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wednesday 1 may 2019

nymans, Haywards Heath

Nymans is a house and garden for all seasons, with formal and informal garden areas surrounding the partial ruins of a historic mansion.  Although the house at Nymans dates from the 17th century, the property became renowned in the late 19th century when Ludwig Messel and his family moved to England from Germany and bought the estate of some 400 acres overlooking the High Weald of Sussex.  Messel, with his extremely knowledgeable Head Gardener James Comber, created an Arts and Crafts-inspired garden where strong use of topiary contrasted with exotic plants from all over the world.   

Ludwig Messel's descendants continued to develop the garden in the early 20th century, turning it into one of the most beautiful and romantic gardens of Edwardian England.  Upon Leonard Messel’s death in 1953, Nymans was bequeathed to the National Trust. The gardens have been slowly restored after significant damage following the Great Storm of 1987.  

Guided tour of Nymans with Head Gardener, Joseph Whelan.  Tour will last approximately 1 hour and you are most welcome to explore the garden independently afterwards.  Please note that there are steep slopes and steps in places.  Paths are seasonally muddy and appropriate footwear is recommended.

£6.00 SGT / NT Members
£8.00 Non-SGT Members / NT Members
£17.00 SGT/ Non-NT Members
£19.00 Non-SGT / Non-NT Members

Does not include refreshments or lunch. See booking form for further information about lunch.

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wednesday 1 May 2019

leonardslee gardens, horsham

Leonardslee Gardens, established in 1801, covers 200 acres of a steep sandstone valley and is a Grade I registered Garden.  The oldest part of the landscape includes a string of seven man-made ponds originally used to provide power for the Wealden iron smelting industry in the 16th and 17th centuries.  The lands were granted by King Charles II to his physician Sir Edward Greaves and then descended to the Aldridge family.  Charles Beauclerk acquired the estate in 1801, building a house on the site of the current mansion and the first ornamental plantings but sold the estate to the Hubbard family in 1852.  Thomas Leverton Donaldson designed the present Italianate style house for the family in 1855.  Edmund Loder, husband to Marion Hubbard, acquired the property in 1889, creating much of the landscape present today.  His family owned High Beeches and his brother Gerald was later to transform Wakehurst Place. Edmund planted exotic flora, introduced wallabies and gazelles and commissioned James Pulham to build a rock garden at Leonardslee. 

Penny Streeter OBE acquired Leonardslee in July 2017 and has undertaken a massive restoration of the property.  Leonardslee reopened to the public in January 2019.

Head Gardener Ray Abraham will give a brief introduction to the gardens, followed by a tour.

£20.00 SGT Members
£22.00 Non-Members

Does not include refreshments or lunch. See booking form for further information about purchasing pre-paid lunch vouchers.

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Tuesday 18 June 2019

upton grey, Hampshire

Many of you will have attended our AGM in December 2018 and heard first hand about Rosamund’s incredible discovery of an overgrown Gertrude Jekyll garden at her Hampshire home and her tireless pursuit restoring it to its former beauty.  In 1984 Rosamund and her husband, John, decided to move from Chelsea to the countryside and they bought this neglected, derelict house and garden. After a chance meeting with Gilly Drummond of the Hampshire Gardens Trust, Rosamund discovered she owned what had once been a celebrated Jekyll garden, designed by Jekyll in 1908 for Charles Holme, a leading figure in the Arts & Craft movement.  Rosamund was able to obtain copies of the original designs as they formed part of the Reef Point Collection held by University of California Berkeley and her journey of restoration began.  

Since 1984 she has led the restoration of this five-acre garden. The garden at Upton Grey is believed to be the most complete and authentic Jekyll garden in existence and, understandably, hasover 3,000 visitors each year.  She has written two books about the restoration project: Gertrude Jekyll’s Lost Garden The Restoration of an Edwardian Masterpiece (2000)and Gertrude Jekyll, Her Art Restored at Upton Grey (2013).

Brief introduction by owner, Ros Wallinger and then free to explore garden at leisure.  

£9.00 SGT Members
£11.00 Non-Members

Includes tea, coffee and homemade cakes upon arrival.

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tuesday 18 june 2019

west green house gardens, hampshire

West Green House Gardens has been creatively designed over two decades by Marylyn Abbott, a renowned Australian garden designer.  The gardens surround an old manor house and combine a neo-classical style with a contemporary design that offers four seasons of beauty, contrast and stunning planting. 

The Nymphaeum Fountain designed by architect Quinlan Terry, combined with a grand water staircase provides a focal point in the more formal garden.  The Walled Garden, restored to its original design, has an alley of apples trees dividing the potager into areas for fruit, cut flowers, vegetables and perennials.  Beyond the Walled Garden one can enjoy the Lakefield carpeted with fritillaries and daffodils in the spring, a Lake, Paradise Water Garden and contemporary Garden of the Five Bridges.  These lead onto woodlands where the terraced Theatre Lawn sits, surrounded by tall hedges. In addition to creating a beautiful garden, Marylyn Abbott has built a thriving home for international opera – her other great passion.  

