Future Events

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Spring Meeting & Guest Lecturer James Bolton THE GRAND TOUR – 14th March 2020 at 14:30

Location: The Millenium Village Hall, Egerton, TN27 9DS

Cost: £15.00 ((to include afternoon tea and cakes))

Book online. There are currently 77 places available for this event.

The Perils and Pleasures of the 18th century Traveller’s Journey to Italy

The Grand Tour was a largely eighteenth century phenomenon, akin to the Gap Year of today, which reached the height of popularity between 1715 and 1789. Thereafter Thomas Cook and the railways took the exclusivity out of continental travel.
In its heyday, scores of young men (and a sprinkling of enterprising women) were dispatched by parents and guardians to acquire at least a veneer of culture. Some, at least, returned with paintings and sculpture, determined to remodel their houses and estates into a semblance of the Italy that haunted their dreams.
This lecture follows the progress of the Grand Tourist through Europe, largely through contemporary paintings, and gives examples of the souvenirs they returned with and tells of some of the difficulties facing the intrepid traveller in the pre-railway age.
John Evelyn’s ventures into Europe were a bit different. Not only did he go very early (1641), but he also went with an inquiring mind (his family nickname was ‘The Philosopher’) that crossed the boundaries of art and science. He was excited by the gardens he saw, the horticultural practices, as well as the art and architecture of Holland, France, and above all, Italy.

James Bolton
James Bolton set up a garden design business in 1992, following two years as head gardener at the Old Rectory, Farnborough. He had previously trained with the Direction des Parcs et Jardins in Paris.
James lectures extensively on garden history. He has set up and administered courses for the Inchbald School of Design, the Art Fund and The Arts Society.
He now runs Border Lines, the leading tour company to private houses and gardens in England, Denmark France, Italy and South Africa.

Lecture followed by:
Dr Hugh Vaux

A brief presentation including poster displays to be viewed during tea

1 An outline of Evelyn’s life and a timeline of national events
2. Estates in Kent with an Evelyn association
3. Evelyn’s home - Sayes Court in Deptford
4 Evelyn in Oxford and the founding of The Royal Society

Humphry Repton at Vinters Park – 7th April 2020 at 11:00

Location: Entrance to Vinters Park in Lodge Lane which is off New Cut, Grove Green, Maidstone. ME14 5EH. Lodge Lane is a cul-de-sac where it is possible to park

Cost: £15.00 (Cost does not include lunch, but reservations will be made at a local pub for those who would like some restorative refreshment.)

This event is fully booked, but you may register on the waiting list in case places become available.There is currently 1 person on the waiting list for this event.

This is an opportunity to explore the grounds of Vinters Park with two KGT trustees, Hugh Vaux and Tom La Dell. Although the house has been pulled down, there is still terracing to see. The ice house, the lake and the barrel bridge remain, as well as a marvellous avenue of 18C lime trees.
Maidstone was famous for its paper making and it was the Whatman family at Turkey Mill who achieved international renown. By 1771, they had invented industrial paper making and were producing more paper than anyone else in Europe; this being used by artists, engravers and publishers. Many of Humphry Repton’s famous Red Books were produced on Whatman paper.
In 1783 James Whatman bought Vinters Park adjoining Turkey Mill to the north. He set about rebuilding the house and creating parkland to reflect his new status. Humphry Repton visited Vinters in 1797 and duly presented his Red Book. Sadly James died the following year and it took two further generations of James Whatmans to create a landscape that would meet with Repton’s approval. Now a wildlife park, the main features of the Repton landscape can still be traced by a network of paths which are fine but some are a bit steep and have steps. Stout footwear is advisable.

KGT contact Hugh Vaux hughvaux@btinternet.com 01622 861245

White House Farm, Ightham – 23rd April 2020 at 10:00

Location: White House Farm, High Cross Rd, Ivy Hatch, Sevenoaks. Kent TN15 0NN

Cost: £30.00, Members £25.00 (to include tea / coffee on arrival. Lunch is not included, but tables will be reserved at The George and Dragon in Ightham.)

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 are delighted to have the opportunity to pay a return visit to the private garden at White House Farm, home to Maurice Foster. One of Britain’s most distinguished plantsmen, Maurice is holder of the Victoria Medal of Honour, the RHS’s highest award and has created a wonderful 15 acre garden at White House Farm over the past forty years. Maurice’s stated overall aim in the creation of this garden was to achieve year-round colour from trees and shrubs and the garden and arboretum certainly now offer a gloriously comprehensive collection of rare and unusual trees and shrubs. Many of these plants have been grown from seed collected in the wild by Maurice and other plantsmen on expeditions to China and Mongolia and the collection is recognised as one of the finest in the country. Well known for his love of Magnolias, Maurice has also introduced many new varieties from America. We will also see a wide range of Camellias and Rhododendrons during our two hour walk around the garden. Please note that the terrain is hilly and unsuited to those of limited mobility.

