Past Events

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Fire, Plague and 17C London Life (2) CANCELLED – 6th October 2020 at 11:00


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

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 07968787950

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


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

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 07968787950

Wotton House and Albury Park CANCELLED – 22nd September 2020 at 10:30


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

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 07968787950

The Salutation, Sandwich CANCELLED – 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)

This Event is now CANCELLED. Please see News Item for details

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 01732 491044

GARDEN PARTY CANCELLED – 18th July 2020 at 15:30


Cost: £10.00

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)

Abbey Physic Garden and Belmont House CANCELLED – 30th June 2020 at 10:30


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))

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 01622 814608

Tenterden Gems CANCELLED – 16th June 2020 at 10:30


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

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 07968787950

Leonardslee Gardens CANCELLED – 26th May 2020 at 10:30


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

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 07968787950

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


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.)

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 01732 491044

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


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 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 01622 861245

Spring Meeting CANCELLED – 14th March 2020 at 14:30


Cost: £15.00

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

Eltham Palace and Kevington Hall – 30th October 2019 at 10:15

Location: Eltham Palace, Eltham, London SE9 5QE and then Kevington Hall, Orpington, BR5 4EP

Cost: £55.00, Members £50.00 (includes lunch at Eltham Palace and tea at Kevington Hall. English Heritage and Arts Fund members will receive a £10 discount - follow instructions when booking online.)

Eltham Palace, a rare surviving moated medieval royal palace and deer park, was acquired in 1305 by Edward II, whose successors enclosed another 1,300 acres of park. Edward IV built the great hall by 1480; Henry VIII added gardens beyond the moat. Considerably damaged during the civil war, Eltham was granted by Charles II in 1663 to his financier Sir John Shaw, who built Eltham Lodge and sublet the palace as a farm. The Shaws left Eltham in 1839. Stephen and Virginia Courtauld became Crown tenants in 1933, reversing a century of decline and restoring and extending the garden. Mawson & Partners, then Seely & Paget (architects of the Cortaulds’ Art Deco Eltham Court) created gardens on the terraces surrounding the Palace and the lower dry sections of the moat, including a Japanese-style rockery, cascade and sunken garden around a pond, all within the medieval framework of buildings, remaining walls, two arms of the moat and substantial earthworks beyond this from which St Paul’s Cathedral can be seen to the west. Since 1995 English Heritage have been custodians of Eltham Palace.

Kevington Hall was bought in 1768 by a London merchant, Herman Berens. He immediately engaged Robert Taylor, the Bank of England’s architect, to design a new house. His son Joseph added the full-height bow to the south elevation and built the Doric west portico and stables after 1795. Use by troops and a primary school for some 50 years from 1940 wrought havoc to the garden, but Jonathan Jackson, whose family bought Kevington in 1987, has reinstated the southern main drive and is planting many trees to recall the views and appearance of the landscaped 18th-century park. We are grateful to him for allowing a rare visit to his family’s home.

KGT contact: Andrew Wells (

Eltham Palace

Kevington Hall

Great Comp and its Salvias – 24th September 2019 at 11:30

Location: Great Comp Garden, Comp Lane, Platt, TN15 8QS

Cost: £40.00, Members £35.00 (includes tea/coffee on arrival and lunch)

Surrounding a 17th century farmhouse, Great Comp Garden was created by Roderick and Joyce Cameron in the 1950s and has, since their deaths, been run by the Great Comp Charitable Trust and is now managed and curated by William Dyson. We will be guided by William around the seven acres of garden as he explains the history of the planting of the garden which specializes in Azaleas, Hellebores and Dahlias and thirty different varieties of Magnolia as well as exotic trees and shrubs. There is also an Italian Garden complete with ruins and temples, all hand-built by Roderick Cameron. William will also talk about his own area of particular expertise in Salvias, developed over twenty years as Manager of the Salvia nursery within the garden and his successes in exhibiting at the Chelsea Flower Show. After our tour we will have a light lunch in the Old Dairy Tearoom and are then free to continue to wander in the garden at leisure.

KGT contact: Alison Philip (

House and garden at Great Comp

The borders at Great Comp

King's Cross transformed – 14th September 2019 at 10:30

Location: to be advised

Cost: £55.00, Members £50.00 (includes coffee and lunch)

If you haven’t been to King’s Cross recently you will be amazed and delighted at how much has changed. This walk, led by the inestimable blue badge guide Diana Kelsey (who has recently led us on two sold-out tours of the Olympic Park and Hidden Gardens of the City), will show how London’s once seediest area has been transformed into one of its most stimulating and vibrant areas. The famous gas holders have become both apartments and a park, the granary has become the new home of Central St Martins, and Thomas Heatherwick has turned the old coal drops into a shopping arcade. The massive ‘hip’ businesses Google and Facebook have each decided to have their new UK headquarters buildings in the area. Our focus will be on the imaginative ‘garden greening’ of the whole area, especially the work of Dan Pearson in the beautiful informal gardens and open spaces. The tour will conclude at a lunch venue and in the afternoon you will be free to explore the wider reaches of the area which include The British Library, The Francis Crick Institute, the St Pancras Hotel, and The Wellcome Institute…or just take the train home!

