Australian Landscape Conference / ALC Garden Tours
Warwick Forge has been travelling in India, Greece, London, Cornwall, Amsterdam, Mallorca and is currently en route to Madrid. Here is his June, 2016 News Sheet…
NEW CONFERENCE DATE
23-25 March, 2018
Following our last News Sheet, subscribers responded overwhelmingly in favour of holding future conferences in March instead of September. The reasons provided include - that the worlds of horticulture, landscaping and gardens are extremely busy in September, changing the date will avoid clashes with other conferences, overseas tours and also, that Autumn in Australia is just that much less busy than Spring.
Thank you for your comments which left us with no alternative but to change the dates accordingly. It also means that those wishing to attend the 2018 International Flower and Garden Show in Melbourne may do so at the same time.
INDIA IS AMAZING!
It is eleven years since I was last India, but the changes even in this short period have been quite astonishing. You meet so may people, especially the young, who are clearly better educated, enterprising and determined to seek the sort of lifestyle that those of us in the West have enjoyed for decades.
This is very evident – for example, I had rated Delhi International Airport as one of the worst in the world – today, it is ranked in the top ten! Modern cars from Europe and Asia are everywhere and finding good hotels, food and service is no longer a daunting challenge. In so many fields today, India is producing goods of outstanding design and recently, it overtook China as the fastest growing large economy.
Our March 2018 tours of India and Kashmir are now booking well and the closing date for the Early Bird discount is 1 July. Cheap fares are also available to and from India at the time of writing – so now is a great time to give these tours serious thought.
You may download the Itineraries from this website or we can send it to you. In addition to the many features mentioned in the Itineraries, a range of additional features are planned:-
Those taking the Kashmir tour have the option of spending a night on a beautifully restored houseboat on Lake Dal (with mod cons). You will be paddled across Lake Dal in a traditional Shikari to begin your romantic evening. You also have the option to ‘stay on’ in the Vale of Kashmir for two extra days to simply relax and enjoy this most beautiful Vale which is so unique. It’s an option that Sue and I will certainly take up!
Indians and Britons often developed an amazing affinity over the centuries! Anne Wright, (‘Last of the Memsahibs’) is British by birth and lived in Calcutta during Partition in1947. She and her husband elected to ‘stay on’, and she is now an Indian citizen and simply loves the country. We visit her at Lingwood Stud, where she breeds racehorses.
I dined with her recently and she is as bright as a button. She has a strong involvement in wildlife conservation, is Founding Trustee, World Wide Fund for Nature, a Member of the Tiger Task Force for Project Tiger in 1970 and for her wildlife work, awarded an MBE.
Close by Annie Wright, British couple Annie and Martin Howard also stayed on and opened an elegant, colonial style bungalow where we will dine. The opportunity to meet these people is extremely rare and precious.
In New Delhi we will be taken on a tour by Pradip Krishen, - leading expert on Indian flora with a keen interest in the trees of Delhi and revegetation projects. Professor Dr Priyaleen Singh has worked on several urban conservation and historic landscape projects including the exciting complex at Sanskriti Kendra which we will visit.
In Agra we plan to meet with Dr Amita Baig – representative for the World Monuments Fund – currently working on the Itmad-ud-Daulah Tomb in Agra.
In Kashmir, we meet the charming Saima Iqbal – conservation architect working on heritage sites in Srinagar and the World Heritage status proposal for six Mughal Gardens in Kashmir.
While in Srinagar, we will enjoy the Maharaja’s hospitality at a Reception at his fascinating old residence which from its splendid terraced garden, enjoys fabulous views out across Lake Dal to the magnificent Himalayas in the distant background.
The wonderful landscaper Aniket Bhagwat has also been most enthusiastic and suggested various special events for the tour.
SOUTH AMERICAN TOURS
These two tours are planned for Sept – Oct 2017 and may well be the last opportunity to see so many wonderful gardens on that continent.
The tours are subject to review but will be finalized very shortly to enable bookings.
GREEK ISLES TOURS
Our May tour of Greece led by Trisha Dixon with support from Thomas Doxiadis - with me as the sleeping partner - proved a powerfully memorable two weeks. As Trisha had promised... ‘the mythology, history, botany, literature, art, music, climate, sea and the wonderfully healthy Mediterranean cuisine of fresh seafood, salads, olives, ouzo, wine and kefi (good spirits) combined to make this a stunning two week tour…’
We started in Athens with the Parthenon and the famous Mediterranean garden at Sparoza providing our highlights.
At Hydra, time really did seem to stand still as we absorbed the extraordinary peace and harmony resulting from the total absence of motor cars. There were long walks up and down historic landscapes with visits to houses such as the late George Johnston’s amongst others – houses which exuded peace, harmony and tranquility.
But it was at Kardamyli on the Peloponnese at the home of Patrick Leigh Fermor and his wife Joan where we felt the most perfect combination of both house and garden. The house is superbly designed and richly endowed, like the garden, with a range of eccentricities which belied the enormous thought and care invested in the whole. And somehow, this eyrie, perched on the coast and looking out to sea, seemed sublimely in harmony with its Mediterranean flora and deep blue waters beyond. One almost expected Odysseus to walk up and join us from the shore...
Then on to the remote Mani region which was so rugged and unproductive that it has never been conquered by invading enemies. Ancient villages and the odd Ottoman Turkish fort did nothing to dispel the notion that these were truly Homeric landscapes. Indeed, my journey was much enhanced by reading the remarkable, The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters by Adam Nicolson. An amazing book!
Kythera proved the surprise packet – so little was known of it and it had felt so little impact from tourism that the ancient villages, taverners, valleys and friendly locals seemed to be still immersed in another era.
Then on to Paros and Antiparos with Thomas and Marina Doxiadis where we surveyed the huge landscapes looking out to sea with houses and gardens quietly sitting within the contours and never intruding with excess. There was much to imbibe from this gentle landscaper who designs with nature and respects how the landforms evolved over the millennia.
Of course we visited various modern homes, gardens and galleries and drank our fair share of sumptuous meals and local vino.
Trisha Dixon deserves the most especial praise - enabling us to share in her profound passion for these special islands with special places which somehow retain their values and seem to stretch back to the origins of Western Civilization with its wonderful impulses - such as art, science and perhaps above all, democracy.
Note – a special thanks also to John and Angela Velos for joining us on this epic journey. John, who began life in the Mani, provided encyclopedic background information and insights, which illuminated many aspects of our tour.
Such a wonderful, very special tour! See our website for details of the 2017 tour.