Northern Portugal and the Azores

March 13-23, 2013

Northern Portugal is renowned for its fine trees and graceful architecture, as well as its famous port wines-but nothing can prepare you for the gardens and their topiary.  Here the shapes are also made with camellias-Camellia japonica and Camellia sinensis-that grow to amazing heights in the mild moist air.  Skilled gardeners prune the trees into fanciful topiary garden houses and architectural forms.  Our visits will take us from Porto, into the Douro Valley and to the ancient town of Guimaraes in the timeless Lima valley as we explore the history and horticulture of the typical Portuguese manor houses or quintas and their remarkable gardens.  Then we fly south and west to the Azores.  The green and beautiful archipelago, some 900 miles west of the Portuguese mainland enchants with its remarkable landscapes, tea and pineapple plantations and bubbling volcanic springs. Our visits here will see us spending time on two of the nine islands, St.Michael's and Terceira.  Bathed by the Gulf Stream, the landscape is lush with ferns and hydrangeas, while grape vines flourish in the shelter of basaltic rocks, witness to the islands' volcanic geography. This is a remote and very special setting that both contrasts with and complements the northern Portuguese gardens, and together offers a rare glimpse into the diverse world of Portuguese horticulture.  Space is limited.  For details and to request a brochure, contact The Landscape Institute at