KGT contact: Richard Stileman (

Kings Cross - Handyside Gardens

Kings Cross - Gas Holder apartments

All in a Garden Green - a special summer concert – 25th July 2019 at 19:00

Location: Mount Ephraim, Faversham, ME13 9TX

Cost: £35.00, Members £30.00 (includes pre-concert drinks and canapes)

Broadening our programme of summer events, we have commissioned a concert of songs about gardens and nature from world-renowned Kent musicians soprano Kate Semmens and Steven Devine (harpsichord).They have put together a unique collection of beautiful pastoral songs including favourite works by Purcell, Handel, Arne, Monteverdi and Caccini.

The concert will be in indoors at Mount Ephraim and starts at 7.30pm. There will be a 20 minute interval. Drinks and canapés served from 7pm. The garden will be open from 5pm and picnickers are welcome in the garden.
KGT contacts: Lesley Dawes ( and Tom La Dell (

Kate Semmens and Steven Devine

Topiary at Mount Ephraim

Godinton Revisited – 11th July 2019 at 11:00

Location: Godinton House, Godinton Lane, Ashford TN23 3BP

Cost: £45.00, Members £40.00 (includes tea/coffee on arrival and a ploughman's lunch)

Standing in a parkland setting, Godinton House has survived for six hundred years with only two major changes of ownership. It now comprises a fascinating combination of medieval, Jacobean and Victorian architecture and we will be treated to a private, guided tour where we will learn about the people who lived there and the collections of porcelain, musical instruments and furniture they have left behind. Following a ploughman’s lunch we will then have a guided tour of the beautiful twelve acre gardens, lead by the Head Gardener. After four hundred years of changing fashions, the gardens are now mainly laid out to the 1898 designs of Reginald Blomfield. We will see the wonderful walled garden with its ornamental greenhouse, the rose gardens and herbaceous borders as well as the lily pond and Italian garden and learn about the continuous programme of conservation and restoration involved in a garden such as this.

KGT contact: Alison Philip (

House and garden at Godinton

Garden at Godinton

Two Sussex Gems - Town Place and Clinton Lodge – 5th June 2019 at 10:30

Location: 10.30 at Town Place, Ketches Lane, Danehill, RH17 7NR, then Clinton Lodge, Fletching, TN22 3ST

Cost: £55.00, Members £50.00 (includes lunch with wine at Clinton Lodge)

Serendipitously, these exceptional private gardens are within a few miles of each other, and just round the corner from Sheffield Park. We will start at Anthony and Maggie McGrath’s Town Place, and then move on to lunch at Lady Collum’s Clinton Lodge. Full details of the day will be sent at a later date for those who book.

Artist Maggie McGrath and her husband Anthony have, over the past 30 years, been turning the pastures surrounding their 17th century Sussex farmhouse into a 3 acre garden that has achieved an international reputation for the quality of its design and planting (see in particular Gardens Illustrated, July 2012). The structure is defined by extensive topiary using yew, box as well as hornbeam, and includes shapes inspired by the sculptures of Henry Moore, as well as a unique ‘priory church and cloisters’. The topiary is the backdrop to exuberant herbaceous planting, and a collection of more than 600 roses.

Similarly developed over the past 30 years or so, the 6 acre garden at Clinton Lodge surrounds the Caroline and Georgian House with formal and romantic features and planting, and a spectacular view over parkland. Lady Collum, who will be giving us a tour, continues to develop the garden and oversees an utterly enchanting cornucopia of features that include extensive topiary, double white and blue herbaceous borders, a pleached lime walk, water features, a medieval style potager, a 17th century herb garden, and more….

KGT contact: Richard Stileman (

Town Place

Clinton Lodge

Hush Heath Estate and Winery Tour – 16th May 2019 at 11:15

Location: Hush Heath Estate, Five Oak Lane, Staplehurst, TN12 0HT

Cost: £55.00, Members £50.00 (includes wine-tasting and lunch)

Join us for a guided walking tour of the Hush Heath Estate of vineyards, apple orchards and ancient woodland. Situated just outside Staplehurst, Hush Heath estate sits in 400 acres of Wealden clay and is home to the Balfour-Lynn family. During our walk, we will learn about the gradual development of the now fifty acres of vineyards which produce award-winning still and sparkling wines. Another twenty acres of Hush Heath is devoted to the growing of apples for the production of very popular ciders. We will return to the winery through the woodland and hope that our visit will coincide with the appearance of ancient bluebells which have carpeted these woods for centuries. The process of still and sparkling wine-making will be explained during our tour of the state-of-the-art winery which was built in 2010 and will be followed by a tutored tasting of six award-winning wines and ciders.

Lunch will be served in the newly-opened visitors’ centre and we will then have the opportunity to buy some of the wines and ciders made at Hush Heath. The tour ends at about 2.30pm.

KGT contact: Alison Philip (

Hush Heath estate

Wine-making at Hush Heath

Smiths Hall and Nettlestead Place – 24th April 2019 at 10:30

Location: 10.30 am at Smith’s Hall, West Farleigh, ME15 0PE, and then Nettlestead Place, ME18 5HA

Cost: £55.00, Members £50.00 (includes lunch and tea)

Smiths Hall was rebuilt by John Brewer, and dated 1719 on a rainwater head and Kip’s engraving in Harris’s History of Kent. The garden layout still follows the engraving, although it has been considerably extended in recent years. Its distinct compartments display varied plantings of year-round lushness - extensive iris beds, peony and rose walks, herbaceous borders,a formal rose garden, a sunk garden and pond and some 5,000 young specimen trees, half of these forming an American arboretum in the park. The pavilion, copied in 1961 by Sir Albert Richardson, PRA from the 1719 engraving, overlooks the swimming pool at the north end of the original bowling green. We will be welcomed by Stephen Norman whose family has lived at Smiths Hall since 1949.

