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NC State Extension

2021 – NC State Extension Gardener Travel Study Adventure to England

Including the Chelsea Flower Show
May 13–22, 2021

Devon and Cornwall

$4,285 per person based on double occupancy
+ $775 single supplement

Download the Itinerary and the Registration Form

Day 1 – Thursday 13 May 2021


On arrival at London Heathrow Airport we will be met by our local coach and guide and depart for Lanhydrock. This magnificent seventeenth century house is surrounded by nineteenth century formal terraced gardens which formed part of a scheme of improvements overseen by George Gilbert Scott in 1857. Beyond the terraced gardens are areas of informal pleasure grounds which were developed from the mid nineteenth century with many choice trees and shrubs. The parkland with the famous beech avenue was first enclosed in the mid seventeenth century, and remains one of the finest examples in Cornwall. Lanhydrock Gardens feature a formal courtyard garden, beds of modern roses and a woodland garden, rich in flowering shrubs and trees, especially rhododendrons and magnolias. Lanhydrock is also home to the National Collection of crocosmias. Lunch is available here (not included).
We continue to our comfortable accommodation at the 4-star Hotel Alverton, Truro where dinner is served this evening.

Day 2 – Friday 14 May 2021

Lost Gardens of HeliganLost Gardens of Heligan

After breakfast we travel to the garden of Lamorran House, overlooking Falmouth Bay, which has been designed by the owner in an Italianate style, although there are also Japanese influences here. The intention was to create an intimate garden very much in the mold of Mediterranean gardens but with water ever-present, both as a backdrop to the garden and with running water featured in the many pools and streams. Many features are included to divide the garden into intimate compartments which the visitor can explore. Hence there are areas of woodland, a water garden in Japanese style as well as temples and archways in the steeper parts of the garden and a small bridge on which to lean to look out over the bay exhibiting a distinctively Venetian influence. We will enjoy an intro talk to the garden.

Our next visit is to Lost Gardens of Heligan. These award-winning gardens, asleep for more than seventy years, are the scene of the largest garden restoration project in Europe. In the spring of 1991, the Gardens of Heligan lay under a blanket of bramble, ivy, rampant laurel and fallen timber. A year later the restoration team opened the gardens to enable the public to share in the excitement of their discovery. A guided tour is included.
Dinner is served at the hotel in the evening.

Day 3 – Saturday 15 May 2021 The Eden Project

The Eden Project

Following breakfast this morning, we depart for St Austell where we will enjoy a visit to the Eden Project, which has become one of Cornwall’s star attractions. The Eden Project is a 50 meter deep, 34 acre China clay pit which has been reclaimed and transformed to house 2 controlled environment plant
conservatories, the larger of which recreates the climate of the Tropics and displays some of its plants such as cotton, rice, rubber, orchids, bamboo and rain forest flowers. At its highest point it reaches 50 meters, taller than Nelson’s Column. The second conservatory recreates a warm temperature climate and houses plants from Southern Africa, the Mediterranean and south western America, with orange trees, olives, grape vines and hundreds of colorful flowers. Lunch is available here today (not included).

Our last visit today is to the remarkable Pinetum Park and Pine Lodge Gardens, which has consistently received rave reviews over the last few years. Set in 30 acres of parkland, Pine Lodge boasts a pinetum arboretum, a marsh garden and many rare and tender plants, some of which result from those legendary plant-hunting expeditions. One flower which always draws a lot of attention is the very unusual Grevillea, a wild flower of Australia belonging to the Protea family – Pine Lodge holds the National Collection. All the plants are labelled for easy identification, making a visit here a most rewarding and illuminating experience.
We return to our hotel where dinner will be served this evening.

