Future Events

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Hever Castle and Stonewall Park – 10th May 2018 at 10:30

Location: Hever Castle, TN8 7NG, then 2.30pm at Stonewall Park, TN8 7DG

Cost: £45.00, Members £40.00 (including lunch and tea)

Book online. There are currently 13 places available for this event.

William Waldorf Astor bought the dilapidated keep at Hever and 630 acres of marshy land from the Meade-Waldos of Stonewall Park in 1903. By 1908 Joseph Cheal & Son had transformed the site into the basis of what can be seen today with 800 men digging the 38-acre lake over two years. Astor’s years as US Minister to Italy inspired the Italian garden populated with statuary he collected, and he heeded the important Boleyn history with Tudor elements which have been developed by the present owners. Two woodland walks, new water features and a rejuvenated 100-metre herbaceous border are recent innovations.

Stonewall Park was owned from the C15 by the Woodgates who sold it in 1843 to the Meade-Waldo family which Italianised the early 19th-century house. It stands commandingly on a sandstone plateau with extensive views over its park to the north, west and south. To the west are rose and walled gardens and lawns spread out to the south and east. North of the house is a dramatic azalea and rhododendron-filled valley, developed from 1843.

The Fleming family bought Stonewall from the Meade-Waldos in 1964 and members will be welcomed by Rupert
and Catherine Fleming and have tea in the striking iron-framed camellia conservatory attached to the main west elevation.

KGT contact: Andrew Wells c/o info@kentgardenstrust.org.uk

Half-moon pond at Hever

Stonewall Park in Spring

The Unlikely Genius of Humphry Repton – 20th May 2018 at 14:30

Location: Riverhill House, Sevenoaks, TN15 0RR

Cost: £30.00, Members £25.00 (including tea and a tour of the garden at Riverhill. Sussex Gardens Trust members will receive the same discount as Kent Gardens Trust members - follow instructions when booking online)

Book online. There are currently 43 places available for this event.

The Kent Gardens Trust Spring Lecture 2018 will be given by John Phibbs, renowned garden historian and author of leading books on Capability Brown. John will provide an overview of Repton’s career, and the distance he travelled from early works in Kent like Cobham Hall to late ones like Montreal. ‘I will try to put across my sense of wonder at what he achieved and how he managed it’.

In 1788, five years after Capability Brown’s death, the great man’s business was falling apart under his erratic executor, Samuel Lapidge. Repton saw his opportunity to take over from Lapidge by working out Brown’s formula. By 1792 he thought he had, but in 1793 the cultural landscape of Britain was turned on its head by the French Revolution. First the radicals called for new liberties and then William Pitt the younger ended free speech with his gagging acts and embarked on a war with France that was to outlast Repton. Neither event inspired Repton’s clients to invest in landscape and in 1794, the year of the picturesque controversy, Richard Payne Knight and Sir Uvedale Price attacked Repton and the Brownian style he had adopted. Repton became embittered and felt that the art of landscape would die with him.

The magic of this story is that with every setback Repton’s work became greater, more complex and more profoundly charged. Those magnificent works of his last years, while utterly different – Endsleigh, Ashridge and Woburn Abbey are among the survivors – may reasonably be compared with the greatest of Brown’s achievements.

KGT contact: Andrew Wells c/o info@kentgardenstrust.org.uk

Humphry Repton

Edwardian Elegance on the North Downs – 31st May 2018 at 10:30

Location: Mount Ephraim ME13 9TX, then 2.30pm at Doddington Place ME9 0BB

Cost: £45.00, Members £40.00 (including lunch at Mount Ephraim and tea at Doddington Place)

Book online. There are currently 19 places available for this event.

Mt Ephraim and Doddington Place

This day provides an opportunity to compare the Edwardian design and planting features that characterise these two famous North Kent gardens.

Mount Ephraim is set deep within an 800 acre estate with magnificent views over the Swale and Thames estuaries. The Victorian mansion was built in 1870 but much of the 10 acre garden was established in 1910 and is steeped in typically Edwardian elegance. The owners, Lesley and Sandy Dawes, will be our hosts, with head gardener Mark James providing detailed descriptions of the garden. The morning will conclude with lunch at Mt
Ephraim before we travel (by car) to Doddington.

Doddington Place is surrounded by wooded countryside in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the North Downs. The 10-acre landscaped gardens are set in the grounds of a Victorian mansion. Key features are the 1960s woodland garden (which should be spectacular for our visit), a large Edwardian rock garden, a formal sunk garden with herbaceous borders, and a flint and brick folly. Extensive lawns and avenues are framed by amazing yew hedges and fine specimen trees. Depending on our numbers either the owner, Amicia Oldfield, and/or Head Gardener Lucy Adams will show us around. Tea at Doddington concludes our day.