KGT contact Alison Philip Alison@thephilips.co.uk 01732 491044

Leonardslee Gardens – 26th May 2020 at 10:30

Location: Leonardslee, Brighton Road, Lower Beeding, RH13 6PP

Cost: £35.00, Members £30.00 (to include coffee and garden tour (Lunch is available in the café at Leonardslee))

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.

Leonardslee is generally recognised as one of the country’s great woodland gardens. The garden was first established in 1801 following the landscape and planting ideas of Sir Uvedale Price, who, with Richard Payne Knight and William Gilpin, were key proponents of the Picturesque Movement - one of whose beliefs was that gardens should resemble landscape paintings.
Leonardslee has benefitted from a succession of sympathetic owners, notably the Loder family, with Edmund buying the property in 1888, and not only planting a wide range of rhododendrons and exotic conifers, but also introducing a number of exotic animals, including the wallabies still seen today. The Loder family sold the estate in 2010, and after 8 years of closure, the new owner, Penny Streeter, facilitated the re-opening of both house and garden last year.
Our visit is timed to catch the garden at its peak, and we are also fortunate to have secured a private tour with Stephen Herrington, the new Head Gardener, just arrived from nearby Nymans.

Please note that we have NOT arranged a second garden visit for the afternoon on this occasion – the gardens at Leonardslee themselves are substantial and people may well want to spend more time exploring the outer reaches; alternatively, the magnificent gardens of High Beeches and Nymans(NT), and Wakehurst (NT) are close by.

KGT contact Richard Stileman richstileman@btinternet.com 07968787950

Tenterden Gems - Reighton Wood, and Old Place Farm – 16th June 2020 at 10:30

Location: Silcocks Farm Shop, Grange Road, St Michael’s, TN30 6TL, and then lunch at Silcocks, before travelling to Old Place Farm, High Halden (TN26 3JG) for 2.30.

Cost: £55.00, Members £50.00 (to include coffee and lunch at Silcocks)

This event is fully booked, but you may register on the waiting list in case places become available.There are currently 4 people on the waiting list for this event.

Reighton Wood is a much lauded new garden designed by Marian Boswall. It’s a brilliant example of what can happen when owner, architect and garden designer work in harmony to transform a house and its garden in a promising setting to connect both with each other, and with the stunning landscape. Starting with little more than a field and overgrown pond, Marian has transformed the space into a garden filled with abundantly planted borders of dense grasses and herbaceous perennials, planted in drifts to echo the rolling countryside. Marian (who won last year’s Grand Award from the Society of Garden Designers for this project) will be our guide, accompanied by top horticulturist and RHS Wisley examiner, Caroline Jackson.
Old Place Farm is a stunning 4 acre garden in nearby High Halden, developed over the last 50 years by discerning owners Ann and Jeffrey Eker. Originally designed by Anthony du Gard Pasley (who was Ann’s principal lecturer at the Inchbald School of Garden Design), the garden surrounds a period farmhouse, and embraces topiary, a potager, parterre, a lake, ponds, and numerous mixed borders. Ann has more recently developed an intriguing woodland topiary
garden inspired by the extraordinary structures at Sericourt in Northern France. The whole garden is elegant and immaculate.

KGT contact Richard Stileman richstileman@btinternet.com 07968787950

Abbey Physic Garden, Faversham and Belmont House, Throwley – 30th June 2020 at 10:30

Location: The Physic Garden (Park at Tescos), then 12.30 at Belmont, Throwley ME13 0HH

Cost: £55.00, Members £50.00 (to include lunch at Belmont. (Please note that although the Physic Garden does not charge for entry, we will be making a donation))

Book online. There are currently 14 places available for this event.

A day of sharply contrasting gardens! We start in historic Faversham and visit this very successful and relatively new physic garden, though please note that in this case ‘physic’ means a garden providing creative activity, comfort and companionship for the local community, including those with mental health issues. It is NOT a garden full of medicinal plants! One of the Trustees will explain the origin and mission of the garden, and Suzanne Campbell will talk about the garden itself.
We then travel the short distance to Belmont House for lunch, followed by a tour of the garden with Head Gardener Graeme White.
Belmont House (Grade 1), “Kent’s finest Neoclassical house” (Pevsner), built by Samuel Wyatt 1783-1793, lives up to its name, overlooking an extensive park with views to the North Downs. The estate was bought in 1801 by General George Harris, conqueror of Mysore, and owned by his family until 1995, and by a private trust since then. The garden has many distinct elements providing interest and variety throughout the year; the walled garden has long herbaceous borders and glorious roses and was restored in 2001 by Arabella Lennox-Boyd; the pinetum beside it contains a variety of ornamental conifers and a Victorian shell grotto. The kitchen garden is constantly evolving.

KGT contact Andrew Wells andrewwells@mere-house.co.uk 01622 814608

GARDEN PARTY – 18th July 2020 at 15:30

Location: HOLE PARK Rolvenden TN17 4JA

Cost: £10.00

Book online. There are currently 75 places available for this event.

