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Our Experts

Our team of expert garden advisors work together to find the best private and iconic gardens to visit around the world. Your travel experience will be greatly enhanced by our professional and knowledgeable Botanical Guides and Guest Lecturers. They will provide informative talks on specific topics and themes, as well as be on hand to answer questions during informal chats.

Sophie Thomson Botanical Guide

Sophie Thomson

Sophie is a familiar face from ABC's Gardening Australia. She is also a popular gardening author and her latest book Sophie's Patch is a best-seller. The avid horticulturalist's enduring love affair with gardening stems from growing up in the family nursery in the Adelaide Hills.

botanical guide anthea guthrie

Anthea Guthrie

Winner of five RHS gold medals, and many accolades, Anthea is a garden designer and teacher who has exhibited at Chelsea, Gardeners’ World Live, Cardiff and Hampton Court Palace RHS shows. She has travelled all over the world as a speaker on gardens and gardening. She has a special interest in garden history and medicinal plants.

botanical guide simon rickard

Simon Rickard

Simon is one of Botanica’s most experienced guides with an incredible knowledge of gardens. He has acted as Head Gardener for Diggers Club for six years, as well as manage the Garden of St. Erth and Annie Smithers’ Kitchen Garden in Kyneton.

botanical guide judy horton

Judy Horton

Judy has had over a decade of experience as a garden adviser and is the author of two gardening books. Judy was an awarded an OAM for her services to horticulture and is a member of the Australian Institute of Horticulture, the Horticultural Media Association and is the Communication Manager for Yates. She is a keen gardener and is currently horticultural editor for the Garden Clubs of Australia magazine.

botanical guide toby musgrave

Toby Musgrave

Dr Toby Musgrave has a passion for horticulture and garden history, which began at a very early age. Toby is an authority on garden history and design, and shares his enthusiasm and knowledge as an author and lecturer on television and radio.

Brian Healy

Brian Healey

Brian is a gifted artist, teacher and linguist who has been inspiring audiences and pupils for many years. Having established his own studio and gallery in France in the 1990s, Brian brings a unique insight into the world of the artist. Combine this with his passion for gardening, travel and European history, his lectures are both entertaining and informative.

botanical guide teena crawford

Teena Crawford

Teena studied horticulture at Burnley in Melbourne. She is the manager of Smith & Gordon in Melbourne, who are suppliers to the retail and landscape industries throughout Australia. Teena is also a gardening journalist and a co-presenter of a radio program.

botanical guide talie kenyon

Talei Kenyon

Since a young age, Talei has had the opportunity to live in parts of Asia and the Pacific, enjoying an introduction to exotic landscapes. She has enjoyed leading a number of international tours with Botanica, sharing her knowledge about plants and garden history.

botanical guide julie prent

Julie Prent

Julie has a Diploma of Horticultural Science from Burnley in Melbourne and has been involved in horticultural education for the last decade. She and her husband have a garden design business and have also grown plants for the nursery and florist industry.

Tracey Foster

Tracy Foster

UK-based Tracy is a garden designer, a garden design tutor as well as bring a show garden judge at shows in Yorkshire. She also runs her own short courses in Leeds. Passionate about gardening since childhood, Tracy has a degree in Plant Biology and many years of practical experience including producing award-winning RHS show gardens.

Arno King

Arno King

Arno King is a landscape architect and horticulturist based in Brisbane, where he works on a varied range of projects, including home gardens, parks and streetscapes. He is a regular speaker at conferences and teaches horticulture and landscape design. Arno’s passion is planting design and the innovative use of plants in the subtropical climate. He is currently developing an acreage garden where he can experiment with these ideas.

Diggers Club

The Diggers Club

The Diggers Club is Australia’s largest garden club. They are passionate about preserving the best traditions and nurture three historic gardens, all of which we visit on many of our tours. Many of their head gardeners are especially chosen as our Botanical Guides, so you can enjoy their expertise.

Sarah O'Neil

Sarah O'Neil

Sarah is a passionate gardener and professional gardening writer, award winning blogger and speaker, with her columns a regular feature in the NZ Herald and Kiwi Gardener magazine. A Yates and Gardena brand ambassador, she has also featured on various TV shows including Seven Sharp, Get Growing and Cook the Books.

Jac Semmler

Jac Semmler

Jac Semmler with her inescapable passion for all things gardening, leads Ornamental plants as Ornamental Category Manager at the Diggers Club, and has worked in different areas of expertise including perennials and heirloom seeds. Jac has travelled far and wide nationally and internationally with her professional and personal curiosity for plants and gardens.

Sophie Holloway

Sophie Holloway

Sophie is a florist and keen gardener with has a strong interest in art. Constance Spry trained, she has worked with Kevin O’Neil Florist and was a member of the management team at the Mandarin Oriental HK, overseeing the flowers and seasonal decorations. After returning to Melbourne Sophie established her own flower business, returning to further study garden design at Burnley.

Ross McKinnon

Ross McKinnon

Ross is the former curator in charge of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. Ross is Patron, Life or Honorary Member of 32 Horticulture organisations, including a retired State Chairman and National Board Member of ‘Open Gardens Australia’. In 1994, Ross was nominated as a Fellow of the Linnean Society London, appointed Chairman of the Council Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens in 1993, 1998 and 2003, and on Australia Day 1999 was awarded The Order of Australia for Outstanding Services to Horticulture.

Bebe Sanders

Bebe Sanders

Bebe is a qualified Horticulturalist, Garden Designer and Horticultural Educator. She runs her own garden design and horticultural advisory business. Bebe studied Botany at the University of Adelaide, gaining an Honours Degree in Science and has since completed a Graduate Certificate in Education and Diploma in Environmental Management.

Megan Backhouse

Megan Backhouse

Megan Backhouse writes the gardening page for The Age newspaper and across Fairfax Media’s Australian publications. She has been a journalist for 30 years, writing on gardening, landscape design and the visual arts. Since completing a Master of Urban Horticulture at Burnley she has also been developing her own garden from bare paddocks.

Ian Hutton

Ian Hutton

Naturalist, author and photographer Ian Hutton has lived on Lord Howe Island for more than 40 years and has written 12 books, including a field guide to the plants of the island and a fern guide. Ian has also worked on a number of research projects on plants, birds, geology and climate change and has published numerous scientific papers.