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In the Golden Afternoon: The Chelsea Flower Show Tour

By Megan Ann Williams

Each summer, the Baylor Alumni Association (BAA) Travel Program offers several travel opportunities around the world. Trips can vary in location and duration, and they always offer excellent service at a reasonable price.

This year, the BAA Travel Program hosted a trip to the Chelsea Flower Show and English Gardens in London from Saturday, May 21 to May 28.

“You can’t describe it. It is just magnificent,” said Bob Anne McMullen Senter ‘63, the BAA’s travel coordinator and programs assistant. The show hosted an array of landscape architects and designers, gardening experts, and a multitude of blooming buds. It is held annually by the Royal Horticultural Society and has been in existence since 1862.

The BAA group spent six hours at the show, but it was anything but tiresome. “When we were in the gardens, we were kind of on our own,” Senter said. “You could sit and listen to the birds.”

The Chelsea Flower Show is the most famous garden event in the world. Nurseries and growers enchanted visitors with their displays of color from some of the world’s finest plant collections. Experts were always on hand to answer questions about gardening and discuss techniques, both old and new. “I don’t know when I have enjoyed a trip more,” said Blakie LeCrone, a senior lecturer at Baylor.

The Baylor group also traveled to Brighton, where they relaxed among the shops, pubs, churches, and parks that adorned the countryside. “It was fabulous,” said Senter. LeCrone echoed the sentiment, saying, “The entire trip was first class from the schedule to the excellent guides.” Brighton’s beautiful landscapes and colorful countrysides were just a preview of the sights that were to come.

One of the most spectacular architectural landmarks the group visited was the Royal Pavilion, built in 1787, once the home of King George IV. The pavilion began as a simple eighteenth-century farm that was later changed into a palace. It combines both Asian exoticisms with English tastes. Their guide through this “amazingly spectacular palace” was the Royal Pavilion Under Butler of the home, said Senter. A prestigious household secretary of sorts who helps organize gatherings within the pavilion, the Under Butler provided the group with unique insight into what goes into running such a massive estate.

This fall the BAA’s travel program will be offering several other amazing travel opportunities, including trips to Scotland, Chicago, and the Amalfi Coast. If you are interested in going on a cruise, jump aboard a Cradle of History Oceania Cruise from Istanbul to Athens in November, and a Tahitian Jewels and Caribbean Pearls cruise the following spring. The BAA’s travel program will be offering the Chelsea Flower Show trip again in 2012. To inquire about reservations, or to find out more about the travel program, visit the BAA Travel Page or email Bob Anne Senter.

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