11 May 2014

May 2014 outing, Millbrook Garden Centre & Great Comp garden.

The weather forecast was really bad for the day, so everybody came prepared for the worst. Thankfully, it was not too bad, although very windy and chilly.
Our first stop was at Millbrook Garden Centre, in Gravesend, Kent. It was very large, with a good variety of bedding, basket & container plants, vegetable plants and herbs. There were statues, pots, hanging baskets and a lot more. A lot of the members took advantage of the cafe for refreshments.




Everybody took advantage of the goodies available. I especially liked the solar lights that were for sale, to replace some of my "old faithfuls" that are rather coming apart after several years being out in all weathers, although still shining bravely on  when the weather is bright. I also purchased a gorgeous Bougainvillea  plant to replace an old one. One of the members, Sylviane, found a rather large plant she had been searching for, but hadn't been able to find until then. She purchased that, but managed to resist the lovely little donkey statues that would have set her back a few hundred pounds. Here she is, taking it to the coach:

The coach was well loaded when everybody had finished putting their bags in, this is only one part of it.

When everybody had re-boarded we carried on to Great Comp Gardens, near Sevenoaks. The journey was down tiny, windy roads and the trees were touching the coach on both sides, as well as overhead at times. Needless to say, it was a sedate ride there most of the way.

Great Comp Garden, near Sevenoaks, has built up an enviable reputation over the years as being one of Kent’s finest gardens to visit.
It is a wonderfully quirky garden showcasing 7 acres of beautiful and rare plants surrounding a 17th century manor house.  This hidden gem of a garden is home to an Italian Garden, romantic ruins, enchanting woodland walks and the Old Dairy Tearooms, where a lot of us went for our lunches.
In Spring this tranquil garden had erupted into bloom with numerous Magnolias, Azaleas and Rhododendrons, underplanted with large drifts of Helebores and bulbs. The colours of the plants were amazing, there were pinks, white, yellow & vibrant oranges. Beautiful! Here are examples:

There were many statues as well, both metal & stone:

The thing which fascinated everybody most, I think, were the follies. They looked like they had always been there, but in fact, were put there only from 1976 by Roderick & Joyce Cameron , the then owners. They dug the ironstone out of the garden, mostly by themselves, made the foundations, and put them up. Here are a few:

They even had a coat of arms and gargoyles!  See below:

Later in the year, the summer brings warmth and extravagance from one of the most comprehensive and exciting collections of Salvias in Europe, the National Collection is housed there.  Ornamental grasses in great variety punctuate the colourful borders and combine beautifully with the  myriad colours of late autumn.
The garden is the delightful creation of Roderick and Joy Cameron who moved to Great Comp in 1957.  They opened the garden to the public for charity in the early 1960s.  The gardens are now run by the Curator William Dyson, assisted by two full time gardeners, 1 part time gardener and a small team of volunteers.  It is an amazing place, throughout the year they hold events, both garden and music related.
 There was a spectacular rainbow to the right hand side of the coach to see us on our way home and the rain didn't reach us until we got to Dagenham, we were so lucky.

1 comment:

  1. As a fan of Great Comp, I'm glad you've discovered it. Do make a note in your diary about their Summer Show on Saturday & Sunday 9th and 10th August 2014. There will be specialist nurseries, ornamental gardenware suppliers and a select group of local artists and craftspeople. Music is supplied by jazz ensemble ‘Strings & Things’ and ‘Pimm’s’ is available on the lawn. Teas, lunches and delicious homemade cakes are available from the Old Dairy Tearoom. We love the gentle festive holiday atmosphere generated by the Show (enhanced be theJazz Band and the Pimms). The quality and variety of the plants is excellent.