At Academic Arrangements Abroad one of our favorite trips each winter is “Gardens of the Caribbean.” During this coming year’s sojourn aboard the sailing yacht Sea Cloud II, travelers – accompanied by horticulturist Patrick Bowe –visit some of the islands’ top gardens. Tortola’s J.R. O’Neal Botanic garden includes an array of indigenous and exotic tropical plants. On Sint Eustatius, garden buffs will have the opportunity to join an excursion to the Miriam C. Schmidt Botanical Garden, a haven for the island’s rich biodiversity. And on Nevis, they will discover the five-acre botanic garden.
On other programs with Academic Arrangements Abroad, travelers also stroll through spectacular outdoor spaces. These include Holland’s magnificent Keukenhof Gardens, where over a million flowering bulbs provide a vast carpet of color. In Korea, visitors to Changdeokgung Palace will explore the grounds including Biwon, the palace’s secret garden. A journey through North India includes visits to Humayun’s Tomb, a prototype of Indian garden tombs, and the famed Lodi Gardens in Delhi.
We asked staff members to share recommendations for gardens around the globe. Here are their suggestions.
Ute Keyes, Manager, Operations and Development, says one of her favorite gardens is in Schwetzingen Palace in Germany, which she visited frequently when she was a student in Heidelberg. Surrounding the palace are both a symmetrically designed French baroque garden and an English landscape garden.
“It’s not too big and not too small—just the right size for strolling on a Sunday afternoon,” says Ute, who adds that the best time to see Schwetzingen is in May, June and July, when everything is in bloom.
Director of Operations Erin Sorensen favors the Scilly gardens in Tresco in the United Kingdom. “They are beautiful and surprising, as they feature tropical plants in England and are somewhat remote (people take boats or helicopters to reach them),” she says. “The unique weather patterns in that area create the right climate for those plants.”
Tour director Eleni Papachristou feels any springtime garden program with Patrick Bowe is memorable. Eleni explains, “He gets so excited about each and every blossom, and his passion is contagious.”
What are some of your favorite gardens?