Garden and Nature Tours

Your escort Cole Burrell is an acclaimed international lecturer, garden designer and the author of 12 gardening books. He has escorted garden and nature tours throughout the United States as well as to Canada, Europe and the Americas.

C. Colston (Cole) Burrell has teamed up with Carlson Wagonlit Travel and The Minnesota State Horticultural Society to offer personalized leisure tours to great gardens and natural areas around the globe. From Seattle to South Africa, we arrange one of a kind tours focused on the best private and public gardens, and the most ecologically diverse natural areas, to create once in a lifetime travel adventures.

Boston Garden and Nature Tour with Cole Burrell
Carlson Wagonlit Travel with Cole Burrell
Minnesota State Horticultural Society and Cole Burrell

Oh, the music, the camaraderie, the places we have seen....what a grand time! Cole, thank you for all you did to create a truly memorable visit to those eye-feast gardens.
Valerie Kyllo

A tour with Cole Burrell is always memorable. We see gardens that we could not otherwise see. Our individual garden tours are guided by head gardeners and garden owners.
Karen Sutherland

I am pleased to present our upcoming tour lineup for 2019.

Dear Garden and Nature Travelers,

My new website devoted exclusively to tours and travel has been well received. I have gotten a lot of positive feedback. If you have not seen it yet, please click on the link below to see upcoming tours, travel tips and more..


I have a great lineup of tours for 2019. I will be posting brochures as soon as we have all the details worked out, so please reserve the dates on your calendar. I am happy to add your name to the interested list so that you can receive advance notice of the tours. Just send me an e-mail and indicate which tour you are interested in.

Garden Tours for 2019 with the Minnesota State Horticulture Society and Carlson Wagonlit Travel.

Join The Minnesota Horticultural Society and me this coming year for three exciting tours.
Spring Gardens of Charleston and Savannah April 4-12, 2019
Gardens and Castles of Ireland and Scotland
June 4-15, 2019
Autumnal Gardens of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley September 3-9, 2019
Registration for these tours is now open, view information at: or Email Anna Kamrow at Carlson Wagonlit Travel.

Other Exciting International Destinations

Brazil’s Gardens and Birds: Celebrating Roberto Burle Marx and Tropical Birding, July 9-23, 2019
We pushed this tour back a year to allow travelers more time to plan for an extended tour. I have partnered with the Connecticut Audubon Society to offer a very special tour for 2019, a return to Brazil. Our exclusive itinerary includes garden visits to experience the genius of Roberto Burle Marx and to spend time in two extraordinary wild places, Itatiaia National Park and REGUA Atlantic Forest Reserve. Registration is now open. Check out the exciting itinerary by downloading the Brazil Brochure and Brazil Registration form.

2019 Destinations

January 10-20, 2019Captivating Cuba: Nature Meets Culture with the Caribbean Conservation Trust

In association with the Caribbean Conservation Trust. In March of 2016 I spent two weeks in Cuba exploring the culture and natural history of this amazing Caribbean island. From antique cars and the sights and sounds of old Havana, to beautiful beaches and amazing birdlife, Cuba is an enticing destination. Explore art galleries, historic architecture and beautiful gardens. We will spend five nights in Havana with an architecture tour of La Habana Viejo, the National Museum of Decorative Arts, the Harbor Forts, Parque Central, Revolution Square, the National Cemetery and more. Music pours into the streets in the old town.

  •  Captivating Cuba Garden and Nature Tour with Cole Burrell

Postponed until April 2020. Details available in December.Spring Gardens of Charleston and Savannah

Cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and pastel antebellum houses define the port city of Charleston, South Carolina, founded in 1670. Beautiful architecture and lush gardens are woven throughout the historic neighborhoods of Charleston, which has consistently been named among the 10 most courteous and friendly cities in America. Unsurprisingly the city has been renowned for three centuries as “a city set in a garden.” I have planned our visit during the peak of the city's blooming season to showcase Charleston’s distinctive architecture, history, gardens and culture. Our journey features private gardens, parks and historic landscapes such as Magnolia Plantation, Middle Place and Brookgreen Gardens. Of particular interest is Mrs. Whaley’s Charleston Garden, made famous by a book of the same name.

Savannah, Georgia has the largest urban landmark historic district in the United States. In this 2.5 square mile area, we discover an astonishingly preserved genteel city encompassing the beauty, architecture and history of the old South. Savannah was founded in 1733 by General James Edward Oglethorpe, whose colonial plan was based on a grid of residences and broad thoroughfares with spacious public squares located at regular intervals throughout the city. This design has blossomed into a gracious city whose downtown has been enhanced by more than fifty years of preservation activity. Twenty-two oak-canopied squares surrounded by lovely homes and churches give Savannah a character of its own.

We will explore this unique city through walking tours, private garden visits, and guided visits to historic properties like the Juliette Gordon Lowe Center, Green-Meldrim House, Owens-Thomas House and the Isaiah Davenport House. No visit to Savannah is complete without a stroll in Bonaventure Cemetery, made famous by the novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

  •  Spring Gardens ofCharleston and Savannah with Cole Burrell

June 3—11, 2019Enchanting Gardens of Ireland

June 10—16, 2019Scotland's Glorious Gardens

Travel with me to the enchanted Emerald Isle and the land of Loch Lomond to visit Gardens and Castles of Ireland and Scotland. This unique tour offers the opportunity to visit both countries in tandem on a combined tour, or just Ireland or Scotland on a shorter single-country tour. Rather than offering a combined tour, we have created two tours that can be taken individually or in tandem. You can register for Ireland alone or with Scotland. We have also added an extension in Scotland to allow for more time exploring the gardens, castles and manor houses of the northeast highlands.

