In just about a month, I'll be visiting gardens in Germany and the Netherlands for a couple of weeks on a self-guided garden study tour.
I've been wanting to do this for several years, after I started learning more about the 'new wave' gardening trends practiced by Dutch, German, and English garden designers, creating naturalistic gardens, and often using many of our North American natives.
It should be quite interesting. I'll be visiting Piet and Anna Oudolf's private garden during their open days, as well as Mien Rhys' garden, now open to the public. There are a number of other destinations on the itinerary, too, Hermannshof and Weihenstephan. The latter requires dealing with Oktoberfest visitors, so I may not make it there. We'll see. But there are lots of other gardens, natural areas, and cultural sites to visit, too, so I'm totally looking forward to the traveling.
I spent a year in Germany as a post-doc almost three decades ago, so it will be interesting to return. My gardening companion and I went to an International Botanical Congress in Berlin back in 1987, and spent 3 weeks traveling in Germany, Austria, and Northern Italy, but we haven't visited Germany since, choosing more far flung places to travel to (the exception have been trips to Northern Italy in 2001 and Southern Italy in 2008).
I'm currently immersing myself in reading and listening to German (it's amazing how much that I still comprehend), and enjoying reading gardening blogs in German, too! It's great fun to be able to listen to podcasts, read magazines online, etc.