New Gardens of England: Resilience & Beauty
- June 6 - 14, 2023
- $4,775 USD per person
- Visit England’s newest gardens created by the best garden makers anywhere during climate change. See up close how Piet Oudolf, Dan Pearson, & Tom Stuart-Smith make their gardens both beautiful & resilient.
Besides surrounding me with beauty, the tour taught me so much about design and plants. I’ll be pulling inspiration from those gardens for years to come. I look forward to joining another tour in the future.
2022 Tour Member
New Gardens of England: Resilience & Beauty
June 6 -14, 2023
We live in a time of great energy in garden-making—new and renovated outdoor spaces expressing ideas about beauty, place, nature, and wildness. Combine this with concerns about the climate crisis, and garden makers are grappling with what gardens in our time should be. This tour to England’s southern counties explores gardens made in the 21st century — vibrant naturalistic plantings, complex pollinator meadows, and dynamic wild gardens. Sometimes, these contemporary creations sit within conventional English layouts. Other times, their structures are more integral to the larger landscape. Either way, we will be immersed in their alluring beauty and resilience.
June 6, Tuesday – Arrive at Heathrow Airport
June 7, Wednesday – Malverleys, Moor Hatches
June 8, Thursday – The Newt, Yews Farm
June 9, Friday – Oudolf Field, Hillside
June 10, Saturday – Free Time in Bath, Silver Street Farm
June 11, Sunday – Wildside
June 12, Monday – Knepp Castle, Gravetye Manor
June 13, Tuesday – Wisley, The Barn
June 14, Wednesday – Depart or continue travels
CarexTours strives to operate according to our published itinerary. However, adjustments may be necessary if unforeseen circumstances beyond our control occur or opportunities arise that would enhance the itinerary.
Note: CarexTours follows COVID-19 safety updates from the CDC and our destination countries. All tour members must be fully vaccinated with booster shots no less than two weeks before departure & bring with them the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.
Day 1, Tuesday, June 6 -- ARRIVE IN ENGLAND
- Tour members independently arrange travel to Heathrow Airport, walk to the Crowne Plaza London Heathrow T4 hotel just outside Terminal 4, and check into the room booked for them (included in the tour price).
- We'll gather in the hotel restaurant at 6:30 PM for a Welcome Dinner (included).
Day 2, Wednesday, June 7 -- MALVERLEYS & MOOR HATCHES
- We start our week of touring gardens by traveling west from Heathrow Airport into Berkshire to visit Malverleys Garden, a private renovated garden not yet fifteen years old. Designed by the talented head gardener Mat Reese in collaboration with the owners, it features conventional hedged rooms (like Hidcote & Sissinghurst) with exuberant plantings of modern color-themed perennials and annuals. Throughout, self-seeders are allowed to run and romp—with careful editing, of course—making an atmosphere that verges on wildness. Mat believes that when you give plants a bit of freedom to do what they like, you get surprises. “Things just happen,” he said in a 2019 article in Country Living. “Plants come up where you hadn't planned. There's a lot of satisfaction in those little incidences.” This comfort with spontaneity adds an intriguing spiritedness to Malverleys’ naturalism. We’ll have lunch at a pub (not included) on our way to our afternoon garden.
- This afternoon, we journey southwest to Moor Hatches Garden, located on the banks of the River Avon just a few miles from Stonehenge. Designed by the renowned Tom Stuart-Smith, Moor Hatches could be described simply as a contemporary family garden, but it is much more. At the heart of the garden, enclosed by walls topped with thatch, is a magnificent 70-foot swimming pool surrounded by Tom’s signature sensuous plantings. Long rectangular beds brim with modern perennials and grasses in a pale silvery palette. Along the river, Tom has added little pools and brooks, creating a retreat for family members and a welcoming refuge for wildlife.
- We check into Hotel Indigo Bath in the center of Bath for three nights and then gather for dinner in the hotel restaurant (included).
