Find international inspiration for your flower beds and veggie patch
By Madison G. Welch
Joel Damase/Atout France
Each year at the Palace of Versailles, millions marvel at the French chateau's intricate landscaping, oversize orangerie and elaborate sculptures -- all pieces
of a royal garden that took 40 years to complete. You can join these admirers and see gardens across five continents with escorted tour provider Collette.
The eight-day "Gardens of the Loire" visits Versailles and the International Garden Festival in Chaumont, France. Per-person prices are from $2,649 before airfare, and departures are available between May and September.
Collette also examines Japanese, English and French landscaping styles in Tokyo with "The Beauty of Japan" a 13-day tour starting at $6,049 per person. Or, stay stateside with "Gardens of American History" a 10-day trip from New York City to Washington, DC, priced from $3,349.
Tour tulip fields in the Netherlands
Tulips once crashed Amsterdam's economy. In the 17th century, demand for the bulbs outpaced supply and prices rose drastically; some families even mortgaged their homes to invest. The market eventually collapsed, but the iconic blossom still enchants. Fields in bright colors -- reds, yellows, purples and more -- are a breathtaking sight, and a river cruise is a convenient way to see the vibrant displays.
Itineraries often include Keukenhof, a flowering theme park that displays 7 million bulbs and blooms each spring. An excursion is included on the eight-day "Tulip Time Cruise" from Avalon Waterways, starting at $2,349 per person before airfare.
Find fresh veggies in the Mexican Riviera
Bell peppers, chilies, mint, cilantro and other produce are grown at the adults-only El Dorado Royale, a Karisma spa resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The on-site greenhouse complex measures 70,000 square feet and yields 10 tons of hydroponic produce monthly. Request a tour and sample seasonal goods -- maybe a crunchy cucumber or flavorful tomato -- right off the vine.
El Dorado Royale serves fresh ingredients at restaurants like Jojo's, an alfresco seafood grill, and Fuentes, a "culinary theater" for cooking demos. This romantic beachfront retreat also has luxurious swim-up suites and a full spa menu.
The information in this story was accurate at the time it was published in January/February 2015. Please visit Vacations To Go or call (800) 510-4002 for current rates and details.