteers to help with preservation
work on any of their 150 conservation areas and nature reserve, or if you fancy
something more exotic you could try volunteering on projects such as helping to
monitor elephant behavior on the Tsavo nature reserve in Nairobi, Kenya through
If you are interested in exotic plants and climates then you might enjoy a trip to the
Bahamas, which has some beautiful gardens and plant exhibitions such as the
wonderful ‘Orchid World’ or the beautiful tropical ‘Flower Forest’, which was created
in the 1980’s and shows a huge variety of plants in a natural setting, each labeled so
that visitors can see what they are, and their country of origin.
If you are a keen gardener you may be looking for some new and different plants for
your own garden whilst you are away, and one of the best places to try is Holland,
which has hundreds of specialist nurseries that can give you hours of enjoyable
browsing time, and sell all sorts of plants from olive trees to exotic orchids.
Some nurseries will only deal with wholesale customers, so it is worth checking
before you turn up. Favorites nurseries for individual buyers includes Esveld
(www.esveld.net), and you could also check out some of the larger garden centers in
Holland, which are bursting with excellent value plants and gardening equipment.
Belgium is another country renowned for its good value, good quality plant, trees and
cut flowers, and the Sunday morning markets in the larger towns such as Ghent,
Liege and Malmedy are full of bargains.
If you are buying from within the EU, you can transport a great variety of plants
between EU countries without any problem, but plants and trees that are known for
communicable disease such as rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias are
prohibited. If you are buying in the USA and returning to the EU a wider range of
plants are prohibited, so you must be careful about what you buy and double check
with the DEFRA website or similar,before you leave (www.defra.gov.uk). You must also check
with your airline as to exactly what you can take onboard, as most plants must be
stored in the hold, and the low temperatures here could damage them over long
flights. If you are on a plant buying trip and traveling by air, try to arrange transport
for your plants separately by boat, as this makes it easier to buy larger plants and also
larger quantities of different plants.
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