Garden Tours

Deryn Thorpe Interview

Interview with Deryn Thorpe

What inspired you to get into gardening?

I started gardening in a big way after my husband and I bought our first house about 30 years ago. At first I just wanted a beautiful garden with lots of flowers but later I became obsessed with design and plants and studied horticulture to get more skills.

What can our travellers expect on the upcoming tours?

I am a passionate gardener and love looking at new gardens and discussing with our tour group about the plant selections and the design. Sometimes we discuss what we would do if we were the head gardeners! We’ve had some very constructive conversations about taking out trees to expose views and using more subtle perennials instead of garish annuals. I enjoy discussing these things as a group as we all have something to contribute and learn, me included!

My next tour is a cruise to Canada and the US in their fall where we are going to see some amazing autumn colour!

In March, 2017 I take my yearly tour to Ballarat and the Melbourne Flower and Garden Show where I have handpicked some of Victoria’s very best private gardens to share with the group.

In May 2017 we see some of England’s traditional cottage-style gardens (and I think that the English are probably the world’s best gardeners) before visiting the Chelsea Garden show and finishing with a luxurious 12 night cruise that takes in grand gardens in the Baltic, including St Petersberg in Russia.

New Zealand’s wonderful volcanic soil and mild climate helps create some of the best gardens in the world and we will see some spectacular gardens on a cruise starting in Sydney on October 30 2017 which sails around New Zealand.

What are your favourite things to do when touring and while cruising?

Well, like everyone I totally love being spoilt when cruising and enjoy getting dressed up for the five star meals and onboard entertainment. Meeting up with the tour group each evening for dinner is also a highlight as there is nothing nicer than getting to know some new people over a special occasion meal and a glass of wine.

When touring I love the sense of adventure as we often get to explore new sites and experiences together. After we have seen something wonderful or been on a great tour of a historical city with one of Travelrite’s local guides I love the way we are all talking excitedly on the coach, or at dinner, about what a great day we have had. We usually try to rank the experiences and it is great the way that different aspects of our trip are highlights for different tour members.

What aspects of your gardening do you find the most challenging, and the most satisfying?

This year I am opening my home garden to the public so it’s challenging trying to get everything perfect for one week in October. I live in Perth, which has the least fertile soils in the world, so the most backbreaking aspect is continually improving the sandy soil with compost and clay. Spending a day or two perched on ladders pruning the climbing roses also gives my muscles a good work out!

While I always want to achieve a ‘pleasing display’ the real satisfaction is being able to share my garden and its produce with others.

What do you love about travelling?

The sense of adventure! Meeting new people! Having something to look forward to and creating some amazing memories!

Could you name your favourite gardens around the world?

Cloudehill – Melbourne, Australia; Ninfa – Lazio, Italy; Villa Melzi – Bellagio, Italy; Monet’s Garden – Paris, France; Ayrlies -Auckland, New Zealand; Great Dixter – East Sussex, England; Longwood, Philadelphia, USA

What were the highlights from the last tour you hosted with Travelrite International?

  1. Visiting romantic Ninfa garden, set in the ruins of a small medieval town. An informal, organic garden which has been created so it looks wild and uncultivated. It is very artistic with old roses scrambling up stone towers, crystal clear streams and a kilometre of flowering lavender borders. Outstanding!
  2. I loved our day with our local guide Roberta touring Rome. The whole city is a museum! Roberta skilfully used our coach to ferry us around town so we managed to visit most of the important sites without getting too weary and her commentary brought the city to life.
  3. Italian food – especially home made pasta and artisan gelato. I enjoy a pre dinner glass of sparkling prosecco but it tastes best sitting with friends admiring the Bay of Naples from the rooftop bar of our Sorrento hotel.
  4. Chelsea Flower Show!!! I’ve been three times but it is always THE highlight!

To find out more about the Garden Tours Deryn Thorpe is leading please click on the Tour Images below.

The group beside a fountain in Villa d'Este in Tivoli
The group beside a fountain in Villa d’Este in Tivoli




2015 Garden Tours to Europe and Australia

Eight Exciting Tours to consider

Gard2014 Helen Young Garden Tour of Italy and France
May 25 to June 14, 2015

10th year anniversary visiting some of Helen’s favourite gardens. 17 exciting days exploring the gardens and delights of the Italian Lakes, Venice and Paris. Plus a cruise on the Seine River.

