Burnett: ream holiday to the UK for avid gardeners

I have to tell you they sure know how to put on a show over there in the United Kingdom.

We have been to several huge, famous gardens including Kew, Saville and Wiseley, along with the gardens at Hampton Court and other palaces.

Don BurnettAnd to top it off, we spent a day at the Chelsea Flower Show, a flower show like I have never seen before. The size, the diversity the variety and above all the quality is second to none.

By the time this column hits the streets, I will have returned to the sunny Okanagan after a wonderful tour of Britain put on by Gail Fritsen, with Marlin Travel, in association with Collette Tours and Royal Irish Tours.

Everything went according to plan as our group was able to see eight fantastic gardens, all unique in their own way, and several historic places. Central to the trip was getting to see the largest and most admired flower show in the world.

The Chelsea show has been an annual event for over a century, and as I said it was spectacular. We spent over seven hours there and still didn’t see it all.

After six days in London visiting Hampton Court, The Tower of London and more, we traveled by train up to Scotland, enjoying the beautiful countryside even though we were travelling an average speed of more than 100 mph.

When we arrived in Edinburgh, we experienced our first rain of the trip although it was more a misty drizzle.

The first full day there we went on a bus tour of the city. Even though it was still wet it was very enjoyable.

It was that first day we visited the 800-year-old Edinburgh Castle, which was so much more than I had expected.

In Edinburgh, there was an abundance of free time so I spent it wandering the streets, map in hand, exploring the little side streets and historical spots including a couple of museums.

While in Scotland we visited St. Andrews where the historic ‘Old Course,’ said to be the birthplace of golf, is and I had to get my picture taken on the old historic bridge on the 18th fairway.

One of the unexpected highlights was a visit to the St. Andrews Botanic Garden, which was smaller than some of the London gardens we visited but still a real gem.

Of course, one can’t visit Scotland without taking in a Scotch distillery of which there are dozens. The one we chose was Glenturret, home of the Famous Grouse Scotch.

The tour was informative (how Scotch is made) and tasty (how Scotch is properly consumed). Scotch is second only to oil and gas in its contribution to the Scottish economy, so they take this nectar of the gods very seriously.

For more on our trip and lots of pictures check out my Facebook page.