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Globe-Trotting: Behold the Gardens of France with PHS

Horticultural buffs, rejoice: Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has organized the trip of a lifetime to tour the botanical beauties of North France and Paris. Serving as your guide will be PHS’ marquee Francophile himself, Drew Becher, president of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. “Traveling with PHS,” he explains, “provides a unique opportunity to visit very special gardens throughout the world.” His most anticipated stop: Brittany. “There, we’ll have access to some extraordinary places — including Kerdalo, which was started by Prince Peter Wolkonsky and is now owned by his daughter, Princess Isabelle. It’s a paradise of rustic, authentic landscapes, as well as incredible formal gardens.”

You had us at “rustic paradise,” Becher.

Below, just a few highlights from the itinerary:

  • Jardin du Luxembourg (June 29): The first stop on the trip, almost ironically, boasts a spice of non-French flare, influenced by Italian Baroque and hosting a center pond and forest split by a French garden and an English one. For: Lovers of orchids and roses, and obsessives of the House of Medici (see: Medici Fountain).
  • Giverny and Rouen (July 1). You want Monet, you say? Check. The day begins with a journey to the well-kept home and garden of Claude Monet, before transitioning through the River Seine and into the city of Rouen, where – brace for it – Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, way back in 1431. Topping off the tonally charred afternoon is a stroll through Jardin de Plume. For: Former history majors, admirers of perennials and orchards.
  • Jardins du Montmarin and Jardins de Kerdalo (July 5). Jaws, start dropping: These French gardens lead into a sprawling lake and drop down into a succession of terraces, leading into the river Rance. Then, take a journey through Becher’s beloved Jardins de Kerdalo, a newer garden that borrows from Chinese and Italian gardening traditions. For: Post-World War II garden enthusiasts, authentic landscapes and people who don’t mind a tropical touch to their gardens.

Attendees are not (I repeat, not) required to have a PHS membership to partake in the trip. Additional expenses include airfare, food and any out-of-the-itinerary excursions. Mosey on over to the PHS website for the full itinerary and contact info for further details.

Saturday, June 28, to Sunday, July 6, $2,800, various times and locations.