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GardenSMART :: GardenSMART Invites You Aboard a River Cruise to Holland and Belgium

GardenSMART Invites You Aboard a River Cruise to Holland and Belgium

By Eric Johnson, host of GardenSMART

This year GardenSMART embarks on one of our most exciting adventures ever and we'd love to have you join us! We are partnering with Alki Tours and spending 10 days visiting some of the most amazing sites in Holland and Belgium. Many of these gardens are my favorite horticultural destinations in the world. If you are a plant lover, this trip is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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In Holland we'll be visiting two of the most famous museums in Amsterdam, The Rijksmuseum and The Van Gogh Museum. From there we take a tour of Hortus Botanicus, one of the most impressive botanic gardens you will ever find. Holland is also home to the world's largest live plant auction house in Aalsmeer and their operation is breathtaking in size, scope, and cutting edge technology. We'll get a chance to see this amazing place in operation and learn how many of our favorite bulbs and plants go from the farmer to our retail garden centers.

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Next up is Keukenhof Gardens, which is home to one of the most significant bulb trials in Europe and is where many of the newest selections are evaluated. We'll be some of the first gardeners to see where the world of new selections is going next. Keukenhof is also home to an amazing castle estate and the grounds are impeccably well manicured. As we leave Amsterdam we will then head to Arnhem to visit the Het Loo Palace and Gardens. Not unlike Keukenhof, Het Loo is a magical place with amazing vistas and gardens that are unrivaled.

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As we leave Holland and head south to Belgium our first stop will be in the thriving metropolis of Antwerp, where we will visit some of their most impressive architectural structures and the gardens that surround them. From the Cathedral of Our Lady to the Grand Square, to Steen Castle we'll explore amazing gardens and structures from the past. We'll also make a stop in Ghent to visit the amazing St. Bavo's Cathedral and walk the streets of this beautiful city.

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Last, but not least, we will visit Bruges - one of my favorite European cities - with an almost magical quality that pervades its sleepy streets, quaint shops, and exquisite gardens. Some of the highlights in Bruges will be the Church of Our Lady and its grounds, the historic WWI trenches of Flanders Fields that inspired Moina Michael's famous poem, the town of Utrecht, and the stunning Kasteel de Haar.

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Along the way we'll be filming episodes that will air this summer. We would love for you to join us on this exciting whirlwind tour of some of the most memorable sites in Holland and Belgium. You'll also get a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a GardenSMART show as well as a chance to meet some of our favorite European gardens and gardeners. We look forward to seeing you there!

This trip has only 80 spaces available. Details on Alki Tours GardenSMART cruise can be found on the company's website at or by calling Alki Tours Worldwide at 800-895-2554.

About Eric Johnson, host of GardenSMART on PBS

Eric Johnson has had a long career as a plantsman. He attended the University of Georgia, where he was awarded the prestigious Dirr Scholarship. After graduating with a degree in horticulture, he became head of operations and director of propagation for several horticultural firms, culminating by being named director of horticulture for one of the oldest and most respected seed companies in the U.S. Eric continues to work on new plant introductions and growing techniques, but he remains an avid gardener, sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with the GardenSMART audience.


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