Day 4 – Sunday 16 May 2021

TrebahTrebah Garden

Following breakfast, we visit Trebah, a wild and colorful Cornish garden with something for everyone. The garden was laid out originally in the 1840s and flourished to become one of England’s great gardens by the 1930s. After the death of the then owner, the garden was sadly neglected for many years until it was taken over by the Hibbert family, who still run it today. Wander down the “Zig-Zag”, a slope where a rare collection of exotic Mediterranean plants was recently planted. You will also see Rhododendron Valley, a huge amphitheater of sixty foot high rhododendrons, many of which were imported as seed in the 1890s. It was here that rare Chinese palm trees, giant ferns and a host of other
exotic plants were discovered a few years ago when some of the rhododendrons were cut back. A guided tour is included. Lunch available here (not included).
Following this we continue to nearby Glendurgan a place of great beauty and tranquillity. Three valleys converge and drop towards the sparkling waters of the Helford River and the hamlet and beach at Durgan. The garden has many fine trees, rare and exotic plants from the four corners of the globe, outstanding spring displays of magnolias and camellias, plus carpets of wild flowers.
We return to our hotel in time for dinner.

Day 5 – Monday 17 May 2021

CoteheleCotehele at Saltash

This morning following breakfast we make our way to Cotehele at Saltash. A Tudor house with many stories and legends, festooned with tapestries and adorned with textiles, arms and armour, pewter, brass and old oak furniture; a magical experience awaits you where little has changed over the years.
Outside, explore the formally planted terraces, or lose yourself in the Valley Garden, which includes a medieval stewpond and dovecote. Seek tranquillity in the Upper Garden or visit the two orchards planted with local apples and cherries. Cotehele Quay is the home of the restored Tamar sailing barge
Shamrock and gateway to a wider estate. The Discovery Centre tells the story of the Tamar Valley.
We later continue to The Garden House, near the village of Buckland Monachorum. Here, around some romantically decaying 16th century ruins, Lionel Fortescue created a suitably romantic garden, built on precipitous terraces from which there are lovely views over the garden and surrounding countryside. Clematis and roses scale the old walls that surround the garden and there is a wonderful richness of plants.
We also visit nearby Wildside Garden & Nursery, owned by well-known author and lecturer Keith Wiley. The garden he has created at Wildside can be loosley described as naturalistic in style but Keith has taken this to whole new level, inspired by his travels around the world. There are so many plants at
Wildside and of such variety it is hard to believe, and yet they grow side by side happily as one big community.

Following our visit, we will continue to our comfortable accommodation at the Best Western Tiverton Hotel, Tiverton. All rooms have en-suite bathrooms together with LCD televisions with free view channels, free wireless internet access, hairdryer, direct dial telephone and beverage making facilities.
Dinner is served in the evening at the hotel.

Day 6 – Tuesday 18 May 2021

RosemoorRoyal Horticultural Society’s Rosemoor 

Following breakfast this morning we have a real treat when we have a guided tour of the Royal Horticultural Society’s great treasure of RHS Rosemoor, near Great Torrington in the heart of rural Devon. There are two gardens here, the first an intimate woodland garden dating from the 1960s, which has an excellent collection of trees and shrubs which relish the acid soil – dogwoods, eucryphias, maples, pieris, rhododendrons and vacciniums. The other is a more ambitious affair, which has been developed since the RHS became the owner in 1988, with rose gardens and giant borders, a lake and stream garden and a Mediterranean garden. Lunch is available here (not included).
In the afternoon we visit Marwood Hill, a beautiful 20 acre valley garden created by Dr J.A. Smart in the 1950s. The landscaping is delightful with three small lakes, a large bog garden and a rock and alpine scree. In the spring the garden is bright with primulas and irises and the National Collections of ‘Iris ensata’ and tulbahias can be found here. The garden also contains the National Collection of astilbes and in the summer these flower in profusion along the damp margins of the lakes and streams. An extensive range of plants thrive at Marwood Hill including camellias, magnolias, rhododendrons, eucryphias, hebes, ferns, willows and eucalyptus. There are also marvelous clematis and 12 different species of wisteria cascade over the pergola. We then return to the hotel, where dinner is served this evening.

