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European Garden Travels with Carolyn

European Garden Travels with Carolyn
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Vlinderhof

If I ever go on a European garden tour, I’ll choose one that features gardens that are interesting to American gardeners and designers and about gardening today, not the usual tour of gardens that are over 100 years old.

It might be a tour designed and led by garden designer Carolyn Mullet,  especially the one she calls Piet Oudolf and  Dutch Wave Gardens. Here’s the lucky bunch on last summer’s inaugural tour.

Writer Helen Yoest was one of the lucky tour-goers (seen standing in the photo to the left of Piet Oudolf) and raved about it in this blog post and this one, in which she explains the Dutch Wave movement and its connection to prairie fardens, meadow lawns, and similar naturalistic styles. She devoted a whole blog post to Oudolf’s own garden.

Helen emailed me to add that “What was especially interesting about this tour was that it was a Dutch Wave Movement root-tracing tour…The highlight of the trip was visiting Hummelo and meeting Piet and his wife Anja.

Carolyn (R) with tour-goer Vicky Draper.

“Carolyn is awesome to travel with. We had the time of our lives.”

Yeah, THAT kind of tour.

Portland blogger Scott Weber was also on the tour and apologized in advance to his blog readers for being “gushing, hyperbolic and wistful…these are gardens that inspire such reactions.” Read all that and more here and  here.

Broughton Grange

Another tour that Carolyn led last year and is repeating in 2016 by popular demand is Chelsea Flower Show/London and Country Gardens.

Hidcote

That tour group also included a blogger – James Golden of Federal Twist – who wrote me that he “had a great time on Carolyn’s tour and was very happy with the selection of gardens.” Check out his photos of Hidcote photos in this post and his photos of Rousham on this post.

Keukenhof, photo by Kurt Wyss

So how does an American designer know how to plan European garden tours? By partnering with a European garden-tour packager, someone who’s been doing that for 35 years. They pool their garden ideas, with his suggestions focusing on what works logistically and many of them being rejected by Carolyn as not interesting enough. She also keeps a running bucket list of gardens she’s found and shared to her nearly 1.4 million Facebook followers.

Seems the tour-goers are an interesting bunch, too. Carolyn tells me the first two groups included regular gardeners, a docent at the NY Botanic Garden, Master Gardeners, designers, a professional gardener eager to learn maintenance-lowering design ideas from Oudolf, bloggers, and writers.

THOSE tour-mates.

This year Carolyn is adding two more tours. In April, Dutch Tulips and Amsterdam in Spring and in July, Paris and Normandy Gardens in Summer. 

Uncredited photos by CarexTours.

Posted by

Susan Harris
on February 19, 2016 at 8:35 am, in the category Real Gardens, Unusually Clever People.

2 Comments

    • Marianne Willburn
    • 3rd August 2016

    When we finally stop raising kids and far too many animals, and start indulging ourselves a bit, I will be signing up for one of Carolyn’s tours. There’s no one I’d rather go with. Just walking around private gardens with Carolyn at GWA symposiums was a delight – she points out elements of design, why it works, sometimes why it doesn’t, and does so with a gentleness that beautifully complements her knowledge base. I’m not surprised everyone raves about her tours!

    • Susan
    • 29th August 2016

    If you’ve never been and have the time and money to go on her Tulip Tour, do it!! Seven years ago, my husband and I went over to the Netherlands, primarily to see the display at the Keukenhof. All I can tell you is that I would go back there in a New York minute – and to go with someone who is totally garden-centric would have made it that much more awesome. Go if you can, Susan – you’d be in Heaven!

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