Lunch will be at the nearby Tickled Trout pub.

Centred on the magnificent C13 manor house of the de Wahull family, Nettlestead’s 10 acres of varied gardens cover many levels down to the River Medway with panoramic views beyond it. The range of plants and trees is breathtaking, giving year-round interest. Notable features include the sunken pond garden and the rose garden, both dating from major restoration of the house and gardens in the 1920s; an 80 metre terraced gravel garden planted with rock plants and dwarf bulbs; a formal herb and kitchen garden; a striking herbaceous border; and a glen garden in the valley, fed by a natural stream and planted with shade- and damp-loving plants, with a small forest of bamboos beyond it. Since 1978, Nettlestead has been the home of Roy and Annabel Tucker who have enthusiastically redeveloped and extended the gardens and will welcome members and kindly provide tea.

KGT contact: Andrew Wells (

Smiths Hall

Nettlestead Place

Great plantsmen’s gardens north of the Thames – 16th April 2019 at 09:30

Location: Myddelton House, Hertfordshire, and Warley Place, Essex (travel by coach - meet 9.30am at the Mercure Hotel, J.8 of the M20, and approximately 10.15am at Swanley)

Cost: £55.00, Members £50.00 (includes coach, lunch and garden tours)

E A Bowles (1865 to 1954) was a great late nineteenth and early twentieth century plantsman who created a famous garden at Myddelton House, Enfield. He grew an amazing range of plants and wrote about them in his books My Garden in Spring, Summer and Autumn and Winter (1914-1915). He pioneered plantsman’s rockeries and loved snowdrops and crocus. The recently restored garden should have a superb display of spring flowers.

After Myddelton we move on to Forty Hall, (where Bowles’ brother Henry lived) for a lunch of local produce in the stable block of the 17th century house. We loosely use the term ‘plantsman’, but perhaps the greatest of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was the plantswoman Ellen Willmott (1858 – 1934), who devoted her life to her gardens at Warley Place and later on the French and Italian Rivieras. Our journey ends at Warley Place which is now run by the Essex Wildlife Trust. The house has gone but EWT maintains the remaining outdoor fabric. We will have a guide from EWT who will tell us about Ellen’s 100,000 different plants and 100 gardeners and its value as a nature reserve.

Please note that we are organising a coach for this trip so that we all arrive at Myddelton House together! The pick up points will be the Mercure Hotel at J.8 of the M20, and Swanley (details will be advised nearer the time). Return approximately 4.30pm.

Please book by April 1st so that we can confirm the coach booking.

KGT contact: Tom La Dell (

Myddleton House

Warley Place

Spring Lecture - Head Gardeners by Ambra Edwards – 31st March 2019 at 14:30

Location: The Millenium Village Hall, Egerton TN27 9DS

Cost: £15.00 (includes afternoon tea)

What is Britain’s greatest contribution to world culture? Writer and garden historian Ambra Edwards suggests it is the garden. It is an art form we have made peculiarly our own, and which we have been exporting to the rest of the world for the last three centuries. It expresses important ideas about what we value, what we believe in, what we dream of, and what we think is beautiful.

So gardens are hugely important to us. Yet by their very nature, they are mutable, making them at once more interesting, and more fragile, than other forms of art. What makes them - and keeps them - special, is the input of the people who look after them. These are the Head Gardeners. If these individuals, who bring such pleasure to so many, were, say, singers, or footballers, we would be following their every move in celebrity TV shows or Hello Magazine. Yet, with a very few exceptions, we don’t know who they are.

Ambra introduces us to some of the most interesting gardeners working in Britain today – wondering why these people are so little known and so under-appreciated, particularly when their jobs demand such an extraordinary
variety of skills. She also looks at the critical role head gardeners have played in Britain’s history – not just as artists, designers and engineers, but in underpinning the social fabric of their times. Her talk is illustrated with many wonderful photographs taken by Charlie Hopkinson.

Ambra Edwards studied garden history at Birkbeck College, London, was an early champion of community gardening in Britain, and is now one of our foremost garden writers. She has been voted Journalist of the Year by the Garden Media Guild in 2015, 2009 and 2006, and writes regularly for the The Telegraph, The Guardian, The
Garden, Gardens Illustrated, Country Living and Hortus. Head Gardeners was published to widespread acclaim in 2017 and named Inspirational Garden Book of the Year. This was followed in 2018 by The Story of English Garden, an accessible and richly illustrated history published by The National Trust. She is currently working with Penelope Hobhouse on The Story of Gardening, a world history of gardening, due for publication in Autumn 2019.

KGT contact: Richard Stileman (

Ambra Edwards

Capability Brown at Leeds Abbey – 26th March 2019 at 11:00

Location: 10.30am in the car park of the Leeds Village sports ground, Lower Road,
Leeds, ME17 1TL

Cost: £15.00 (Does not include lunch but reservations will be made at The George Inn, Leeds, for those that would like some restorative refreshment!)

This is an opportunity to explore part of the very overgrown grounds of Leeds Abbey and experience the setting of the house and garden where little has happened in the 250 years since Capability Brown worked there. Please be aware that the ground is very rough and the whole site covered with scrub and nettles (which is why a winter /spring visit is best). Suitable clothing and footwear will be necessary.