This wonderful tour begins with four nights on Lake Como. We will visit beautiful Bellagio, Villa Melzi, magnificent Isola Bella, Villa Carlotta and Villa Balbeinello. We then travel to Venice for a guided tour with members of the Venice Garden Club. We will see some of Venice’s secret gardens as well as the gardens of the exclusive Hotel Cipriani. Our tour continues in Paris with highlights including Chateau de Bagatelle and Versailles. We then board our luxurious river ship for a seven night cruise along the Seine. We will visit Jardin Plume, Les Jardins de Castillon, and another highlight Claude Monets house and garden in Giverney.

An optional pre tour to London for the Chelsea Flower Show and great gardens of the south of England is also available.

Gard52015 Garden Tour with Millie Ross to Italy, France and England

Including the Chelsea Flower Show
May 4 to May 24, 2015

Visiting London for the Chelsea Flower Show, Tuscany, Florence, the Italian Lakes and Nice.

We begin on the Amalfi Coast in Sorrento. We will see spectacular gardens Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone in Ravello. We also travel to the island of Ischia to visit the famous garden La Mortella. During our three nights in Rome we visit Villa d’Este, and Villa Adriana. We continue on to Sienna in Tuscany to see Villa Lante and Villa Cetinale before four nights in the French Riviera and Nice. Our highlight here will be Villa Ephrussi de Rothchild. We finish with three nights in cosmopolitan London and the Chelsea Flower Show.


2015 Italian Food & Garden Tour with Julie Ray & Phil Dudman

May 22, 2015 to June 07, 2015

Visiting Tuscany, Florence, Bologna and the Italian Lakes.
Highlights include 3 nights in the picturesque Tuscan village of Bagno Vignoni, lunch at the world-renowned Osteria Francescana in Modena, a visit to the enchanting Villa del Balbianello overlooking Lake Como & the glorious food markets of Bologna, the food capital of Italy. Join the optional pre tour to the Chelsea Flower Show.


2015 Sue McDougall Garden cruise to Italy, France and Spain on board Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam
16 June to 6 July, 2015

Visiting Como, the Italian Lakes, Venice, Naples, Rome & Livorno, Italy: Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Corfu, Greece; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Marseille, France; Barcelona, Spain. Highlights include Villa Carlotta, Villa Balbienello and Isola Bella in Como, la Mortella on the island of Ischia, Villa lante and Villa Massei in Tuscany and Villa Ephrussi de Rothchild on the French Riviera.

2015 Deryn Thorpe Garden Tour to France and England including the Chelsea Flower Show
5 May to 24 May 201
We begin with four nights in Paris visiting the exceptional gardens of Monet’s house and garden at Giverny, Chateau de Bagatelle and Chateau de Versailles. We then continue on to the beautiful Loire Valley. A highlight here will be the Festival des Jardins de Chaumont sur Loire with thirty show gardens for us to see. Our journey through the best gardens of France then visits the spectacular Dordogne region and the gorgeous city of Avignon in Provence. We conclude with three nights in London for the Chelsea Flower Show.

2015 Jane Edmanson Britain and Ireland Garden Cruise on board Royal Princess
July 2 to 23, 201
Visiting London, Canterbury and Liverpool, England; Monets Garden, France; Edinburgh, Invergordon and Glasgow, Scotland; Cork and Dublin, Eire; Belfast, Northern Ireland; St Peter Port, Guernsey.

The Jane Edmanson garden tour on the Royal Princess will be a wonderful opportunity to cruise around the British Isles and Ireland. It will be managed by an experienced tour manager and include sightseeing tours at each port of call and visits to delightful gardens. Also included are special activities for members of the group.





2015 Deryn Thorpe Garden Tour to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show and Ballarat
March 21 to 28, 2014

An exciting eight day tour to Ballarat and Melbourne, for the 2015 Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. We visit Paul Bangay’s spectacular garden, Stonefields, the Australian garden at Cranbourne, Heronswood Garden, Cloudehill in the Dandenongs and much more!

Basile2015 Gardens History & Landscapes Tour with Michael and Judith Basile

From Nice to Paris – On and off the beaten track.

May 5 to 24, 2015

A romantic journey through glorious gardens, beautiful villages, and historic sites with tour leaders who know and love this very special region of France. We visit Nice and the beautiful French Riviera, travel to Forcalquier by train, and visit the historic Provincial town of Avignon. We have a night in Carcasson before concluding the tour with five nights in cosmopolitan Paris. It will be a wonderful in depth tour of France.

