Day 1: Sunday 6th May
Depart at 12:25 from London Heathrow on British Airways flight BA0450, arriving in Palma at 15:50. We then travel into the countryside for a warm welcome at Gran Hotel Sóller where we stay for two nights and dine on excellent Mediterranean cuisine with local wines included.
Day 2: Monday 7th May
Start the day at Sóller Jardí Botànic, a centre for conservation and study of Mediterranean flora. Further along the road is Jardines de Alfabia. In 1229 King Jaume I rewarded his ally, the Moor known as Benhabet, with a large estate, thanking him for his help in conquering the island. Benhabet created the lush terraced garden in the Arabic fashion that continues to impress. Down on the central plains we find Biniagual, a private hamlet lovingly restored to include a contrasting series of small gardens surrounding a sequence of historic homesteads producing excellent vintages. On arrival, we are offered wines & tapas. Return early to Sóller, with time for a stroll before dining together at the hotel.
Day 3: Tuesday 8th May
A day in the north-east begins at the famed garden of Torre d’Ariant (managed now by the Black Vulture Foundation) created by Heidi Gildemeister, doyenne of Mediterranean gardens. Famous for her books on Mediterranean gardening, Mrs Gildemeister has learnt from first-hand experience about gardening on the dry eastern reaches of the Serra de Tramuntana. A light lunch will be eaten at Torre d’Ariant before travelling down from the mountains to the peninsula of Alcúdia to see the unusual Museu Sa Bassa Blanca, otherwise known as the Yannick and Ben Jakober Foundation, with sculpture park, rose garden and private art museum. We drive to Hilton Sa Torre where we will spend the next three nights with evening meals included.
Day 4: Wednesday 9th May
A duo of delights in the south-east of the Island: Son Muda is the home of Helene & Christian Lindgens who are developing an ambitious and wonderfully intriguing white garden decorated with a host of sculptures by local artist Pedro Flores. After lunch at a local restaurant, we are the guests of Professor & Mrs Liesenhoff at Ca’n Estel, an ambitious garden of roses, lavender plots and orange groves divided by a snaking dry riverbed.
Day 5: Thursday 10th May
Three friends, three very different gardens: we begin at Ca’n Beya, the small terraced garden of our guide Sally Beale before moving on to Ca’n Prim, the themed cottage garden created over several decades by Vicky Widdows. After free time to obtain our own lunches in the sea side village of Sant Elm, we drive through floral-rich meadows to Son Muleta, the exquisite garden created by Camilla Chandon, a hidden retreat enlivened by rivers of blue-flowering plants studded with olive trees and tightly-clipped silver and green Mediterranean shrubs threaded with climbing roses. Return to the hotel for a dinner together by the old windmill in the hotel grounds.
Day 6: Friday 11th May
Firstly, a special invitation to visit writer and ex-Member of Parliament, Jeffrey Archer’s garden before visiting a small garden at the private home of Señor Mateu Morro, a local nurseryman; a garden with exceptional planting featuring colourful displays of many rare species. Drive into Palma for a tapas lunch together followed by a walk around the old town to include views of patio gardens, the old Arab baths and wonderful Cathedral before returning to Palma Airport for flight BA0451 departing 20:10, arriving London Heathrow 21:45.