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My Two Cents
by Donna Dawson
by Donna Dawson


Co-Owner of along with her husband Tom.

Owner of which specializes in unique garden tours. Co-author of three garden books and a master gardener.

She is a weekly contributor to and part of the expert panel at with her specialty in gardens.

Donna has appeared on Canada AM, HGTV's Indoor Gardener and Calling All Gardeners. She and her husband were one of the few chosen to do a tv special called "the Garden Tourist" on Recreating Eden and while in China on tour, she was a special guest on China TV. She has also been a featured guest speaker at numerous Canadian gardening events including Canada Blooms and Victoria's Art in Bloom.

January 24, 2013

Another year has gone by – six years here in Panama!! Seems like yesterday that I was packing up our house in Alberta, sorting through so much stuff to give away to family, friends, shelters or what ever…even had some of our stuff head off to Brazil to help ladies who needed it. It was good to see so much going to those who could use it but sad at the same time…all my garden ‘stuff’ that I had collected for many years, garden books, my beautiful garden and potting bench we had made for us. The fountain that I could sit and watch the robins playing in, the chickadees that used to flit around me while I worked. Times change…now I see palm trees instead of pine trees and not very many familiar plants that you would see outside a greenhouse or conservatory.

Two seasons now instead of four and my two favourite - spring and fall are now a memory. How I loved watching the plants come up in the spring and how I loved the smell of leaves in the fall as they turned colour and headed towards a new life as compost for my garden. Here it is green and tropical all the time and when we have our rainy season it is my favourite as everything is so lush and green. The names of the trees and plants are foreign to most of you but I know you would recognize most of them from your own warm winter holidays.

Things are different here but we do love it and are still very happy that we made the decision to move.

I wondered whether it would affect what I do, that of a tour operator. I now see after six years that my business continues to grow and I continue to meet new guests every year while seeing so many old friends. It has made me search for new tour ideas all the time. Some times a tour can take a long time to put together because you always want them to be the best they can be. Then you put it up and hope it goes so you can share the experiences with others. For instance when I put the South Africa tour up, it took a long time to put the itinerary together…months and months of back and forth and when ready you pray people like it…well like they did and it booked up in jig time with 18 of 22 people who had travelled with me before…what fun we had. It’s like that on most tours now ... many repeat friends and it’s cool because they often meet friends they have been on other tours with.

…in 2013 I will have been living my dream of sharing gardens and countries with others for 15 YEARS.
I cannot believe that either…I have been so blessed to have met some of the nicest people ever along the way and I thank all of you who have traveled with me during this time.

Please follow me on my two Facebook pages to keep up with my travels, tours and recommendations.  and!/donna.dawson.1069

and if you want to see some of my past tours and trips and a gazillion photos...

This year I actually kept track of some things…

I flew 111,867 miles with goodness knows how many airlines and I didn’t keep track of hours in the air or hours waiting for connections or meals that my system was subjected too…all great by the way, even in the air! No sickness from any tour or trip either!

I spent over 100 nights away from home in 37 hotels in countries like India, Holland, Morocco, London, Italy, Israel, Turkey, Norway, Mexico City, South Africa, Swaziland, and Taiwan. Spent two weeks on a cruise which included countries of Columbia, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Honduras, Bonaire and Curacao and spent one night on the gorgeous Blue Train from Cape Town to Pretoria.

That was my year…now I look forward to heading off in January to Ecuador and April to China for the Peony Festival. Those two tours are fully booked. I do still have a bit of space left on the Paris/Chelsea tour but that is quickly filling and then my Tuscany Italy and Argentina tours are filling up as well.

I plan so far in visiting Bulgaria and Prague for possible tours…actually Bulgaria looks amazing – have you checked that country out yet?
If you like you can visit  and check out what is coming next year and in 2014.

Here is a lovely article from Veronica Sliva on the Chelsea Flower Show…

It will be the 100th Anniversary of Chelsea in 2013…and I have to say that the Paris/Chelsea Tour is pretty darn nice so I hope you will check it out at 

I do hope you visit  at least once a week to get caught up on the latest articles from wonderful passionate writers who just love to share their words with you. Have you also checked out the Garden Destinations area? You can add your favourite gardens that you just fell in love with and want others to know about…and if it is listed already you can add to it. It’s growing by leaps and bounds.

Garden clubs get free space on our site too

We also have an area for garden related events

I started  way back in 1996 as a resource for gardeners, anywhere they garden. I hope you visit often and share it with your friends…it has always been totally free too.

I will end now as I know you have spent enough time reading my words…Tom and I wish you and your family a truly blessed time during the holidays and as my friend in Israel said to me…’ Have fun, eat lots, drink less and be well and happy’.

Here’s hoping for a great 2013 in the garden!

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