Future Events

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A New London Walk – 14th May 2024 at 10:30

Location: Meet at St Pauls underground exit at 10.30.

Cost: £40.00, Members £35.00 (excludes lunch)

This event is fully booked, but you may register on the waiting list in case places become available.There are currently 3 people on the waiting list for this event.

New gardens and ancient alleyways of the city

For her fifth walk for KGT the redoubtable Diana Kelsey is taking us on a newly devised amble from new gardens near St Pauls (including the Reflection Garden and the Distaff Garden), to the latest of London’s rooftop gardens at 120 Fenchurch Street. In between, we will wind our way along pre-Great Fire alleyways and narrow streets, lingering in green spaces, and admiring the many historical, architectural and quirky features that Diana will reveal for us in a city that continually surprises with its unique blend of the most modern architecture interspersed with medieval alleyways.
The two hour, (+ up to ½ hour on the roof garden), one and a half mile walk will end near a restaurant where reservations will have been made.
Meet at St Pauls underground exit at 10.30.

KGT Contact: Richard Stileman 07968787950

120 Fenchurch Street Garden

Sandling Park, Sandling and The Knoll Farm, Aldington – 17th May 2024 at 10:00

Location: Meet at the front of the house at Sandling (CT21 4HN) at 10am.

Cost: £50.00, Members £45.00 (excludes lunch, though we will make reservations in a local pub)

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

This exciting visit is to two predominantly woodland gardens at very different stages of development.
The 25 acres of Grade 11 woodland gardens at Sandling Park has been built up over more than a hundred years by the Hardy family, who still own the property. The gardens lost 400 trees in the 1987 hurricane and the then owner, Alan Hardy, restored and replanted the gardens with gifts from Kew, Wakehurst, Windsor and private collections.
The gardens contain champion trees, 200 wild-sourced trees, 200 different magnolias, and the azalea collection is thought to be one of the finest in the country.
“Please expect a substantial amount of walking on sloping surfaces, and note that there are no toilet facilities, though there are some at Junction 11 of the M20 half a mile away”

After lunch we visit the nearby garden at The Knoll Farm, Aldington. This is set in 10 acres on a south facing slope on the hills above the Romney Marsh. After the death of his father in 2000, Lord Aldington inherited a collection of over 100 camellias which had been planted from the 1960s, a lake built in the 1990s and Kent’s longest avenue of fastigiate hornbeams which follows the curving driveway and gives glimpses of a herd of Jacob Sheep. Since then, he has introduced some formal elements into the garden, and used the cover of ancient oaks to plant more Camellias, some Magnolias and Acers and a growing collection of less usual trees. His focus is on non-native species which might do well in our new climate, including a dozen different Carpinus, 35 Conifers and 60 Oaks. This year he has also created a Korean Garden.

KGT Contact: Mike O’Brien 07766433722 Richard Stileman 07968787950

Sandling Park


Court Barn, Appledore and Hales Place, Tenterden – 6th June 2024 at 10:30

Location: Meet at Court Barn, Court Lodge Road, Appledore, TN26 2DD at 10.30am.
Lunch at Ramsden Farm at 1.pm and then 3.00pm at Hales Place, TN30 6RH (entrance on Oaks Road,Tenterden).

Cost: £70.00, Members £65.00 (excludes lunch, but includes tea at Hales Place)

Book online. There are currently 4 places available for this event.