Day 7 – Wednesday 19 May 2021

Knight's Hayes

Knightshayes Court

Following breakfast, we will visit nearby Knightshayes Court, one of the finest examples anywhere of the Gothic Revival country house. The extraordinary “medieval romantic” interiors give an atmospheric insight into grand country living and the celebrated garden features a water lily pool, topiary, specimen
trees, rare shrubs, seasonal color and an impressive Victorian kitchen garden which supplies fresh, organic fruit and vegetables to the property’s restaurant.


We then continue to Hestercombe, one of Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens’ greatest masterpieces. The garden is home to a round pool in a round walled garden filled with wintersweet and roses, a Dutch garden of lamb’s ears, lavender and the most beautiful orangery of the 20th century. Everywhere there are details of design and planting from which any gardener can learn. A guided tour is included here. Following our visit we begin our journey back to London to our comfortable accommodation at the 4-star Mitre Hotel Hampton Court where dinner is served in the evening.

Day 8 – Thursday 20 May 2021

Imagw of Kew GardensKew Garden Michael Burton CC-BY

This morning after breakfast we will visit the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew, which is now a World Heritage Site and boasts a unique collection of plants from all over the world. Among the attractions are the iconic Palm House, which recreates a tropical rainforest environment, the Temperate House, home to the world’s tallest indoor plant, and the Princess of Wales Conservatory, which contains ten climatic zones and a huge variety of plants including orchids and cacti. A guided tour is included.
We then continue to Windsor, where we visit the Savill Garden, one of Britain’s greatest ornamental gardens. Neither a botanical garden, nor a kitchen garden attached to a great house, it is a garden for the garden’s sake, enjoyed by horticulturalists and enthusiasts alike. It never fails to charm visitors who
come to explore its 35 acres of contemporary and classically designed gardens and exotic woodland. Developed under the patronage of Kings and Queens, The Savill Garden was created in the 1930s by Sir Eric Savill. It began as a woodland garden, with native oak, beech and sweet chestnut trees, but has since evolved by incorporating many new plants over the years.
This evening we will enjoy an exclusive out-of-hours private visit to Wisley Garden, which is where the Royal Horticultural Society shows the gardening public how it should be done. Here the highest standards of practical horticulture are deployed in the setting of a splendid old site rich in fine trees against backdrops of other plants, all impeccably labelled. A guided tour and 2-course dinner with a glass of wine is included.

Day 9 – Friday 21 May 2021

Chelsea Flower Show

RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Henry Lawford CC-BY

After breakfast this morning we depart for our full-day visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which holds a rare position as a great British tradition and an exciting source of inspiration and advice. One of the highlights of the show is the collection of over 20 full-sized show gardens. Inside the Great Marquee visitors have their senses ravished by the hundreds of floral displays, many of them incorporating new, rare and unusual plants. Other popular features here include flower arranging, floristry and garden design marquees, courtyard gardens, window boxes and hanging baskets. We return to our hotel in the evening.

Day 10 – Saturday 22 May 2021

After breakfast we check out of our hotel and transfer to the airport in time for our return flight to the USA (flight under own arrangement).

Included in the price:

  • Nine nights’ bed and breakfast; two nights at the Best Western Tiverton Hotel, Tiverton (or similar); four nights at the 4-star Alverton Hotel, Truro; three nights at the 4-star Mitre Hotel Hampton Court; all rooms have en-suite facilities
  • Eight dinners at the hotels
  • Comfortable coaching throughout
  • Visits to the gardens of, Marwood Hill, Cotehele, Glendurgan, The Garden House, Eden Project, Pinetum Lodge, Savill, and Knightshayes Court
  • Guided tour of RHS Garden Rosemoor, Hestercombe, the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Trebah, Wildside, and the Royal Botanic Garden Kew; introductory talk at Lamorran House
  • Guided tour and dinner with wine at the RHS Wisley Garden
  • Full day ticket to the RHS Chelsea Flower show
  • Services of a professional in-country tour manager
  • Services of a US-based tour manager

Not included (per person)

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals other than those specified
  • Personal purchases
  • Any other charges or expenses other than those specified

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