Day 3, Thursday, June 8 -- THE NEWT & YEWS FARM
- Our first visit today is to The Newt, the newest garden on our itinerary, which opened with the country house hotel and spa in August 2019. The 800-acre estate, owned by South Africans Koos Bekker and Karen Roo, might be considered a domain of agricultural opulence and luxury. But Roo and Bekker have a deep passion for horticulture and farming rooted deeply in its place. They have developed the property to include a walled garden concealing an apple tree maze, a kitchen garden, a cascade of ponds, and a Victorian glasshouse. In addition, they have made a farm shop, cyder press, garden museum, aerial treetop walkway, and lakeside apiary. The edges of the garden are sheltered with diverse woodlands to provide a habitat for native wildlife. The name "Newt" comes from the large population of salamanders living on the grounds. The question we may want to explore on our visit is how sustainability integrates with rural sumptuousness. We’ll have lunch here (not included) before moving on to our afternoon garden.
- Next, we’ll travel to Yews Farm, a walled garden located in the village of Martock, formal in layout yet exuberantly planted. The garden is Louise and Fergus Dowding’s creation, each with their area of expertise. Louise, a garden designer, oversees ornamentals and has populated the garden with boxwood topiary and hedges because of her love of architectural planting and shapes. On the other hand, Fergus is the mastermind behind the productive vegetable beds and trained fruit using organic and bio-dynamic principles. Paying careful attention to the health of the soil as well as the plants, he is an advocate of "no dig" gardening with regular composting and hoeing. The Dowdings have created a 21st-century village garden, harmoniously balanced between ornamental and food production.
- For the night, we return to the Hotel Indigo Bath. Dinner this evening is at a restaurant of your choice in the city or at our hotel (not included). Reservations may be necessary.
Day 4, Friday, June 9 -- OUDOLF FIELD & HILLSIDE
- This morning, we travel south from Bath to visit Oudolf Field, a glorious naturalistic garden. Designed by the celebrated Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf, it sits behind Hauser & Wirth, a modern art gallery in Bruton, Somerset. Wide curving grass paths cut through a 1.5-acre perennial meadow with a masterful planting design. A champion of sturdy perennials that don’t need to be staked or divided, and dynamic ornamental grasses, Oudolf arranged his plantings mainly in drifts resulting in artful views wherever you look. Make sure to bring your camera to capture this dreamy garden. We’ll have lunch together on the gallery grounds at the Roth Bar & Grill (not included).
- For our afternoon garden, we travel to the scenic hills north of Bath to visit Hillside, the home garden of one of England’s most respected designers, Dan Pearson, and his partner, Huw Morgan. They moved to this farmstead from London in 2010, wanting to be part of a more extensive landscape without the constraints of a city garden. Their site interventions show a deep appreciation for the land and rural architecture, and the planting style takes cues from native plant communities. Using a broad plant palette, Dan has filled their borders with flowers such as lavender, ferula, thalictrum, knautia, sanguisorba, euphorbia, and various thistles, to name just a few. Hillside is modern country gardening at its best.
- We return to our Bath hotel for our last night and dine together in the hotel restaurant (included).
Day 5, Saturday, June 10 -- FREE TIME & SILVER STREET FARM
- This morning, we take a break from group activities so that tour members can have a leisurely morning, shop for a special souvenir, or explore Bath, the only UK city designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Numerous cultural sites are within walking distance of our hotel — the Roman Baths, the Jane Austen Centre, Bath Abbey tower, the Royal Crescent, and the Circus. Lunch today is at a pub or cafe of your choice (not included).
- For the afternoon, we visit Silver Street Farm, a country garden transformed from a farmyard, paddock, and fields. Garden designer Alisdair Cameron and his wife, Tor, moved to the property in 2011, wanting to create outdoor spaces that spark happiness and delight. Today the garden is a place for fun family activities and connecting with nature. The design is grounded in its rural landscape and inspired by how a river flows around boulders. Two perennial and grass borders with boulder-like mounding topiaries behind the farmhouse have internal paths, immersing friends and family in the naturalistic plantings alive with scent, color, and pollinators.
- We check into the Hotel Mercure Paington for one night. Dinner this evening is at a restaurant of your choice in town or at our hotel (not included). Reservations may be necessary.
