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Want to join Keith Kirsten on his annual Chelsea Flower Show tour?

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Horticulturist Keith Kirsten is leading his annual, private tour to the Chelsea Flower Show & Boutique Gardens of England, which he describes as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, from 23 to 26 May, 2016.

Monday, May 23

With the caveat that the gardens and hotels on the itinerary, and the order in which the visits have been arranged, are subject to change without notice, this delightful holiday in London will include two nights at the beautiful 4 star Millennium Gloucester Hotel in Kensington, checking in at 2 pm.

This first day allows the tour participants a day at leisure to explore London, with Keith on hand to give you some suggestions as to how to enjoy this vibrant city.

Tuesday, May 24

It’s off to a very early start to be at the Chelsea Flower Show when it opens, so “we can benefit from seeing the exhibits at their best before the crowds arrive,” he says.

The Chelsea Flower Show is held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, home to the Chelsea Pensioners, next to the River Thames. The two light and airy Chelsea Pavilions, covering two and half acres, are filled with exhibits vying with each other for one of the Royal Horticultural Society’s gold medals. Outside these are model gardens and a colossal range of other products in every avenue and corner of the show.

Every year, for five days in May, the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea are covered with horticulture displays that make up the world’s most famous flower show.

An optional visit is to the Chelsea Physic Garden.

The remainder of the day is at leisure.chelsea Flower show2 resize

Wednesday, May 25

The tour departs London in a south-westerly direction to a less well-known but equally beautiful garden, Doddington Place Gardens, the home of Mr and Mrs Richard Oldfield. Doddington Place is surrounded by wooded countryside in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the North Downs.

The next garden is one of Keith’s favourites, Great Dixter, located in Rye in East Sussex, the family home of the late Christopher Lloyd, who devoted his lifetime to creating one of the most experimental, exciting and constantly changing gardens in our time.

The last visit of the day is to another beautiful garden in the area called Pashley Manor Garden, winner of the 1999 English Garden of the Year award. The 11 acre gardens are laid out in true English Romantic style, enhanced by waterfalls, pond and a moat.

“After this very busy day we will continue our journey to the very peaceful Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club,” says Keith.chelsea flower show3 resize

Thursday, May 26

After breakfast, the tour makes its way to Dunsborough Park near Ripley. The owners of this stunning estate, Baron Dolf and Baroness Carol Sweets de Landas Wyborgh, welcome visitors at various times of the year.

The next visit on this amazing tour is to the West Green House in Hook, Hampshire. Nestling in a woodland corner of Hampshire is this ravishingly attractive, restored Queen Anne 1720s manor house with busts of gods, emperors and dukes, now framed with roses, watching over the gardens, marrying traditional style with contemporary design.

The final visit of the day is to the Manor House at Upton Grey, where 21 years ago this garden was nothing more than an unkempt jungle. It has now been restored in accordance with the foundations found there of a very special garden.

The tour departs with a stopover at Heathrow en route to London. The tour ends at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel. If you require pre or post tour nights in our tour hotels, please advise as soon as possible.

The cost is R25,964 per person sharing. The single supplement is R7,584. All prices are subject to rate of exchange fluctuations at time of payment and do not include the cost of air fares.


Contact Dianne on +27 (0)11 772 1112 or email: info@loceanair.co.za or marketing@keithkirsten.comChelsea Flower Show4 resize


Alison Goldberg is the former property editor of Business Day (1985) and the Financial Mail (1991-99). In 1995 she won the Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year Award. She has edited such titles as National Constructor and The Miner in Australia and has freelanced for The Star, The South African Jewish Report and The Jerusalem Post.

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