Leeds Priory dates from 1119. The priory church was the size of a small cathedral and, during the dissolution of the monasteries, was dismantled on the orders of Henry VIII. A house was built on the foundations of the nave of the church around the end of the 1500s and this was known as Leeds Abbey. In 1765 the estate was bought by John Calcraft, the owner of Ingress near Dartford, who asked Capability Brown to re-landscape the grounds, in particular the water features. The dam and lake are still there but the house, of which nothing remains, was pulled down in 1790 and the grounds gradually became a wilderness. The remains of the priory were excavated in the 1970s but then re-covered again to protect them. The pigeon house which became the eye catcher on the hill, and the slype, the only remaining medieval building, are still there.

This walk is led by our trustee Dr Hugh Vaux, who was responsible for the chapter Leeds Abbey: A Hidden Brown Landscape in our book Capability Brown in Kent. The tour will finish at about 12.30pm.

KGT contact: Hugh Vaux (

Leeds Abbey lake

Ordnance Survey map c1790

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)

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 -

Cobham Hall

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)

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 -

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)

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 -

Church Farm garden

The garden at Boldshaves

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)

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 -

Water lilies at Walmer

Walmer Castle garden

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)

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 -

The parterre garden at Restoration House

Cloister Garth, Rochester Cathedral

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)

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 -

Stonepitts Manor garden

The garden at St Clere

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)

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 -

Doddington Place gardens

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)

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

Humphry Repton

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)

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

Half moon pond at Hever

Stonewall Park in Spring

All day Visit to Winchelsea Gardens – 26th July 2017 at 10:30

Location: Meet at The Well House, Castle Street, Winchelsea, TN 36 4EL

Cost: £30.00 (to include the garden visits, cellar visits, coffee, tea and lunch)

Winchelsea is a gem - and a surprisingly little visited gem - in almost all respects: a well preserved 13th
century ‘new town’ built at the behest of Edward 1st after the sea started to reclaim ‘old’ Winchelsea; the
exquisite Church of St Thomas the Martyr; many fine historic sites and buildings, the ancient cellars
built to serve the medieval wine trade; as well as the more recent development of a collection of very
special gardens. We will be seeing five of these gardens, starting at The Well House where Alice
Kenyon – who has helped us organise this visit – will provide us with coffee and then a tour of her
garden. We will then visit King’s Leap and Cleveland Place, and - after lunch at The New Inn - Rye
View, and South Mariteau where members Robert and Sheila Holland will kindly give us tea. Each of
the garden owners will give us a brief talk about their garden. Also included will be a visit to two of the
famous cellars.

The Well House garden, Winchelsea

All day visit to the gardens of the Olympic Park – 28th June 2017 at 10:30

Location: Meet at Stratford International Station at 10.30 (fast trains from Ashford and
Ebbsfleet); return from Stratford at about 3.30. Full details of train times and our
meeting place will be sent to participants nearer the time

Cost: £26.00 (for the tour and coffee - lunch and travel to Stratford extra)

Diana Kelsey, famous for her tours of London, will guide us on a fascinating circuit of the varied
gardens at Olympic Park. This is going to involve about three hours walking, interspersed with a few
‘sitting’ stops, coffee at the beginning, and lunch roughly in the middle. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic
Park is located just East of the River Lea, the area to which Victorian London’s ‘stink industries’ had
been banished leaving a legacy of disused railway shunting yards, filthy canals, derelict buildings and
highly contaminated soil. It is now one of Europe’s most imaginatively-planned parks. The north of the
park is a wilder wetland and river-scape, with an innovative water recycling plant. The south is more
formal with landscaping designed by James Corner Field and Piet Oudolf. Our walk will concentrate on
the landscaping and planting, but Diana will briefly point out the sporting venues and outline the longer
term plans for the park and the surrounding area.

Meadows in the Olympic Park

Visit to Canterbury Cathedral precinct gardens (am) – 13th June 2017 at 11:00

Location: Meet at the Cathedral precinct entrance just inside the gate.

Cost: £16.00 (for morning garden visit only)

We are privileged to have been offered a private guided tour of four of the Canonical Gardens within
the precincts of the cathedral . These gardens are only very rarely open to the public so this is an
opportunity not to be missed. We will see The Deanery Garden, especially famous for its roses; The
Archdeaconry, with its combination of traditional and modern planting; the gardens of No.15 (Canon
Treasurer), dominated by a copper beech and a large mixed perennial border; and No. 19 (Canon
Librarian) with its productive fruit trees, and a small courtyard garden. During the tour, Philip
Oostenbrink, the Head Gardener, will show pictures from the archives and library (including pictures
from Jerrard’s journal of the 1550s), and illustrate how the grounds have changed through the centuries.

Deanery Garden, Canterbury Cathdedral

Guided Visit to Goodnestone Park Gardens – 30th May 2017 at 12:30

Location: Goodnestone Park Gardens, Kent, CT3 1PL (

Cost: £30.00 (including lunch)

"There is a beautifully kept 17th century walled garden, an 18th century landscape park, 20th century woodland, a Millennium parterre, and a brilliant new gravel garden." Ursula Buchan, Daily Telegraph.
As well as all these delights the gardens have some magnificent trees and the end of May should be a
splendid time for the roses, peonies and cornus. Our visit will start with a light lunch in the tea rooms.
An introduction to the gardens will be given by Francis Plumptre or Paul Bagshure, the head gardener
who will then accompany us for a guided tour.

