Monthly Archives: March 2013 wins 2013 Award for Best Garden Tourism Website

We were delighted to receive the 2013 Website of the Year Award. It was one of the Canadian and International Awards handed out during the Garden Tourism Conference in Toronto, Canada. The Garden Tourism Awards are presented to organizations and individuals who have “distinguished themselves in the development and promotion of the garden experience as a tourism attraction. Recipients travelled from across North America and as far away as Japan, France, Portugal, Italy, and Australia”.
“It is an honor to be part of the international community that has established an awards program to recognize the invaluable contribution the world’s outstanding garden experiences make, not only in terms of environmentally friendly and sustainable tourism, but also in terms of the equally important intangible benefits that nature brings to the soul,” said Alexander Reford, Chair of the Canadian Garden Tourism Council as he handed out the Awards. Michel Gauthier, Conference Chair, closed the event by saying, “According to Richard Benfield, authorof ‘Garden Tourism’, more people visit gardens annually in the US than visit Disneyland and Disneyworld combined, and more than visit Las Vegas in any given year. Given those impressive statistics, we’re certainly on the right track as we recognize the country and the world’s finest garden experiences in this vibrant, thriving and rapidly growing segment of the international tourism market.” The inaugural Garden Tourism Awards were presented at the 2011 Garden Tourism Conference held in Toronto. To view past winners, visit: and click on the ‘media’ tab. In the spirit of highlighting Canada and the world’s most dynamic garden experiences and GardenTourism’s limitless potential, the Canadian Garden Tourism Council, in consultation with a Canadian and international jury network, proudly announce the 2013 recipients of the Garden Tourism Awards.

Pope Francis and the green environment

Welcome to Pope Francis. The early news is good: his habits include opposing the government of Argentina, walking to work and cooking his own food. And his choice of name is presumably after St Francis of Assisi. The child abuse scandals should have brought the Roman Catholic Church to its knees, begging forgiveness, but it would be something to have a Pope who cared about the birds and the flowers and the environment. To set against this, he is said to be as much against condoms, married priests and gay clergy as his immediate predecessor. For me, one of the most terrible aspects of Catholic Child Abuse is the reflection that if they have done this with all the communications and transparency of the twenty-first century, then what else have they done over the centuries? They have always taken young boys into monasteries and I recall that Charlemagne was much concerned about the prevelance of homosexuality in monasteries. For a lively debate on these issues see:
I love the use of an ancient symbol (white smoke) to anounce Pope Francis’ election, and though not seriously worried about this contribution to global warming, we have to take an interest in the symbolism of smoke in relation to the Christianity’s lack of an environmental ethic.

Garden tourism: ‘Is London the World’s Gardening Capital?’

I am a Londoner – and, with understandable bias, regard London as the capital city of:

  • world gardens,
  • garden design
  • gardening

As argued in the above video, the reasons for this are both geographical and historical. Britain was emerging from the Pleistocene when horticultural techniques were devised (about 12,000 years ago) and they did not reach Britain until c3,800 BC. The art of making pleasure gardens came to London with the Romans, ended when they left and resumed when the Normans invaded England in 1066. Since then, there has been a steady advance in the popularity of gardening. Long may it continue! Britain is always likely to have a hard time competing with the Mediterranean countries for beach holidays – but it has very considerable opportunities for developing garden tourism. We were delighted to hear of the 2013 Garden Tourism Conference to be held in Toronto, Canada, in March – and have entered the Website in hopes of receiving an award in the Garden Tourism Website category. Further information on the London Gardens Walk – and free routemaps.