A garden for the Queen: Château de Tarascon

In the years of the 15th C before France was consolidated as a nation by a succession of kings the country was ruled and contested by several Royal houses vying for supremacy among them those based in Naples, Provence, Aragon, Savoy, Sicily and Anjou. Between them they parlayed and sought alliances with bigger powers, particularly the Holy Roman Empire and the Papal State. Continue reading

The Hawaiian lei that wasn’t

Every morning at around 9.30am at our beautiful Waikiki hotel, a large white box would arrive and be secreted beside the valet and entry area. I loved this box, as I knew inside were hundreds of fresh dendrobium orchid leis which would be placed around the necks of weary but smiling guests of the hotel. Continue reading

Take the ancient Silk Road to a 2,500-year old garden

Nowhere but Iran can you walk among the ruins of a garden created more than 2,500 years ago. Nowhere else on earth can you find an entire suite of nine UNESCO World Heritage Persian Gardens. And nowhere else has one guiding principle of garden design not only persisted for more than two millennia, but also inspired and influenced the creation of the Mughal and other great gardens of the world. Continue reading

Berber home and garden, Morocco

East of Marrakech, over Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains, a desert landscape riddled with spectacular gorges and valleys presides. At the time of my visit in November, snow-capped peaks rendered this ancient land of Berbers even more panoramic. In their pink and red-hued villages, built so clearly from the earth right there, dwell a truly hospitable people. I had the good fortune to visit the home and garden of one Berber family. Continue reading

Jardin Antique Méditerranéen – a colonial Roman garden

Recently your Branch Head was honoured to lead a small party of keen gardeners and garden-lovers to Montpellier in the south of France, almost but not quite on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. A highlight of the tour was a visit to the Jardin Antique Méditerranéen at Balaruc-le-Bains on the bay Etang de Thau. The garden is intended to replicate the mood and reality of a colonial Roman garden of some 2000 years ago. Continue reading

Bhutan: The Land of The Thunder Dragon

Recently in a travel article, there was listed the ’10 safest destinations that aren’t involved in conflict’. Not a bad list but Bhutan was overlooked (possibly unheard of!) but, in my view, should have been top of the pile. Anyway – it’s a hidden gem and hopefully you will get a feel for one of my favourite countries when you read on. Continue reading

The exotic gardens and culture of Spain

On my first visit to Spain, I ran around madly photographing Mediterranean herbs and flowers I’d seen in gardens but not in nature, stunning garden landscapes, and everything washed in that sunlight that has besotted so many artists over the years. What a place! I can’t wait to return to Spain in May next year to lead Australians Studying Abroad’s Gardens in Spanish Culture tour. Continue reading

Exploring Koishikawa Kōrakuen, Tokyo’s Edo-period stroll garden

While the weather in Sydney has been really heating up, I’ve escaped to a cooler side of the world to do something I’ve yearned to do for a while now – see Kyoto’s autumn colour! Some connoisseurs say that autumn is even more beautiful than spring, but when I lived in Japan for 6 months a few years ago, I had to make a choice and spring won. But now I’m back with a vengeance! Raa! Continue reading

Two Madrid garden masterpieces

In Spain’s capital, two impressive garden works caught my eye and considerably enhanced my ‘art experience’. In a city justifiably renowned for three great art museums, these outdoor living works offer their own distinctive appeal and artistry. Continue reading

Have I got a deal for you!

A phone rings. It is answered.

Hello.
G’day Trev. You are ‘the’ Trevor Nottle aren’t you Trev?
Yes.
Well Trev, have I got a deal for you. Can you meet me at the airport coffee bar so I can tell you about it?
Who are you?
Sorry, Trev, mate, should have said. I’m Tom from Gotta Go Travel but every one calls me Gabby because I talk so much. Just call me Gabby Trev. Yeah, I’ll be coming through Adelaide next Thursday morning could we meet I have an idea to discuss with you.

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