February 20th 2009

by Mike Knutton Alessandro Tombelli has worked for Wayfarers for six years during which he has done 34 walks: both leader and manager in Tuscany, and leader in Tuscany-Umbria and the Lakes of Northern Italy walk. He has also worked as manager of the Cinque Terre, Amalfi Coast, and Venice and the Veneto walks. His background is in horticulture and he has used his professional skills and knowledge, coupled with his amiable and playful personality to good effect both on his walks and in his book, The Garden Connection, life and adventures of a Tuscan gardener. He has international experience in the design and restoration of gardens. After graduating in horticulture in Italy, Alessandro expanded his knowledge at the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society garden at Wisley in Surrey, the Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies in York, the Monza agricultural college in Italy, and a number of major gardens in Pennsylvania. He has lectured on Italian gardens and worked as a consultant on some British and American television gardening programmes. Alessandro’s book tells the story of how he joined Wayfarers through a friend who introduced him to Michael West. Michael asked if he could design a 'garden walk' and after joining the Gardens of Dorset walk as a training exercise he did just that. The friend, Patrizia, who worked for Wayfarers for several years, trained him first as a manager, then as a leader. 'It’s wonderful working outside, discovering new and amazing places and getting to know new people on the walks,' he says. 'Clients also want to get know leaders and managers and this makes my work more interesting too. There is so much to talk about, and not just about the places we visit.' Alessandro seems to have got the bit between his teeth with his writing. Following the current 336-page paperback he is ready to write a second book. 'I have plenty of stories, especially about the walks.' Watch this space! The Garden Connection, life and adventures of a Tuscan gardener, by Alessandro Tombelli (ISBN 978-1-60702-588-7) is self-published at Euros 18, $US 22 and £15 and is available through Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. Alessandro will be on tour talking about his garden connections at the Philadelphia Flower Show - Sunday, 8 March at 1:00pm From March 9 – 15, Alessandro will be visiting towns near Philadelphia to talk about the Walks he leads, sharing camaraderie with old friends and new. We have planned some wonderful walks by day and wine and cheese evenings. We hope you will join us and bring your friends! For details, please call the Newport Rhode Island Office 1 800 249 4620 or email [email protected]

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