Day 6, Sunday, June 11 -- WILDSIDE, TRAVEL BACK TO HAMPSHIRE
- Today, we visit Wildside, a naturalistic garden created by visionary plantsman Keith Wiley and his late wife Roz starting in 2004. Keith's close study of plants in wild landscapes inspired him to transform the gently sloping land into hillocks, valleys, steep slopes, and deep ravines, creating a topography of microclimates that could accommodate a wide array of plants. Instead of matching plants to existing conditions, Keith has made the conditions his plants need, resulting in fascinating ecological vignettes showcasing nature's beauty and complexity.
- This afternoon, we travel northeast toward London and check into Audleys Wood Hotel for three nights. We’ll gather in the restaurant for a group dinner (included).
Day 7, Monday, June 12 -- KNEPP CASTLE WALLED GARDEN & GRAVETYE MANOR
- We begin our day at the rewilding project at Knepp Estate Walled Garden, a compelling example of ecological restoration that embraces natural processes and aims to create successional habitats. The project, designed by Tom Stuart-Smith with advice by James Hitchmough, Mick Crawley, and Jekka McVicar, involved transforming an existing 19th-century walled garden with two distinct areas — a traditional kitchen garden with raised beds and a pool garden with a flat croquet lawn. In the kitchen garden, the emphasis was shifted to growing herbs with small quantities of vegetables and fruiting shrubs in no-dig beds. Added paths of varying ratios of existing crushed limestone and soil encourage herbs to self-seed. In the pool garden, the flat lawn was contoured into peaks and troughs up to 5’ above and below the original grade to create a variety of habitats to support greater ecological richness. Stuart-Smith chose plants considering predictions that southern England's climate will be much more Mediterranean by 2050. Gardeners are encouraged to allow a lot of spontaneity but not a free for all.
- Today's final garden is the exquisite Gravetye Manor. At this luxury country house hotel, we’ll have a special lunch in its Michelin Star restaurant (included) and then stroll the gardens with lovely views of the surrounding countryside. Created a century ago by Irish writer, designer, and owner William Robinson, the gardens showcased his ideas about naturalism and wild gardening, contrasting untamed plantings with more structured areas close to the house. Today, the gardens have been extensively restored but don’t expect a historical set piece. After a stint at Great Dixter, Tom Coward is the current head gardener and has skillfully added intense successional plantings, giving the garden a 21st-century twist all year long.
- Tonight, we return to Audleys Woods Hotel and come together for dinner in the hotel restaurant (included).
Day 8, Tuesday, June 13 -- WISLEY, THE BARN
- Our day starts at the Royal Horticultural Society Garden, Wisley. For more than 100 years, Wisley has been a center of British gardening excellence. Although the garden spreads over 240 acres, we'll focus on the demonstration gardens, which feature everything from stream gardens to meadows to double borders. Of particular interest in June are plantings of lilies and roses. Not to be missed are the two perennial borders near the Glasshouse, one created by Tom Stuart-Smith and the other by Piet Oudolf. Lunch will be at a Wisley cafe or restaurant of your choice (not included).
- We travel north of London for our tour’s last garden, The Barn at Serge Hill. In the previous 25 years, Tom and Sue Stuart-Smith created this garden around their home, a converted barn. Next to The Barn sits an intimate, modern courtyard with Corten wall and water tanks Tom initially used in a 2005 show garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. Further away, hedged gardens overflow with the complex planting of perennials and grasses that Tom is known for in his professional work. In addition, Sue manages a kitchen garden while Tom oversees two meadows -- one filled with native English flowers and grasses and the other, an exotic prairie planted mostly with North American natives.
- We return to Audleys Wood for the final night and gather in the hotel restaurant for our Farewell Dinner (included).
Day 9, Wednesday, June 14-- DEPARTURE
- Our time together comes to an end, but garden lovers are likely to find inspiration wherever they are. Tour members can choose to return home or carry on the adventure.
- We’ll provide coach transfer to Heathrow Airport at 7:00 AM for those with flights leaving at 11:00 AM or later. Or you may take a taxi on your own (approximately £60/$80) at your chosen time.