TV celebrity gardener Toby Buckland to fulfil ambition by joining Saga Sapphire’s Gardens of the Atlantic cruise

Monday 8 December 2014

TV gardener Toby Buckland has never been on a cruise but can’t wait to sail on Saga Sapphire as guest speaker on the Gardens of the Atlantic cruise in February.

TV celebrity gardener Toby Buckland to fulfil ambition by joining Saga Sapphire’s Gardens of the Atlantic cruise

The father-of-three says he has always wanted to sail on the ocean after hearing stories from his father and uncles who, as £10 Poms, went to Melbourne after the Second World War - and were there to watch the Olympic Games in 1956.

Toby, who is based in Devon, said: “They worked in the building trade but came back because my grandmother sent them a telegram to say she was unwell. They packed up everything and came home but by the time they returned she’d recovered!”He added: “All of their adventure stories stuck with me. They had seen the world by ship and I wanted to do that, too.

“The nearest I got was when I was about 17; I hitchhiked to Israel and as part of the trip I got on a ship from Piraeus, near Athens, but I only had enough money for a deck ticket. I actually had to sleep on the deck!

“I know it will be more comfortable and warmer on Sapphire!” he added.

Toby’s garden nursery, TV work, writing, organising flower festivals and family life take up almost every minute of his time so the cruise will offer him time to chance to relax and visit new destinations. He said: “Most of the itinerary is new to me. The Azores are right in the middle of the Gulf Stream so it will be wonderful to see the islands’ very special flora.

“Madeira is the crown, you see so many iconic images of the island. I have tried to go there a couple of times but arrangements fell through, once was during the Icelandic ash crisis. 

“I know the Canaries’ flora a little better because we can grow some of the species here in the West Country and city gardens in the UK, but I am excited about seeing them in the wild. The volcanic soil is very fertile yet the islands can be very windy so the plants have to adapt.”

Toby is looking forward to going out on tours with passengers to view gardens and landscapes.

He said: “Gardening is about people as well as plants – you can’t have one without the other. It will be fun to share the experiences with garden-loving passengers and so good to bring back ideas and new knowledge, after all, knowledge is key to being a good gardener.”

As guest speaker, Toby will be talking to passengers about plants and colour but admits ‘I am a terrible digresser so I will probably talking about all sorts’.

He said: “This cruise is in February so it will be such a lovely thing to be heading south - and shorten the winter!”

 “I also like good food, so with everything bundled together I can’t wait to set sail. I will no doubt put on a few pounds!”

Saga Sapphire sails from Southampton on February 16th 2015 for 19 nights. Price from £3,555pp, includes UK travel package to and from Southampton, all meals and entertainment, afternoon tea, 24-hour room service, welcome cocktail party, unlimited tea and coffee, free Wi-Fi, all on-board gratuities, porterage, free shuttle bus to nearest town centre (whenever possible and when the ship is berthed more than 500 yards away), travel insurance and additional cancellation cover. 

For details call free on 0800 061 3355 or visit


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