Goodnestone Park garden

The diverse heritage of Medway's parks and gardens – 12th October 2016 at 18:00

Location: Lenham Community Centre, Lenham, Maidstone ME17 2QT

Cost: £16.00 (including wine and refreshments before the talk)

Medway has a fascinating history, fully reflected in the wide range of parks and gardens in the area. A Tudor garden has been discovered in Rochester which is now gradually being transformed into a Renaissance-style water garden. Chatham boasts fine examples of early eighteenth-century, formal town gardens, with design features still surviving today. Many sites are of high military importance given the association with Chatham Dockyard. The 19th and 20th centuries are also well-represented: in Rochester there is a significant Arts and Crafts garden; at the historic Rochester Cathedral gardens there are associations with Gertrude Jekyll; and a very good example of an early Edwardian municipal park can be found at Gillingham.

In 2013, Medway Council, keen to record its heritage, commissioned Kent Gardens Trust to research the history and significance of many of these gardens. Paul Howarth, one of the volunteer researchers, will give a fully-illustrated talk about this major project and the parks and gardens involved. Paul will also consider some questions about the work of county gardens trusts which arise from the project.

Restoration House, Rochester

Another day at the seaside - a tour of Broadstairs – 3rd August 2016 at 10:30

Location: Morelli's Ice Cream Parlour, 14 Victoria Parade, Broadstairs, CT10 1QS

Cost: £35.00 (including morning coffee, guided tour, lunch and museum visit)

Following the success of our visits to Ramsgate and Margate, we return again to the east-Kent coast with a guided tour of old Broadstairs. A popular holiday destination during the 19th century (Charles Dickens visited frequently) it still retains its old-world charm of hidden cobbled squares, fishermen’s cottages and vintage ice-cream parlours. Once more, we will be in the expert hands of Nick Dermott, heritage adviser to Thanet District Council. After lunch, we will visit the Dickens House Museum, once the home of Mary Pearson Strong, whom Dickens characterised as the fictitious Betsey Trotwood in David Copperfield. There has been a dwelling on the site since Tudor times, and the current museum houses many artefacts of the great Victorian author. We will end the day with a private visit to Seven Stones House designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens with a beautiful garden designed by Percy Cane.

Illustrated Spring talk by Michael Symes – 21st May 2016 at 14:30

Location: The Garden Room, Riverhill House, Sevenoaks, TN15 0RR

Cost: £15.00 (includes tea and cakes)

To help mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Capability Brown, this year's Spring talk will be given by the well-known garden historian and author, Michael Symes. Michael is an authority on eighteenth-century landscape gardens and his talk 'The English Landscape Garden: Brown and Alternative Contemporary Visions' will set the scene for further events later in the year organised by the Trust (see 'A day at Chilham Castle' on 21st August). Michael's talk will provide the context for Brown's achievements and examine the role of other landscape architects working at the time.

The event will coincide with the publication of the Trust’s new, fully-illustrated book 'Capability Brown in Kent', which explores Brown’s landscaping and architecture at five Kent estates. The book will be available for purchase at the event - £9.50 (£8.00 for Kent Gardens Trust members).

The engraving of Hill Park (Valence): Courtesy of British Library

Engraving of Hill Park (Valence)

Gravetye Manor Gardens – 28th April 2016 at 14:00

Location: Gravetye Manor, Vowels Lane, West Hoathly, Sussex RH19 4LJ

Cost: £40.00 (including guided tour and full afternoon tea)

The gardens at Gravetye Manor are particularly special and considered to be amongst the most influential in English gardening history. In 1884, the manor became the home of the botanist and revolutionary gardener, William Robinson, whose ideas about naturalised plantings, bringing nature into the garden that we often take for granted today, were seen as ground-breaking. His most influential books include The English Flower Garden and The Wild Garden. We will be given a guided tour of the garden where the focus by the head gardener Tim Coward, has been not only to conserve and re-create Robinson’s ideas, but also to create new ideas in homage to Robinson’s experimental style. After tea, we can explore the garden at our leisure.

The influence of early C20 artists and architects on garden – 6th November 2015 at 18:30

Location: Lenham Community Centre, Lenham, Maidstone ME17 2QT

Cost: £25.00 (including canapes and wine before the talk)

Marian Boswall is a landscape architect specialising in historic garden restoration. She is gardens adviser to a number of historic houses and trusts and a visiting lecturer at Greenwich University. One current project is the Charleston Centenary Project: developing the access, facilities and resources for this important museum and centre of literary learning, whilst conserving the landscape.

A visit to Nettlestead Place Gardens – 1st September 2015 at 12:30

Location: Venue (1): The Swan on the Green, West Peckham ME18 5JW \r\nVenue (2): Nettlestead Place Nr. Wateringbury ME18 5HA

Cost: £30.00 (including lunch)

We start with lunch at The Swan on the Green, West Peckham, a highly regarded pub in the middle of West Peckham. After lunch we drive 6 miles to Nettlestead. \r\nNettlestead Place is a mediaeval house on the site of an ancient manor mentioned in the Domesday Book. It is set on the west bank of the Medway valley and the gardens run to 10 acres. \r\n \r\nThe inner part of the gardens including the large stone lined pool and the rose gardens were laid out in 1921. After extensive damage in 1987 the gardens have been extensively enlarged and developed with many interesting plants. \r\n \r\nThe head gardener Anthony Bradshaw will be talking about the development of the gardens over the past 25 years and his plans for the future.