KGT contact: Lesley Dawes - lesley@mountephraim.plus.com

Doddington Place gardens

Stonepitts Manor, Seal and St Clere, Kemsing – 13th June 2018 at 10:30

Location: Stonepitts Manor, Watery Lane, Seal, Sevenoaks, TN15 0ER Then St Clere, Kemsing, TN15 6NL

Cost: £45.00, Members £40.00 (including coffee on arrival and two course lunch)

Book online. There are currently 5 places available for this event.

We are privileged to have the opportunity to visit the private garden at Stonepitts Manor, home of Mr and Mrs Hugh Ellingham. The garden, which has its origins in the 16th century, is arranged in a series of compartments surrounding the Grade II* listed Manor on three sides. We will be guided by Angela Ellingham and her gardener around the rose garden, swimming pool terrace, newly restored and very beautiful kitchen garden and orchard. The garden also contains ancient Wisteria, beautiful topiary as well as a natural dew pond which has been cleared and replanted. Terraces designed by Gertrude Jekyll in 1925 are lined with herbaceous borders and we will see correspondence between Jekyll and the then owners outlining her suggested designs for other areas together with her surviving plans for the garden.

Following a delicious lunch in the dining room at St. Clere we will be guided around the wonderful garden by Head Gardener, Martin Platt, who will share stories of its history and more recent development and his involvement with the garden over the past 25 years. An early 18th century Prospect Mound was later remodelled by Inigo Thomas in the late 19th century and the garden now comprises ancient yews, rare shrubs and beautiful herbaceous borders. The storm of 1987 caused widespread damage and the destruction of the Lime Avenue. This was replanted in 1992 with further new planting schemes designed by Martin Lane-Fox.

KGT contact: Alison Philip - alison@thephilips.co.uk

Stonepitts Manor garden

The garden at St Clere

Ruins, Reformation and Restoration – 28th June 2018 at 10:30

Location: Outside Quills cafe, 30 High Sreet, Rochester

Cost: £35.00, Members £30.00 (including a light lunch at Restoration House and a booklet on Restoration House)

Book online. There are currently 15 places available for this event.

A walking tour of some of the gardens of the City of Rochester

The City of Rochester is known for its cathedral and castle but few people realise it has a wealth of green spaces, many with a long history. Join us for a morning walk to see the public historic gardens Esplanade and Castle Grounds followed by a short guided tour of the Cathedral-owned Cloister Garth and King’s Orchard. From there we stroll through the Vines to Restoration House.

Restoration House is one of the jewels in Rochester’s crown. Dating substantially from the 16th and 17th centuries it is particularly remembered for Charles II staying the night there in 1660 on his way to London for his restoration to the throne. It has always been assumed that a Tudor garden existed at Restoration House. Little is known about the garden’s later development until the 1866 ordnance survey map showing a mature compartmentalised garden. Having fallen into decline in the 20th century the present owners have been restoring the gardens as well as the house. Each area of the enclosed walled garden reflects various stages of its history. The ambitious next stage is now in progress to incorporate a magnificent Renaissance-style water garden and an orchard.

We will have a full guided tour of the house by the owner followed by lunch and will then be free
to explore the garden.

KGT contact: Terri Zbyszewska - tzbyszewska@yahoo.co.uk

The parterre garden at Restoration House

Cloister Garth, Rochester Cathedral

Walmer Castle and Gardens – 5th July 2018 at 10:30

Location: Walmer Castle

Cost: £40.00, Members £35.00 (including tea and coffee on arrival and lunch. English Heritage members will receive a £10 discount - follow instructions when booking online)

Book online. There are currently 12 places available for this event.

Join us for a private guided tour of Walmer Castle gardens by the Head Gardener who will introduce us to the historic and beautiful mix of formal and informal planting and grand scale herbaceous borders which have developed following the evolution of the castle from a coastal fortress to a rural retreat and family home. Many of the gardens are the result of efforts by past Lord Wardens such as William Pitt and his niece, Lady Hester Stanhope. In the 1790s, the Broadwalk Garden with its 80 metre herbaceous border was created by Lord Granville and his wife in 1865 and, more recently, the Queen Mother Garden was created in her honour by Penelope Hobhouse and opened in 1997.

The kitchen garden with its extensive glasshouses has provided fruit and vegetables for the garrison and inhabitants of the castle since 1725. The gardens contain roses, an extensive yew cloud hedge, beautiful planting schemes and many specimen trees planted by past Lord Wardens including William Pitt, the Duke of Wellington, Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother.

After lunch, visit the castle at leisure. A fortress built by Henry VIII, the castle saw action only once in 1648 during the Civil War. By the end of the 17th century, it had became the official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and is filled with paintings and furniture collected by each in turn. The Duke of Wellington died at Walmer in 1852 and is commemorated by a wonderful exhibition of extensive memorabilia.