Visit our website for full details:      Gard1   dt_garden14


European and Australian Garden Tours 2014

Travelrite International have launched their 2014 Garden Tours to Europe and Australia

There are Seven Exciting Tours to consider including visits to the Chelsea Flower Show:

2014 Helen Young Garden Tour to France and England
May 4 to May 25, 2014

Visiting the French Riviera, Provence, the Dordogne, Bordeaux and London for the Chelsea Flower Show.
This wonderful tour takes in the best gardens of the French Riviera and Provence, the spectacular sights of Carcassonne, Albi, the gorgeous town, where Toulouse Lautrec was born and Scarlet a wonderful Medieval town in the Dordogne region and the historic city of Bordeaux, the centre of the famous wine region. Highlights will be the superb Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, Chateau Val Joanis, Jardin de la Noria and Les Jardins de l’Imaginaire. We conclude with a delightful four nights in London and a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show.

2014 Garden Tour with Angus Stewart to England, France and Spain
May 20 to June 9, 2014

Visiting London for the Chelsea Flower Show, Canterbury, Paris for Jardine Jardin, Amboise, Clermont-Ferrand, Avignon & Barcelona.
We begin with three nights in cosmopolitan London before travelling to Kent and Canterbury, the Garden of England, where we will visit Sissinghurst. We then visit Paris, the Loire Valley and Avignon.  Highlights will be Claude Monet’s house and garden at Giverney, the Chateau’s of the Loire and the Festival des jardins de Chaumont. We finish with three nights in spectacular Barcelona.

2014 Garden Tour with Tony Fawcett to England, Switzerland & Italy
May 17 to June 7, 2014

Visiting Stratford-upon-Avon, London for the Chelsea Flower Show, Venice, Ascona on Lake Maggiore, Siena and Rome
20 exciting days exploring the fine gardens of England, Switzerland and Italy including London for the Chelsea Flower Show.  Highlights include Hidcote and  Kiftsgate Court in the Cotswolds, the Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Villa Carlotta, Isola Bella on Lake Maggiore, Villa Gamberaia and Villa Cetinale in Tuscany.

2014 Sue McDougall Garden cruise of the Baltic and St Petersburg aboard Celebrity Constellation
5 July to 24 July, 2014
Visiting Amsterdam, Netherlands; Warnemunde, Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; St Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark

2014 Deryn Thorpe Garden Tour to England, Italy and France including the Chelsea Flower Show
20 May to 9 June 2014

Visiting London for the Chelsea Flower Show,staying in the gorgeous village Bagno Vignoni, where we have typical Tuscan meals every night, Florence, the Italian Lakes & Nice.

2014 Jane Edmanson Autumn Delights Garden Tour to the NSW Southern Highlands, Bundanon and Canberra
May 4 to 9, 2014

A delightful six day tour to Bowral, Nowra and Canberra.  With a four day extension tour of Canberra – May 9 to 12, 2014

2014 Deryn Thorpe Garden Tour to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show and Ballarat
March 22 to 29, 2014

A exciting eight day tour to Ballarat and Melbourne, for the 2014 Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. We visit Paul Bangay’s spectacular garden, Stonefields, the Australian garden at Cranbourne, Heronswood Garden and Cloudhill in the Dandenongs.

For more details visit


Travelrite Garden Tour at Chelsea Flower Show

Neville and Sandra Walliss (Directors of Travelrite) were traveling with a garden tour in France and Italy with a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show. We were very interested in hearing the results of the judging of the Show Gardens entered at the Chelsea Flower Show on Tuesday 21 May 2013. Flemings Nurseries from Victoria, Australia had a garden designed by Phillip Johnson as their 8th entry in 9 years. They were hopeful that this year they might get Best in Show. There were many people who thought that a non Australian garden could never win in England, where they were expecting a different type of garden.

We listened with bated breath as the results were announced and it was Best in Show for the Flemings Garden. All our group clapped and shouted. We visited the Show on Thursday morning 23 May 2013 and went first to the Flemings site, where we were allowed on the site by Leanne long time employee of Flemings. The team there were very excited at their win. The design featured a billabong and a waterfall in an urban setting with a studio structure integrating into the design.

art-chelsea-flower-show Fleming's--Getty SG_729_Chelsea chelsea

The water is recycled and naturally cleaned. There are native plants used though out the design. There are lush ferns, kangaroo paws, bogle brushes and bottle trees.

We continued our visit looking at the other superb show gardens. We then visited the pavilion where we were able to see wonderful examples of many different plants. The best and straightest blue delphiniums, the most wonderful and sweetest smelling bunches of roses and gorgeous displays of gladioli. When we returned to our hotel later in the day we had experienced a highlight of gardening. The only time a non English garden had won Best in Show at the Chelsea Flower Show.

If you are interested in a Garden tour to the Chelsea Flowe Show please visit our website for upcoming tours.