A day at the seaside - a tour of old Margate – 6th August 2015 at 10:30

Location: Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate CT9 1HG

Cost: £25.00 (including morning coffee, lunch, tour of Margate and guided tour of Turner Contemporary Gallery)

Last year Nick Dermott, Heritage Advisor to Thanet Council, was ill and we had to cancel this event. We are delighted that Nick, who has unrivalled knowledge of Margate and its history, has now recovered and has very kindly agreed to revive the tour. Margate was the first fashionable seaside resort from early in the C18 when visitors came by boat from London. There are no less than 70 listed buildings in the town including one of the earliest theatres in the country and it has many literary and artistic connections. Turner lodged and painted there but it is less well known that the painter Walter Sickert lived and taught in Margate and T.S. Eliot wrote The Wasteland sitting on the pier. We will meet for coffee at the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery and after our guided tour of Margate and lunch at BeBeached Cafe we will visit the Gallery where there will be an exhibition of work by Grayson Perry.

Hawley Square, Margate

Winter Gardens, Margate

A visit to Restoration House and the gardens – 10th July 2015 at 11:00

Location: Restoration House, Crow Lane, Rochester, ME 1 1RF

Cost: £20.00 (to include a guided tour of the house, guide book and light lunch)

In 1994, Robert Tucker and Jonathan Wilmot purchased the grade I listed Restoration House and began the enormous undertaking of restoring this nationally important mansion and its much neglected, centuries old, walled and terraced garden. The results of their efforts are a joy for all to see. Red brick walls surround and divide the garden into distinct areas, each one reflecting various stages of its 500 year old history. Yew topiary, deep herbaceous borders, a lily pond and wonderful box parterres, replicating the patterns of the Jacobean doors of the house, provide visual focal points. In 2009, historic boundaries of the garden were returned to Restoration House, allowing Robert and Jonathan to embark, once more, on major restoration work - this time to the Tudor garden. Eventually this part of the garden will become a Renaissance, Mannerist-style water garden and an orchard. Robert has very kindly agreed to give us a guided tour of the house, to be followed by a simple lunch. In the afternoon, members may tour the garden at their leisure. Please note that there are some steep steps.

Parterre Garden at Restoration House

Two gardens in Lamberhurst – 25th June 2015 at 10:00

Location: (1) Court Lodge, Lamberhurst, Kent TN3 8DG <br /> (2) The Priory, Lamberhurst, Kent TN3 8DS

Cost: £30.00 (to include lunch and tea)

Court Lodge Lamberhurst is our first garden. It has been owned by the Morland family since 1733. In the C19 the garden was at the peak of its development and remarkably its appearance has been recorded in a series of painted plates which can be seen in the house. The present owners, Heather and Ian Dyke, are planning to restore the gardens to their earlier splendour including the walled kitchen garden, water gardens and a rock garden designed by James Pulham &amp; Son. <br /> <br /> We will have lunch at Court Lodge before visiting The Priory which is only a short distance away. <br /> When Mr. and Mrs. McAlpine bought the Priory, in 1956, the garden was very overgrown with mostly rhododendrons, big yews and other dark trees. After 4 years of major pruning and removal of many evergreens to let in the light they employed the eminent designer Percy Cane to help in drawing up a new plan. He designed a large rose garden and, being a knowledgeable tree expert, planted some interesting deciduous trees. <br /> <br /> The 1987 storm hit the garden badly and some 60 trees and shrubs were lost. Anthony du Gard Pasley, another influential designer helped the McAlpines to plant two grey borders and create a spring garden in an area destroyed by the storm and generally helped get the garden on its feet again

Court Lodge East Lawn

The Priory paved garden

A visit to the Chelsea Physic Garden – 12th May 2015 at 11:00

Location: The Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4HS<br />

Cost: £26.00 (to include coffee on arrival and lunch)

The Chelsea Physic Garden was founded in 1673 by the Society of Apothecaries making it the second oldest botanic garden in the UK. The original purpose was to demonstrate medicinal plants and it still provides plants to various institutions for instruction and research. Philip Miller, the author of the Gardeners Dictionary was appointed curator in 1722 and it became the most richly stocked botanic garden in the world. The rock garden (1780)is the oldest in England.<br /> <br /> Lunch will be provided after a conducted tour of the garden. <br />

Walled Kitchen Gardens - a talk by Susan Campbell – 25th April 2015 at 14:30

Location: The Garden Room, Riverhill House, Sevenoaks, TN15 0RR

Cost: £15.00 (to include tea and cakes)

Susan Campbell is a foremost authority on walled kitchen gardens, and we are most privileged that she has agreed to deliver our second Annual Spring Lecture. Susan has been researching, lecturing and writing about the subject over the last twenty years, and her books include The Walled Kitchen Garden, A History of Kitchen Gardening and Cottesbrook. For this lecture, Susan will be concentrating on the history of walled kitchen gardens, and how new ideas and innovations in kitchen gardening came about through social and economic change. Tea and cakes will be served in the Garden Room following the lecture, and there will be an opportunity to visit the garden at Riverhill House afterwards.

