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Private Kent gardens open again this weekend

Enjoy a cup of tea and maybe a slice of cake while you’re there

A short while back we featured some of the private gardens in the county which were opening up as part of the National Garden Scheme. Well, another opportunity is presenting itself this coming weekend (July 17 and 18) to discover some wonderful private retreats and maybe get some inspiration for your own plots.

You can explore our beautiful county by visiting private gardens that are opening for the National Garden Scheme, raising money for nursing and health charities. They are full of garden ideas and inspiration, as well as delicious homemade cakes!

From a plantsman’s small town garden packed full of fascinating plants, to one that has a free treasure trail with prizes for all children, to others set in our beautiful countryside with room to roam. Take time to enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of cake while you are there. Some welcome dogs too – just check the relevant websites for details.

Cramptons: Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Rex’, Trochodendron aralioides, Aesculus wangii, Acer palmatum, lavender

142 Cramptons Road, Sevenoaks, Kent

A very small, lush and leafy plantsman’s oasis. A tapestry of plants selected for texture, elegance, leaf shape, long-season interest or rarity: wildlife-friendly umbellifers; acers, sassafras, tetrapanax, pseudopanax and Aesculus wangii. Immerse yourself in plants and discover what can be created and combined in a tiny space! Kent Life Garden Awards finalist (September 2019). ITV Love Your Garden.

Opening dates: Saturday 17 July (10.30am- 6pm), Sunday 18 July (10.30am- 6pm) Homemade teas. Plant sale. Admission: Adults: £3.50, Children: Free

Eureka, Westerham Hill, Greater London

Approx one-acre garden with a blaze of colourful displays in perennial borders and the eight cartwheel centre beds. Sculptures, garden art, chickens, lots of seating and stairs to a viewing platform. Many quirky surprises at every turn. Hundreds of annuals in tubs and baskets, a David Austin shrub rose border and a free treasure trail with prizes for all children. Garden art including a 12ft dragon, a horse’s head carved out of a 200-year-old yew tree stump and a 10ft dragonfly on a reed.

Opening dates: Saturday 17 July (11am – 4pm), Sunday 18 July (11am – 4pm) Homemade teas Admission: Adults: £5, Children: Free

Knowle Hill Farm, Ulcombe, Maidstone

Two-acre garden created over 35 years on south-facing slope of North Downs. Spectacular views. Many tender plants, china roses, agapanthus, verbenas, salvias and grasses flourish on light soil. Topiary continues to evolve with birds at last emerging. Lavender ribbons hum with bees. Pool enclosed in small walled white garden. A green garden completed in 2018.

Opening dates: Saturday 17 July (2pm – 5pm), Sunday 18 July (2pm – 5pm) Homemade teas. Plant sale. Admission: Adults: £6, Children: Free. Dog friendly.

The Mount, Wainscott, Rochester

Two acres surround the house and include a renovated walled kitchen garden with fruit trees, roses, raised veg beds and a colourful long herbaceous border. The old grass tennis court now has a mown unicursal labyrinth with a small nuttery at one end surrounding a wildlife pond. To the south-west, a white and yellow terrace garden has been created above a pleached lime path with iris and lavender. Below here you will find remains of Victorian glasshouses where they are growing vines, fruit, perennial vegetables and flowers for picking. Lovely countryside views. Mature specimen trees.

Opening dates: Saturday 17 July (10am – 4pm), Sunday 18 July (10am – 4pm) Homemade teas. Plant sale. Dog friendly. Admission: Adults: £5, Children: Free.

Stable House, Heppington, Street End, Canterbury

Approx two acres of relaxed, informal interlinked gardens surrounding converted Edwardian stable block in lovely setting with views towards the North Downs. Mixed borders with mature shrubs and perennials. Climbing roses, honeysuckle and clematis. Gravel garden, veg garden and walkthrough garden room beneath clocktower. Adjoining five-acre wildflower meadow and 15-acre vineyard.

Opening dates: Saturday 17 July (1.30 – 5.30pm), Sunday 18 July (1.30 – 5.30pm) Homemade teas. Dog friendly. Admission: Adults: £4, Children: Free.


David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past local weekly publications he has worked for include: the South-East London Mercury* covering the Borough of Greenwich as a junior reporter; Orpington-based News Shopper as a sub-editor; and the Kent Messenger when based in Larkfield, Maidstone, as deputy chief sub-editor. He has also worked for the following dailies/nationals: Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor on a car fleet magazine. His first foray into property ownership saw him move from London to Rainham (the Gillingham, Kent, variety). He has subsequently lived in Chislehurst, Petts Wood and Orpington in the Borough of Bromley (which he still regards as being in Kent). In more recent years he owned three different properties on the Kings Hill (West Malling) development.

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