KGT contact: Alison Philip - alison@thephilips.co.uk

Colour in the Marshes – 19th July 2018 at 10:30

Location: Church Farm, Warehorne, TN26 2LP, then 2.30pm at Boldshaves, TN26 3RA

Cost: £30.00, Members £25.00 (including tea and coffee at Warehorne and tea at Boldshaves but exclusive of lunch - suggest either The Woolsack in Warehorne or the Six Bells in Woodchurch)

Book online. There are currently 22 places available for this event.

Church Farm, Warehorne and Boldshaves, Woodchurch

The garden at Church Farm is the creation of Elizabeth Doyle and her husband John, the distinguished artist. Seldom open to the public, this small and exquisite ‘painterly’ garden takes colour mixing and combinations to a new level, and far beyond the dreams of Gertrude Jekyll (admittedly she worked with a palette offering a far more restricted range of plants than we all have today)! It is a feast for the eyes. Incidentally, KGT organised a visit here in 2014 and we had a record numbers of delighted visitors.

In the afternoon we visit Boldshaves, with a garden largely created during the last 20 years by Peregrine Massey who will be showing us around. South facing and partly terraced, there is a walled garden featuring semi-hardy and southern hemisphere plants, a Camellia dell, a red border as well as a “flame” bed, an Italian garden, a vegetable garden, and herb gardens featuring both culinary and medicinal herbs. Ancient woodland surrounds the house and garden.

KGT contact: Richard Stileman - richstileman@btinternet.com

The garden at Boldshaves

Hidden Gardens of the City of London – 15th September 2018 at 10:30

Location: 10.30 outside the Museum of London, main entrance (coffee in the museum available from 10am). Nearest underground stations: St Paul's or Barbican

Cost: £55.00, Members £50.00 (including a meze lunch near St Paul's)

Book online. There are currently 7 places available for this event.

When many of the narrow streets of the pre-war city were destroyed in the Blitz, The City Corporation decided to take the opportunity of creating “breathing spaces”. Now in the most unexpected places, nestling in old churchyards and between the glass edifices of the 21st century city are a range of small, but beautifully landscaped and planted gardens. Amongst those we will see are a physic garden dedicated to the Elizabethan herbalist John Gerard, a newly landscaped nectar-rich garden in a bombed out church and a wild-flower garden nestling in the ruins of the Roman city wall.

In the afternoon, we will start off by seeing a few of the new gardens around St Paul's, and then – hopefully – visit the Skygarden on the 35-38 floors of the infamous ‘walkie talkie’ building in Fenchurch Street. (Note - we can only obtain tickets – which are free - on the Monday before our visit so we cannot make a promise). If we are unsuccessful with getting entrance to the Skygarden, we will extend the afternoon tour with a visit to the new riverside plantings. The day will conclude at Monument.

Our guide throughout the day will be the inestimable blue badge guide, Diana Kelsey, who led some of
us on a marvellously revealing visit to the Olympic Park last year.

KGT contact: Richard Stileman - richstileman@btinternet.com

Repton Study Day at Cobham Hall – 22nd October 2018 at 10:00

Location: Cobham Hall, Cobham, Gravesend, Kent DA12 3BL

Cost: £50.00, Members £45.00 (including coffee on arrival, lunch at the Gilt Hall, and tea. Sussex Gardens Trust members will receive the same discount as Kent Gardens Trust members - follow the instructions when booking online)

Book online. There are currently 69 places available for this event.

Humphry Repton was commissioned by the Earl of Darnley in 1790 to advise on improvements to the grounds of Cobham Hall and he continued to work there for 25 years. He was proud of his achievements at Cobham, writing “the house is no longer a huge pile standing naked in a vast grazing ground…. its walls are enriched with roses and jasmines on every side.… all around is neatness, elegance and comfort.”

The day features a keynote talk from Repton scholar Professor Stephen Daniels, author of Humphry Repton and the Art of Landscape, who will show that Repton believed landscape gardening was one of the arts: a new kind of art at the bright beginning of his career, and one of the lost arts at the end. He will survey the repertoire of Repton’s artistic vision in relation to the wider culture of the period, including that of theatre and architectural design. He will also look at other commissions in south-east England, as well as his work with John Nash and his son John Adey Repton.

Other speakers will include members of the Friends of Cobham Hall Heritage Trust, and individuals who have been involved with the restoration of the garden.

After lunch, there will be a guided tour of the grounds with the option of visiting the Mausoleum designed by James Wyatt in 1783-4.

KGT contact: Elizabeth Cairns - Elizabeth@knowlehillfarm.co.uk

Cobham Hall

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