Travel adventures with le jardinet
Meet Your Hosts
Both Karen and Andy grew up in northern England. In fact, they first met when Andy was just 9 and Karen was 14 (and she still hasn’t forgiven him for not remembering her, even though she has the photographs to prove it!) Despite such inauspicious beginnings they married in 1987 and lived in the heart of the Peak District before moving to Seattle in 1996 with their two young children.
A love of the English countryside was a common bond even in those early days, which for Karen naturally led to an interest in gardening while both Karen and Andy enjoy photographing landscapes and wildlife.
Today, as a landscape designer, award-winning author, and international speaker Karen has the knowledge, enthusiasm, personal connections, and detailed, organizational skills that are needed to put together a tour of inspirational gardens, historical sites, and cultural experiences.
As always, Andy is an integral part of Karen’s business, offering logistical support, attention to detail, and a reassuring pair of extra hands, ears, and eyes to make sure every guest feels cared for.
Together, they would love to share “their England” and other favorite places with you.
What our guests said....
east coast 2022
"Loved it all! The mix of large and small gardens and the opportunity to go inside homes currently lived in was terrific. The insights on English villages and life in general was so interesting. Nice hotels! All was great."
"It was a very enjoyable and stimulating tour. Wonderful mix of plants, history, and English life. Learned a ton! You two were lovely to get to know and the tour reflected your fun spirits and positive outlook."
"I think you had an exceptional itinerary. Taking us to places most people never get to see Also it was great having local people show us around . Thank you for the experience."
" What a fantastic time we had! The gardens, historic homes and villages were a treat to experience. We appreciated your attention to detail and personal insights into everything UK. Thanks so much!"
"Best garden tour ever!"
"What wonderful memories of the best destinations! I absolutely loved the entire experience. Beautiful sights, good company, wonderful meals, and great hosts. Thank you for the fun time. "
"We had a wonderful time on the East Coast Tour! Loved it all. "
"You appeared relaxed and organized. That puts everybody at ease. Great tour and if all goes well I would like to do the New York tour next fall."
"Loved the variety of gardens: large and small, public and private, formal and informal."
"You and Andy are a perfect team. You have your roles down perfectly and everybody is quite comfortable with both of you. You are very different and very approachable."
"It has been an absolute delight traveling with you! You make a great team...it has truly been the trip of a lifetime for us."
"Thanks for an amazing trip!"
"This was just absolutely awe inspiring and fun!!! Can't wait to do it again."
"The group size is just right - easy to bond with people."
"Superb opportunity to have talks given by head gardeners and the small private gardens were a treat."
"Nothing but respect for Karen's planning abilities, Andy's attentiveness and Elaine's driving skills."
" Loved the variety of gardens, learning the history and seeing the countryside and villages as we traveled."
"Would definitely signup for another tour with you guys"
ADVENTURES IN SOUTH AFRICA:
GARDENS, WILDLIFE & NATURAL BEAUTY
With Karen & Andy Chapman
Main Tour: October 11th-25th 2023
Optional extension: 25th-28th
From restios to rhinos and protea to penguins – this tour has it all.
South Africa is world-renowned for its outstanding natural beauty, delicious wines, and abundant wildlife and our two-week tour promises to be the adventure of a lifetime as we explore the highlights of it all.
Our journey will begin in Cape Town with visits including Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and a full day on the Western Cape where we will view the Fynbos and the colony of Cape fur seals. From here we will travel to the Winelands of the Cape, visiting Franschhoek and Stellenbosch to enjoy an exciting variety of public and private gardens including a Danie Steenkamp designed garden, the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden and the Vergelegen Wine Estate where the rose gardens should be in their prime.
Heading north we will visit the Harold Porter Botanical Garden to learn more about the indigenous vegetation and take a scenic drive to view the breeding colony of African penguins at Stony Point. Our adventure continues as we make our way to the Overberg region to see the Cape Fynbos both on foot and from open vehicles before traveling the Garden Route towards Mossel Bay where there will be time to visit the Dias Museum Complex. Highlights of our stay in the Knysna region include a private tour led by renowned designer Graham van Hoesselin, Monkeyland, Birds of Eden Aviary and the Tsitsikamma National Park before we take a short flight to Johannesburg.