The New English Garden – 13th November 2014 at 19:00

Location: Lenham Community Centre, Lenham, Maidstone ME17 2QT

Cost: £20.00 (including wine and light refreshments)

Tim Richardson will be well known to many. He writes on gardens and garden history for the Daily Telegraph, Gardens Illustrated, House and Garden and Country Life. He has written several books on gardens including Great Gardens of America, English Gardens of the Twentieth Century, Arcadian Friends: the Makers of the English Landscape Garden and his latest book The New English Garden on which his talk will be based. Tim is the mastermind behind the Chelsea Fringe the alternative garden festival which overlaps the Chelsea Flower Show and involves numerous garden related events around London. Tim is an incisive and insightful critic of gardens and his talk will be thought provoking and stimulating.

Two Contrasting Sussex Gardens – 4th October 2014 at 10:30

Location: Venue (1): Sussex Prairie Garden,Morlands Farm, Wheatsheaf Road, Henfield, Sussex BN5 9AT <br /> Venue (2): Clinton Lodge, Fletching, Uckfield, Sussex TN22 3ST

Cost: £40.00 (including morning coffee, lunch and tea)

At Sussex Prairie Garden Paul and Pauline McBride have created an amazing six acre garden which the two of them manage with only intermittent outside help. The site was initially a flat field surrounded by mature oak trees but the swirling masses of largely perennial plants create exciting vistas of colour and form in a very modern style. There are many grasses which should be at their best at the time of our visit. <br /> <br /> After lunch in a local pub we will visit Clinton Lodge Gardens which is very different in style. The six acre garden here is divided into several smaller gardens of different character (a small potager, an Elizabethan knot garden, a pre-Raphaelite allee and so on). The planting is formal and romantic with good views out of the garden. We are hoping to have a short talk from Lady Collum, the owner, and you will then be able to wander round at your own pace. Tea in the lemonry will end the visit.

Another day at the seaside a tour of old Margate – 6th August 2014 at 10:30

Location: Turner Contemporary, Margate CT9 1HG

Cost: £25.00 (including morning coffee, lunch and tour of Turner Contemporary Gallery)

Nick Dermott, Heritage Adviser to Thanet Council, has very kindly agreed to conduct us on a tour of Margate after the very successful visit to Ramsgate last year. Margate was the first fashionable seaside resort from early in the C18 when visitors came by boat from London. Margate has no less than 70 listed buildings including one of the earliest theatres in the country and many literary and artistic connections. Turner lodged and painted there but it is less well known that the painter Walter Sickert lived and taught in Margate and T.S. Eliot wrote The Wasteland sitting on the pier. We are privileged have as our guide Nick Dermott, who has unrivalled knowledge of the town and its history. We will meet at the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery and after lunch there will be a tour of the Gallery.

Artistry in the Garden – 17th July 2014 at 14:30

Location: Church Farm, Warehorne, Kent TN26 2LP

Cost: £15.00 (to include tea)

Elizabeth Doyle and her husband, the artist John Doyle, have created a sensational garden around their old farmhouse in east Kent where brilliant colours chosen with an artists eye combine with meticulous design and planting to create a breathtaking effect. The garden is not open to the public so we are most privileged to be allowed to see it, when it should be at its peak.

A day with Chelsea winner Roger Platts – 27th June 2014 at 10:30

Location: Leydens, Hartfield Road, Edenbridge, Kent TN8 5NH

Cost: £45.00 (including lunch)

Plantsman and garden designer Roger Platts has won no less than 7 Gold Medals at Chelsea being awarded the prize for Best Show Garden in 2002 and Peoples Choice in 2010. His designs combine a naturalistic style and generous planting with traditional features to create the classic English garden. His own remarkable garden at Leydens showcases his talents and ideas. Roger has kindly agreed to talk about Garden Design in general and his experiences of designing gardens for Chelsea. We will have lunch in a local pub.

A designers garden – 7th June 2014 at 14:30

Location: Calico House, Newnham, Sittingbourne, Kent ME9 0LN

Cost: £15.00 (including tea)

Graham Lloyd-Brunt and Ewan Brown moved to Calico House in 2006. Graham is a garden designer and wished to create a garden to complement the house which was built between 1400 1600. Topiary yew hedges and three terraced lawns which date from the 1920s have been retained but each level has been developed to acquire a distinct character. A summer rose border is next to the house and on the middle lawn Arts and Crafts style borders in cool hues run from the kitchen door to a distant fountain. A cloister of stilted hornbeams provides a breathing space on the top lawn. This will be a wonderful opportunity to see a newly designed garden created within an old setting.

The London Square - a talk by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan – 5th April 2014 at 14:30

Location: Riverhill House, Sevenoaks, TN15 0RR

Cost: £12.00 (including tea)

Well known landscape architect and garden historian Todd Longstaffe-Gowan will give an illustrative talk on the history of the London Square (the subject of his recent book which was reviewed in the last newsletter). A highly engaging speaker, Todd will describe the Square\'s early beginnings in the C17 and the ways in which important changes to architectural and planting designs were made, and affected by, social and economic change over the centuries. The talk will be followed by tea and members will be able to visit the recently restored Himalayan gardens at Riverhill, the result of the Rogers family passion for plant collecting since 1840

A visit to the Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Road – 5th March 2014 at 11:30

Location: The Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB

Cost: £20.00 (to include lunch)

The Garden Museum was set up in 1977 to rescue the church of St. Marys where the great gardener and plant hunter John Tradescant and his son are buried. The museum contains a collection of gardening paintings, tools and artefacts and is dedicated to celebrating the British love of gardens. A charming C17 style knot garden is planted with species introduced by the Tradescants. Christopher Woodward, the director, will greet us and after a conducted tour of the Museum there will be an opportunity to see the current exhibition, Fashion and Gardens which explores the relationship between fashion and garden design. Lunch will be in the delectable Garden Cafe.