By kind permission of Edward and Clare Barham

All members and their friends are invited to a splendid afternoon tea and to enjoy the magnificent year-round garden and extensive park, open exclusively for Kent Gardens Trust on July 18th £10 (please book in the normal way thus helping us cater appropriately)

The Salutation, Sandwich – 4th August 2020 at 13:45

Location: The Salutation, Knightrider Street, Sandwich. Kent. CT13 9EW

Cost: £30.00, Members £25.00 (to include a light tea)

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

We were very sorry to learn recently that The Salutation Hotel and Gardens have closed for the foreseeable future. However, we are delighted that Head Gardener, Steve Edney, has taken over the lease of the garden for the 2020 season and, together with a small team of volunteers, intends to honour any bookings that have already been made. Our visit on 4th August will therefore go ahead but has changed slightly (different tour leader and probably no cream in the cakes!) to reflect the reduced staff and facilities. We have adjusted our price accordingly.
We will be guided around the 3.7 acres, designed in 1912 by Sir Edwin Lutyens, by the Assistant Head Gardner and other long-standing members of the gardening team. The walled garden, widely recognised as amongst the finest in the country, was awarded RHS Partner Garden status in 2019. Originally laid out by Lutyens on the Arts and Crafts design of symmetrical “rooms” each with a different purpose, the garden now comprises a mix of old and new planting styles with surprises around every corner. Steve Edney, and his team inherited a neglected garden with unique challenges, recreating the original over many years. In 2013, a tidal surge caused the River Stour to burst its banks, leaving the garden under six feet of saltwater. 15,000 plants were lost and, during our tour, we will learn about the work required to bring about the miraculous recovery that visitors see today. The gardens are set against the extremely photogenic backdrop of Grade 1 listed Salutation and are access friendly. The Salutation Nursery specialises in exotic and unusual plants which are all grown organically and insecticide-free within the estate and are available to buy. After our tour, we will have tea and coffee with cake and are then at liberty to wander again around the garden.

KGT contact Alison Philip Alison@thephilips.co.uk 01732 491044

Wotton House and Albury Park near Dorking, Surrey – 22nd September 2020 at 10:30

Location: Wotton House RH5 6HS, then Albury Park, GU5 9BB both near Dorking, Surrey

Cost: £55.00, Members £50.00 (to include coffee on arrival at Wotton, and then a sandwich lunch at Wotton)

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

John Evelyn ( 1620-1706 ) was born at Wotton, ‘my most cherished place on earth’. The house lies in the valley of the little Tillingbourne river, west of Dorking. It has been owned by the Evelyn family since 1579, but has been extensively restructured and enlarged since then. It is now an hotel. In 1640 John’s older brother George created an Italianate garden around the house to John’s designs. Although major modifications have been made, key features of the original gardens survive, including the terraced mount and classical garden temple.
If time permits we will briefly visit Wotton Church which contains the Evelyn mausoleum.
Albury Park, with its Grade 1 registered park and garden (seldom open to the public), is just five miles from Wotton and also on the Tillingbourne It now belongs to the Duke of Northumberland. In the 17th century the estate was owned by the Earl of Arundel, a close friend of John Evelyn. Evelyn produced remarkable plans for the site which his friend duly followed, and much is still there today: extensive terracing (390 metres long!), a bath house, a semi-circular pool, and the unique tunnel, or ‘crypta’, an idea from Naples. Evelyn’s vineyards and canals were removed in the 19th century after the new owner Henry Drummond employed AWN Pugin to remodel the house. A collection of specimen trees was planted which in maturity are a serendipitous complement to the Evelyn elements.
We will glimpse the mansion - with its very distinctive Pugin chimneys - on our walk (it is owned separately from the park), and we will visit the exceptional Saxon Church.
We will be guided at both Wotton and Albury by Cherrill Sands and Brenda Lewis, both of whom were deeply involved with Evelyn when Surrey Gardens Trust marked the 300th anniversary of his death.

KGT contact Richard Stileman Richstileman@btinternet.com 07968787950

Fire, Plague and 17C London Life – 3rd October 2020 at 10:30

Location: Blackfriars Tube Station

Cost: £60.00, Members £55.00 (to include lunch near Tower Hill)

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.

This tailor-made half-day walk with guide Diana Kelsey marks the 400th anniversary of the birth of John Evelyn, and 360 years from the start of Samuel Pepys’s diary. Both diarists, who became close friends, witnessed and chronicled some of the most turbulent years of London’s history and their diaries give an insight into both public and everyday life of mid-17th C London. However, the two men and their diaries were very different. Evelyn, aware of his position at the centre of English social and political life in the 17C and friend of Charles II, was more circumspect and restrained in his commentary on London. Pepys in contrast did not hold back from recording details of everyday high as well as low life including his own philandering!
The route of this walk is necessarily based on Pepys’s life (Evelyn lived downstream at Deptford), starting where he was born, weaving through the narrow alleyways along routes that he would have known, ending at the church where he is buried. Diana’s commentary will however draw extensively on both diarists’ eye-witness accounts of the Plague in 1665, the Great Fire of 1666, and the regeneration of the City after those cataclysmic events.

KGT contact Richard Stileman richstileman@btinternet.com 07968787950