No trip to South Africa would be complete without a safari, and we have selected the Kapama Game Reserve, a low-risk malaria location on the edge of the Kruger National Park as our base camp. Game drives will take us to see the Big 5 of Africa (lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino & elephant) while sipping sundowners under the vast African skies is sure to become a treasured memory.
For those yearning for more, there is an optional 3-day extension to Zimbabwe with a sunset river cruise on the great Zambezi River, a full day in Botswana where we will enjoy a game drive in the Chobe National Park and an afternoon cruise on the Chobe River as well as a guided tour of the Victoria Falls.
This tour is filled with the sights and sounds of South Africa, one that is sure to leave you with memories that will forever become a part of your soul.
GREAT GARDENS OF DEVON & CORNWALL:
HISTORIC SITES, ICONIC ESTATES & HIDDEN GEMS
With Karen & Andy Chapman
July 1st - July 13th 2024
With its rugged scenery, picturesque fishing villages and temperate/subtropical climate, this area of SW England is unique: even boasting its own dialect.
Our small group tour will explore many world-class gardens in this region including Stourhead renowned for its temples, grottos, and water features, the naturalistic, subtropical landscape of Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, romantic Ilford Manor which merges formality with nature and magnificent rural views, and the biomes of the Eden Project. We will also take the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the rich history of the West Country, visiting Plymouth to see where the Mayflower set sail for America in 1620, the Roman city of Bath, and medieval Tintagel Castle, inextricably linked with the legend of King Arthur. And then there are the gardens themselves which link us to the past: Coleton Fishacre, a 1920’s country retreat, the Lost Gardens of Heligan where the discovery of a tiny room, buried under fallen masonry in the corner of one of the walled gardens initiated a remarkable restoration project, and Trebah Garden with its secluded, sandy beach which looks vastly different today than it did in 1944 when more than 7000 members of the U.S. 29th Infantry Division boarded ships and left to take part in the D-Day assault.
What sets this tour apart, however, are the hidden gems such as Bonython, a traditional, mixed agricultural Cornish estate, Wildside Nursery, hailed as the ”most adventurous garden in England”, designed and managed by renowned author and plantsman Keith Wiley, and carefully selected private gardens which are often the visits our guests enjoy the most.
No tour of this scenic area would be complete without visiting some of the quaint fishing villages along the Cornish coast and the clifftop Minack Theater in Penzance known as much for its sub-tropical gardens that thrive in this microclimate as for the breathtaking views across the Celtic Sea.
Rather than visiting England as a tourist – we invite you to join us as family. We want you to have time to simply sit in these beautiful gardens and “be”, to have time to chat with the locals, and to experience true English hospitality. These are the memories that will linger long after the blooms of mid-summer have faded.
This tour promises to be a unique blend of treasured experiences and memories.
Gardens of THE HUDSON VALLEY, NY.
Grand estates, sweeping vistas, private gardens and iconic landmarks - we'll do it all.
Cotswolds and Beyond
Beginning in Oxford we will discover the charming villages and gardens of the Cotswolds before exploring the rugged scenery and gardens of South Wales.
Le jardinet acts only as an agent for the various independent suppliers that provide hotel accommodations, transportation, sightseeing, activities, or other services connected with this tour. Such services are subject to the terms and conditions of those suppliers. Le jardinet and their respective employees, agents, representatives, and assigns accept no liability whatsoever for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or any other incident which may be caused by the negligence, defect, default of any company or person in performing these services. Responsibility is not accepted for losses, injury, damages or expenses of any kind due to sickness, weather, strikes, hostilities, wars, terrorist acts, acts of nature, local laws or other such causes. All services and accommodations are subject to the laws and regulations of the country in which they are provided. Le jardinet is not responsible for any baggage or personal effects of any individual participating in the tours/trips arranged by Le jardinet. Individual travelers are responsible of purchasing a travel insurance policy, if desires, that will cover some of the expenses associated with the loss of luggage or personal effects.
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