In the morning we visit the home of prominent theatre set and costume designers Mark Thompson and Anthony Ward, who have not only accomplished an amazing conversion of a listed 8 bay barn on the edge of Appledore, but have also created a spectacular 2 acre garden around it with a fine structure (comprised of yew hedges, box balls, hornbean avenues, and brick walls) forming discrete ‘rooms’, and then a wild area leading down to a pond, below which is the Military Road and the Royal Military Canal. There are fabulous views to the west across the marshes.
KGT members Tim and Marylyn Bacon have kindly offered to provide a light lunch in their barn and view the garden at their enchanting 15th C property at nearby Stone-cum- Ebony.
After lunch we visit Hales Place and its 27 acres of gardens and orchards - almost in the middle of Tenterden! The substantial house is still impressive even if much changed from its 16th C origins as the chief property of the Hales family. The garden – the object of our visit - retains much its Elizabethan structure and feel, especially the large walled area to the North of the house which has on its furthest corners two striking two story brick pavilions. Jonathan and Jane Kent have only owned the property for three years, but have embarked on a substantial programme of restoration inside the house, and Jane is now embarked on a programme of redevelopment in the garden, advised by garden designer Anna Ribo who will be joining us for a tour of the garden.

KGT Contact: Richard Stileman 07968787950

Court Barn

Hales Place

Little Budds Peony Farm, Thurnham – 11th June 2024 at 10:30

Location: Meet at Little Budds Farm (ME14 3LR) at 10.30am.

Cost: £15.00 (includes coffee on arrival)

Book online. There are currently 4 places available for this event.

Just North of the Pilgrims Way as it passes close to Detling are a few fields on top of the North Downs where Kate Blacker has built her florists’ peony farm into both a flourishing business and an amazing sight in late May and early June. Nearly 60 varieties of both Dutch and Japanese peonies – up to 60000 blooms in a good season!
We start our visit with a coffee and introductory talk from Kate in her pottery studio (she also runs a thriving pottery school), and then takes us on a tour of the fields. You may then be tempted to buy! For those wanting to follow up with lunch, spaces will be reserved at the nearby Hook
and Hatchet pub.

KGT Contact: Richard Stileman 07968787950

Old Bladbean Stud, Bladbean and Hurst House, Hastingleigh – 18th June 2024 at 10:30

Location: Meet at Old Bladbean Stud (CT4 6NA) at 10.30am.

Cost: £50.00, Members £45.00 (excludes lunch, but includes tea at Hurst House)

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

Secreted away in the North Downs to the West of Wye are two extraordinary gardens, just six miles apart, which, though very different in many ways, share a number of features: they are both about three acres in size, they are both about 20 years old, and they have both been created, almost single handedly, by women.
Carol Bruce will explain to us that her garden is a collection of feelings, with the detail of shape and planting influenced by the surrounding countryside and walks with her beloved dogs. She will also tell us that she employs no gardeners to help her, that she has no horticultural training, and that she uses no artificial fertilizers or pesticides. You will find this hard to believe as you wander through the different areas of the garden admiring perfect planting combinations, reaching their zenith in the 90 metre long ‘mirrored borders’.
After leaving Old Bladbean Stud we travel a couple of miles for lunch at the Lord Whisky Tea rooms.
Then on to Lynn Smith’s predominantly woodland garden at Hurst House. Kent Life ‘Garden of the Year’ in 2019, the garden is characterised by a myriad of recently planted trees and shrubs, winding beds alongside woodland clearings, a stumpery, sculptures in surprising places, carefully selected shade loving plants, a few dry plantings in sunny borders, and many tree paintings (Lynn is also an artist). A unique and special place.
Lynn will offer tea and coffee at the conclusion of our tour.

KGT Contact: Richard Stileman 0796878795

An Evening with Jo Thompson at Water Lane,Hawkhurst – 4th July 2024 at 17:30

Location: Meet at4 Water Lane (TN18 5DH) from 5.30pm.

Cost: £50.00, Members £45.00 (Plentiful canapes, some fizz, and a variety of other wines and soft drinks!)

Book online. There are currently 23 places available for this event.

The distinguished garden designer Jo Thompson is part way through a restoration of the historic Walled Garden and Greenhouses at Water Lane, part of the original Tongs wood Estate, which was, incidentally, the subject of research by Kent Gardens Trust in 2012. The Walled Garden is now in new ownership and being led by Nick Selby and Ian James whose exciting holistic vision for the future includes a restaurant (much of whose produce will come from the garden), a shop, educational workshops, and, over time, a fully restored garden.

