China – Flower Blossoms & Peony Festival Tour
April 8th to April 22nd, 2008

‘Nothing if more delightful than to meet new friends from afar’

‘Your tour to China was very well done and I know we got to see a lot more than anyone. I also know that if you gave the tour, the accommodation and the food would be good as you did such a great job on my Chelsea tour.’
‘I thought the arrangements in China were very well done with unexpected snags dealt with quickly. Friends have asked whether we would go to China again. Without hesitation, we say that we certainly would. We thought that the language barrier would inhibit meeting Chinese people but this was not the case. We found them friendly and eager to meet us and have photos of their kids and families. China is at the same time historically stunning and dynamically modern. It would take a lifetime to explore it in detail and by that time, it would likely have changed beyond recognition. We saw what we expected to see and a whole lot more. Having gardens as a principal focus was a great idea. There are simply too many diversions possible unless there is a meaningful focus such as we had on this tour. Overall value for time/money.... excellent. I enjoyed the cultural aspects (temples, tea plantation, crafts shops etc) as it helped me understand the gardens, why things are the way they are.’

In 2005 I had the pleasure of seeing some of these sights that we visited on this very special custom tour. It was pretty awesome arriving into Beijing and what surprised me even more was to see how modern it was and how green with many parks. Beijing can trace its history back 3,000 years and is the capital of China.

The Chinese have enjoyed and cultivated flowers for at least 3000 years. Ancient poems celebrate the people’s happiness when spring flowers came to the market. Peonies, chrysanthemums, camellias and other flowers in countless hybrid varieties of have long been grown and enjoyed in China. Each of the four seasons is associated with special flowers, and today there are many festivals that celebrate all the varieties of flora that the Chinese dearly love.

In the spring of 2008 we conducted a special tour of China, my first tour there, and it was a resounding success. As a result more are planned so please check on our tours only site at  for the latest and most unique garden tours.

I arrived into Beijing on the 7th of April as I was meeting with Susan from China TV to do a short do it yourself program with her for local television the morning of the 8th. That morning I met with her and off we went to visit some of her friends and their gardens before setting up for the shoot in one of those gardens. The area was upper middle class where the homes were big and in gated communities. What I loved about the area was the gates at each of the homes…very sophisticated. The spring flowering trees were a joy to see in this neighborhood and meeting Susan’s friends was wonderful. For the shoot I had to speak slowly and as I was speaking had to do two short pieces using items that could be found around the home. I picked boots and children’s blue jeans. Plants could then be put in and rotated into the garden once the blooms were spent. Easy to make with items found in the home. Then after this was done I would put all my words into an email so they could translate it into Chinese for the program.

Susan is an author of garden books as well as photographer and I got to see what her work was like as she gave me copies to take home with me. She writes for local magazines as well so is a very busy lady. So now I have a video coming with the program on it, and well as a magazine coming that features some of the photos that I have taken for a spring garden article. It will be very interesting to see how these two turned out.

April 9th was the official arrival into Beijing Capital International Airport where they were met and delivered to the Jinglun hotel. We later met for our welcome dinner.

An ancient king named Wu was the first to declare Beijing a capital city in 1057 BC. The area in ancient times comprised a Chinese kingdom named You (pronounced “Yoh”). It first served as the capital city of all of China during the reign of the Mongol emperors in the Yuan Dynasty in the 13th century. The city has gone by the names of Ji, Zhongdu, Dadu, and finally Beijing (“Northern Capital”), when the Ming Dynasty Emperor Cheng Zu moved the capital here from Nanjing (“Southern Capital”) in 1421. Beijing was widely known as Peking by the Western world before 1949.
Jinglun Hotel


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