A polite landscape out of a treeless plain – 13th November 2013 at 19:00

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Location: Lenham Community Centre, Lenham, Maidstone ME17 2QT

Cost: £18.00 (Includes wine and light refreshments)

Robert Peel is vice-chairman of the Garden History Society and organises tours for the Society. He studied garden history at the Architectural Association and has co-authored a book on the plant collections of the Marquess of Bute. Robert lives for part of the year in Argentina. His talk, which is based on one he gave recently at the Lindley Library, will cover how he has created a garden in the Argentine Pampa and the historical context of gardening there.

Tree identification day at Doddington Place – 2nd November 2013 at 10:30

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Location: Doddington Place, near Sittingbourne ME9 0BB

Cost: £25.00 (Includes coffee on arrival, lunch and tea)

Jane Cordingley, KGT trustee and head gardener at Eltham Palace, conducted a tree identification day recently for our research group which was such a success that we are repeating it for the benefit of KGT members. Jane is a very expert plantswoman with a deep understanding and love of trees. She will provide guidance and instruction on how to identify many of the more common native trees which can be seen in the beautiful park at Doddington and also some more unusual trees in the historic garden. There will be a tour round the garden in the afternoon. The day will end with a light-hearted test of what we have learnt.

Doddington Place

Modern planting in an old setting – 29th September 2013 at 14:30

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Location: Heronden, Smallhythe Road, Tenterden TN30 7LN. Directions: From Tenterden take the Smallhythe road (B2082). In less than 1/2 mile you will see a Tesco store on the left. Continue on Smallhythe Road and take the next turning on the right (about 200 yards) which is a private road to Heronden. A KGT sign will be put at the road entrance. Any problems on the day please telephone Elizabeth Cairns: 07860 177101.

Cost: £15.00 (Including tea)

Peter and Vicky Costain have transformed the C19 walled garden at Heronden near Tenterden with a sensational contemporary planting scheme of grasses and perennials which should not be missed. The house is set in fine parkland with some handsome mature trees and a ha ha. The lawns are bordered with some interesting shrubs. We will have tea in the garden.

A day at the seaside - a tour of old Ramsgate – 1st August 2013 at 10:30

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Location: Royal Harbour Brasserie, East Pier, Royal Harbour, Ramsgate CT11

Cost: £25.00 (Includes morning coffee and lunch)

Ramsgate was a highly fashionable seaside resort in the late 18th and 19th centuries and contains many charming squares and gardens. We are privileged to have as our guide Nick Dermott, Heritage Adviser to Thanet Council who has unrivaled knowledge of the town and its history and literary and artistic connections. Our visit will include Madeira Walk with its remarkable Pulhamite rockwork and the delightful Vale Square, Albion Gardens and Liverpool Lawn named after the 19th century Prime Minister.

A visit to the gardens at Chevening – 25th June 2013 at 14:00

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Location: North Gate, Chevening, Sevenoaks, Kent TN14 7LD

Cost: £30.00 (Including tea)

Chevening has one of the great gardens of Kent, registered Grade I on the English Heritage register of parks and gardens. Originally laid out in the early 18th century for the Earl of Stanhope much of the early design, shown in an engraving by Kip published in 1719, still survives. The garden contains some magnificent trees including mature cedars and limes. Elizabeth Banks prepared a study and management plan of the garden and the trustees continue a sensitive programme of development and restoration. The afternoon will end with tea in the Brew House.

Chevening House

Restoring the Salutation – 21st July 2012 at 14:30

Location: The Salutation, Nightrider Street, Sandwich CT13 9EW

Cost: £16.00 (to include entrance, guided tour and tea)

When the present owners, Mr and Mrs Parker bought the Salutation, the garden designed by Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll was sadly degraded. Since then it has been beautifully restored and replanted. Steve Edney, former head gardener, will take us round the garden and tell us how this has been achieved and how it has been possible to retain the Edwardian atmosphere while accommodating around 30,000 visitors each year. We will have tea in the Tea Room.

Meadow at The Salutation

Elizabethan and Jacobean Deer Parks of Kent – 16th May 2012 at 14:30

Location: Boughton Monchelsea Place, Maidstone ME17 4BU

Cost: £20.00 (to include cream tea)

Susan Pittman wrote her doctoral thesis on Elizabethan and Jacobean Deer Parks in Kent. She has kindly agreed to give a talk on deer parks and her chosen location for this is the beautiful C16 manor house of Boughton Monchelsea Place which has its own deer park and herd of fallow deer. The 1650 boundaries of the park still survive. After her talk we shall have a tour of the park and the charming garden and the afternoon will end with cream tea.

Annual Lecture – 19th October 2011 at 19:00

Location: Lenham Community Centre, Lenham, Maidstone ME17 2QT

Cost: £13.00 (including wine and light refreshments)

The Conservation and Management of Historic 20th century Flower Gardens We are honoured that our annual autumn lecture this year will be given by John Sales. John was Gardens Adviser for the National Trust for 25 years and is eminently qualified to talk about the particular problems surrounding the conservation of flower gardens The conservation of the built elements of gardens such as terraces and garden buildings is well understood but conserving the planting is a much more complicated undertaking. John proposes guidelines for the guardians of historic flower gardens.