My co-leader is my friend and associate Karin Stanley. Karin is an Irish-born artist and garden designer who now lives in the Boston area. Some of you met Karin on our Boston tour and have seen her private garden and her extraordinary Celtic sculptures. Karin will be our host throughout our time in both Ireland and Scotland. She has made it possible for us to visit private gardens and homes that are not open to the public, as well as many national trust properties and a few exquisite public gardens. She is well versed in the history of these two countries and lectures widely about the gardens that we plan to visit.

Here is how the tours work. We start the Ireland tour by flying in to Dublin for five nights exploring gardens before heading toward Belfast for two nights, visiting beautiful landscapes and gardens in Northern Ireland. If travelers wish to depart after the seven days in Ireland, they will be transferred to the Dublin airport for flights home. Those continuing to Scotland will fly from Belfast to Glasgow for five nights. In Scotland we will delve into lush gardens bathed by the Gulf Stream, see castles and grand manors, and visit the famous Garden of Cosmic Speculation.

If you want more of Scotland, we have arranged a five-night extension to explore additional grand estates and ruined castles in the northeast. Those heading home after the main tour can fly from Edinburgh or Glasgow. For travelers continuing on, we have arranged an exciting and varied list of gardens and estates sure to enthrall. Two of these properties are featured in the popular TV series Outlander. We will also visit Balmoral, the royal castle. If you have traveled in Ireland and are only interested in the Scottish gardens, you start your tour by joining us in Glasgow.

  •  Gardens and Castles of Ireland and Scotland with Cole Burrell

JULY 9-23, 2019Brazil's Gardens and Birds: Celebrating Roberto Burle Marx and Tropical Birding, with Connecticut Audubon

Brazil is a land of staggering beauty and unsurpassed diversity. It is also the birthplace of Roberto Burle Marx, one of the most influential and groundbreaking landscape artists of the 20th Century. Please join me and Patricia Silva to explore Burle Marx's landscape design genius, the natural wonders of the endangered Atlantic Forest Biome, and the art, history, culture, and cuisine of three cosmopolitan cities: Rio de Janeiro, Petropolis, and Teresopolis. This tour has something for everyone.

One can’t go to Brazil without experiencing Rio and its many wonders. We will be staying on Copacabana Beach, a great jumping off point for independent exploration. While in Rio we will visit the iconic Sugar Loaf and Corcovado. The Jardim Botanico is another highlight of our itinerary. From Rio we travel to REGUA, a unique Atlantic Coast Forest Reserve featuring a restored wetland complex alive with birds and wildlife. Here, over 470 species of birds thrive in the restored habitats and forest fragments of this endangered ecoregion.

Our next destination is Petropolis, also known as The Imperial City of Brazil, nestled among the Serra dos Órgos Mountains. Although it is noted for its mild climate and beautiful surroundings, its main attraction is the former Summer Palace of the second Brazilian emperor, which is now the Imperial Museum. We will see some iconic private Burle Marx gardens in the hills surrounding the city. On the way, we stop in nearby Teresopolis to visit a newly restored Burle Marx garden.

We then travel to Fazenda Vargem Grande, arguably the greatest garden created by Burle Marx, on our way to Itatiaia National Park, Brazil’s oldest national park. This lush Atlantic Coast rain forest is heaven for birders (over 350 species of birds are found here). We stay at the all- inclusive Hotel do Ype, which provides opportunities to pursue diverse interests. Please join us for this enlightening exploration of the cultural and natural history of the extraordinary country called Brazil.

  •  Brazil Garden and Nature Tour with Cole Burrell

September 3-9, 2019Autumnal Gardens of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley

Philadelphia is known for its history, food, art, and museums. It’s also known as America’s Gardening Capital. Why? Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley now claim one of the largest concentrations of the fine public and private gardens in the world. In fact the entire region is often called “America’s Gateway to Gardens”.

From the grandeur of Longwood Gardens and Winterthur, to the naturalistic beauty of Mt. Cuba and avant-garde plantings of Chanticleer, there are gardens to delight every aesthetic. Our visits to private gardens run the gamut of styles, from cottage to contemporary, each showcasing meticulous design and planting. Our journey takes us through the campus of Swarthmore College and the renowned Scott Arboretum, to town gardens in Swarthmore and West Chester, Northern Delaware, and the bucolic countryside of Bucks County along the Delaware River.

  •  Gardens of Philadelphia and the Delaware with Cole Burrell

New Tours for 2020 and Beyond


Gardens and Parks of South Florida

25 English Gardens You Must See (Before You Die) and Chelsea Flower Show

Gardens and Temples of Tokyo and Kyoto

If you are interested in these tours, please contact
Cole Burrell to add your name to the list for advance brochure and registration information.

Gardens and Temples of Tokyo and Kyoto Garden and Nature Tour with Cole Burrell

Chile’s Gardens and Glaciers

Secret Gardens of Santa Fe

Gardens and National Parks of New Zealand

If you are interested in these tours, please contact
Cole Burrell to add your name to the list for advance brochure and registration information.

Boston Garden and Nature Tour with Cole Burrell

Phone: 434-825-6005
PO Box 76, Free Union, Virginia 22940

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