Tours & Talks

Leading your tour is one of my greatest pleasures. My aim is to make your days as enjoyable, inspiring and interesting as possible.

I have a wealth of experience leading garden tours in the UK, Italy, America and Morocco.

I delight in creating bespoke tours for you and your friends, for particular interest groups or for those who wish to include gardens as part of their travels. This could include historically themed garden tours, gardens not normally open to the public or a short, lively pre-dinner introductory talk related to a visit.

Whether it’s a single visit or a whole package including accommodation and transport, let’s talk.

A Tour of Three Private Gardens in the Monmouthshire Valleys

Friday 17 May 2019

A trip across the River Severn to the Monmouthshire countryside and the dramatic Wye Valley on the borders of Wales where we shall visit three very different private gardens.

Our first stop will be at Brockwier where we will gather for coffee before looking around The Barn Garden. Originally an orchard, a few of the old apple trees still survive around the house which used to be the apple barn. But over the past thirteen years, Kate Patel has transformed this steep but sunny one acre hillside garden over-looking the Wye Valley into an ornamental space of herbaceous and grasses, with bold planting groups, much of it raised from seed.

From The Barn Garden, we shall drive (about 25 mins)  on to our second garden at High Glanau, where the owner Helena Gerrish and her husband have reinstated the Arts and Crafts garden created in 1923 by Avray Tipping, the then editor of Country Life magazine. Helena will introduce the garden and the story of its history and recreation, all meticulously researched and published in her book ‘Edwardian Country Life’. We shall then tour the terraced gardens, which have wide herbaceous borders reinstated by Helena, ponds and a kitchen garden as well as woodland walks.

A two course home-cooked lunch with wine will be served on the terraces (weather permitting) with wonderful views of the Welsh mountains beyond.

After lunch we travel the short distance to Veddw, the home of Anne Wareham and Charles Hawes, who together have made a modern garden from scrubby grassland. The garden is a game of two very different halves and Anne’s exploits are told with humour and intelligence in her book ‘The Bad Tempered Gardener’, but don’t let this put you off. Anne is very welcoming to groups!

From Veddw, we depart but you may want to visit nearby Tintern Abbey or Chepstow Castle on your way home.


The Details

The day:                     Meet between 10 – 10.30 at The Barn, Brockweir. Depart around 4 – 4.30 from Veddw.

Transport:                 By your own car.* (The Severn bridge is now toll-free!)  Driving times between the gardens is no more than twenty five minutes. Car sharing is encouraged (environmentally!) and to make parking easier. Parking is limited at some of the gardens so you may need to leave your car and walk a little way if possible. If you would like to car share with someone nearby, please let me know. * If enough people would prefer to be driven I can arrange a minibus for an additional charge.

Full timings and directions will be sent out one week before.

Refreshments:           Coffee on arrival at Brockwier.

Lunch: A two course home cooked lunch, served with wine. If you have any dietary requirements, please let me know when booking.

Cost:                           £70 per person.

To Book:                   Please email me for payment details.

The small print:

The day includes visits to three private gardens, refreshments where indicated and the services of Marion Mako as tour guide and leader.

In unavoidable circumstances, we reserve the right to alter the itinerary and substitute a garden of a similar calibre

The Art of Garden Visiting

A Talk at Highfield Hall & Gardens

Falmouth, Massachusetts, USA

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 2:00 pm


Marion Mako, an English garden historian, designer, and garden tour leader will present a richly-illustrated talk: The Art of Garden Visiting. She will delight attendees with entertaining vignettes drawn from garden visitors. She will impart the history of garden visiting using some of her favorite quotations. And, most important, she will help guests discover the joy in visiting beautiful gardens and the key to making the most of these visits. Mako is a sought-after speaker and tour leader, known for her “infectious enthusiasm”. While sharing her passion for all things garden-related, she hopes participants will discover theirs.

Marion gave up her “safe” job to train as a garden designer in 2002. She received a MA in Garden History at the University of Bristol, England with Professor Timothy Mowl. “The historical, architectural, and garden knowledge gained from this course has informed, shaped, and enriched my work,” she said. She has published four books, including co-authoring two publications in the Historic Gardens of England series that covered the counties of Somerset and Cheshire.

She is a trustee of the Painswick Rococo Garden ( in the Cotswold countryside in Gloucestershire, England. Designed in the mid-1700s by Benjamin Hyett, it is the country’s sole surviving rococo garden.

Tickets are $30 or $20 for Highfield members. For additional information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 508.495.1878.

Highfield Hall & Gardens        56 Highfield Drive       Falmouth         MA

Highfield Hall & Gardens, a restored 1878 mansion and estate, is surrounded by spectacular gardens and woodlands, Highfield hosts art exhibitions, music concerts, culinary classes, festivals, family events, and public programs.  The mansion is open to visitors six days a week from April 15-October 31 and year-round for programs and functions. Open Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Sundays 12-4 p.m.  Closed Mondays except holidays. For information, call (508) 495-1878 or visit – Joanne Ingersoll, Curator of Programs and Exhibitions


“Your knowledge of plants, gardens and family history as well as being familiar with the area all coupled with your own infectious enthusiasm and caring made this year’s trip one of the best ever and we will remember it for a very long time.”

“I cannot praise our tour guide Marion Mako highly enough. She was professional, caring and very informative – I especially enjoyed her quotations.”