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English Garden Tour: What time of year, and what tour group do you recommend?

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My sister and I (from California) want to go to England to look at gardens, starting with Sissinghurst, and other wonderful attractions. Our questions are:

When should we go in 1999? We can get a flight that would give us from May 27-June 7....is this too early?

Since neither of us is completely comfortable driving in England, we're resigned to taking a tour (not our usual m.o). Is there an operator specializing in small tours? We have about 8 days to travel...which gardens would you recommend? This is one of those dreams of a lifetime, and we'd like to do it right. Thanks!

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