A big part of their dream is, of course, the garden itself, and they have asked Jo to make their dream come true. In her words….“This is a chance to re-imagine Water Lane the ‘place’, respecting its past glory as well as making it a sustainable, inspirational, and welcoming garden for the 21st century and beyond. Our plans include a rose ‘orchard’ with bulb meadow; a quince avenue; perennial and stock beds; follies and wall borders; a rose pergola; a children’s natural play area; a nuttery; and sculpture trail. The phased approach to the project means that visitors will see the garden and surrounding grounds evolve over the coming years.”

Kent Gardens Trust members have the opportunity of having an exclusive evening at Water Lane in the company of Jo, Nick and Ian, during which Jo will tell us where they have got to, and then encourage you to wander, observe the detail and ask as many questions as you want.

KGT Contact: Richard Stileman 07968787950

Jo Thompson

Long Barn and White House Farm – 12th September 2024 at 10:00

Location: Meet at the entrance to Long Barn, Sevenoaks Weald, Kent TN14 6NH at 10am, moving to White House Farm and Arboretum, Ivy Hatch, Kent TN15 0NL for 2pm.

Cost: £50.00, Members £45.00 (includes coffee at Long Barn. Lunch is not included, but there are various local pubs near White House Farm.)

This event is fully booked, but you may register on the waiting list in case places become available.There is noone on the waiting list for this event at the moment.

We visit two contrasting private gardens in west Kent. Our morning destination is Long Barn, the mediaeval hall house with terraced gardens created by Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson from 1915-1932, before they moved to Sissinghurst. Similar Arts and Crafts influences helped to shape Long Barn, where the formal terraces on six levels are flanked by informal areas including an orchard and a vegetable garden. Expect clipped yews, lawns, flights of steps, and exuberant planting constrained by stone retaining walls and brick-edged beds. The visit will start with coffee, cake, and a short talk on the history of the garden by the owner, Rebecca Limonius.

In the afternoon we are delighted to have a further visit to the garden and arboretum at White House Farm. Maurice Foster, holder of the Victoria Medal for Horticulture and a plantsman of international renown, has developed over 40 years a superb collection of woody plants which provide year-round colour. Many of the trees and shrubs on the 15-acre site have been grown from seed collected in the wild, with hydrangeas a particular feature. A fair degree of mobility is needed to get the most from the visit, as the terrain is hilly.

KGT Contact: Caroline Bowdler 07934 499505

White House Farm

Long Barn

Of Markets and Munitions: Trade and Industry in Faversham – 20th October 2024 at 11:00

Location: Join a circular walk of about 2½ miles (about 2 hours) starting at the railway station to explore some of the lesser known locations in the town that are nevertheless of great importance in the history of Faversham.

Cost: £20.00, Members £18.00

Book online. There is currently 1 place available for this event.

Of Markets and Munitions: Landscapes of Trade and Industry in Faversham

This guided walk by KGT Trustee and ITG Blue Badge guide for South-East England, Karen Emery, has been developed in part to showcase two of the landscapes that have been researched recently by KGT members for Swale Borough Council.
An early medieval hostelry and 12th century abbey attest to the venerable history of Faversham and its wide market street, wharves and creek are evidence of the importance of Faversham as a limb of the Cinque Ports in the Middle Ages. The town’s potential for trade and commerce was good, though it was the gunpowder industry that put Faversham on the map, reaching its peak during the Napoleonic Wars. Chart Gunpowder Mills was part of Home Works and almost the oldest in the country, the landscape adapted to fit the requirements of the industry. Inevitably a hazardous enterprise, the 1916 Great Explosion at Uplees was the worst in the history of the British explosives industry and its victims are remembered at a memorial in another of our landscapes, the Faversham Cemetery.

KGT contact: Karen Emery 07716 291038