Introductory talk by Head Gardener and then free to explore garden at leisure.

£26.00 SGT Members
£28.00 Non-Members
Includes lunch upon arrival, entrance fee and introductory talk.  

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WEDNESDAY 3 July 2019

long barn, sevenoaks weald, kent

Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson purchased Long Barn, a 14th century Kentish barn on the edge of the Sevenoaks Weald, in 1915, shortly after their marriage.  The creation of the gardens at Long Barn allowed them to hone their horticultural skills before moving onto Sissinghurst Castle 15 year later. After extensions to the barn, they focused on the grounds -  terracing the sloping site and adding paths, stonewalls, hedges, trees and topiary to create ‘garden rooms’.  

The current owners, Lars and Rebecca Lemonius, have continued renovations to this garden and have carefully nurtured and reinstated the structure originally designed by Sackville-West.  Long Barn is a Grade II registered garden.  

The garden enjoys magnificent views to the south and has a strong central axis running east to west formed by an avenue of Irish yew sentinels.  The terracing and formal hedging hold the entire garden together. Steps lead to a mature box parterre and a long sloping rose walk with further levels leading to the Pleasaunce Lawn and the Dutch garden (believed to be laid out to a design by Lutyens). Other more intimate spaces exist in the garden, along with a formal kitchen garden and a spring garden/rock bank. 

Brief talk about history of the house and garden by Rebecca Lemonius, owner of Long Barn. 

£16.00 SGT Members
£18.00 Non-Members

Includes tea, coffee and homemade traybake.


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WEDNESDAY 3 july 2019

great comp garden, sevenoaks, kent

Great Comp Gardens consist of seven acres of beautiful and unusual plants surrounding a 17th century manor house.  The site of Great Comp, originally knows as Camp de Wrotha (meaning campus or field of Wrotham) dates from the 13th century. The original 700-acre estate was owned by the Lambarde family and the large country manor house was built in 1597 by Sir John Howell.  One notable owner of the estate was Mrs Frances J Heron Maxwell, a suffragette and campaigner for women’s sports.  She was a friend of Vita Sackville-West who lived nearby.  The garden, as we know it today, owes its design, planting and quirky personality to Roderick and Joy Cameron, who purchased the estate in 1957. They built a collection of rare and exotic plants, opening the garden to the public in 1968.  Great Comp celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018.  

The current Curator, William Dyson, has been at Great Comp for over 25 years and has established a world renowned Salvia nursery and collection on site.  Notable features at Great Comp include the Italian garden, romantic ruins and woodlands walks.  In the summer, the borders are dominated by the extensive salvia collection and punctuated by the great variety of ornamental grasses.   

Brief talk of the garden’s history followed by guided tour.

£12.00 SGT Members
£14.00 Non-Members
Includes entrance to garden, guided tour with gardener. Does not include lunch or refreshments but The Old Dairy Tearooms are open daily for light lunches.  

Photo by Annaick Guitteny Photography.

Photo by Annaick Guitteny Photography.

tuesday 30 july 2019

Malverleys Gardens
Newbury, Hampshire

Malverleys is a newly created traditional English flower garden set within a private country estate.  Begun in 2010, the 10-acre gardens have been designed by head gardener Mat Reese in conjunction with the owners.  Mat, who trained at Kew and Wisley, worked with Fergus Garrett and Christopher Lloyd at Great Dixter for six years.  Consequently, Great Dixter and the writings of iconic gardeners Christopher Lloyd, William Robinson and Vita Sackville-West have influenced his design at Malverleys. The garden is breathtakingly beautiful and looks as if it has always been there with statuesque specimen trees, formal hedges and abundant planting as well as the use of high quality materials.  The garden includes abundantly planted terraces and long borders; a stumpery with ferns and unusual shade plants; an exotic garden of tropical plants; and a topiary meadow.  Tall yew hedges divide themed rooms, including: a cool garden; a hot garden; a rose-clad cloister garden; and a large pond garden that reflects the dynamic planting on all sides. The walled kitchen garden includes fruit, vegetables and cut flowers, alongside a white garden with four small fountains and extensive greenhouses.

Talk and tour by Mat Reese, Head Gardener. Tour will last approximately 1 hour and you will be free to explore garden afterward.

£12.00 SGT Members
£14.00 Non-Members
Includes tea, coffee and cake upon arrival.

Maximum of 40 people.

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tuesday 30 July 2019

Sandleford Place
Newbury, Berkshire

Sandleford Place is a plantswoman’s garden consisting of 4 acres of exuberant planting ranging from shrubs to mixed borders.  Mrs Gatward has developed the garden over a period of 30 years and celebrates her 20th anniversary of opening for the NGS.  

The garden contains an old walled garden with wide borders and many climbers for year-round interest.  Visitors are invited to enjoy a small woodland walk, long herbaceous borders and wild flowers that adorn the meadows and banks of River Enborne, which flows through the garden.  Numerous fine trees envelop the more formal parts of the garden.  Development of the garden is always ongoing but it continues to be a romantic, restful garden.

Brief introduction by owner Mrs Mel Gatward before setting off to explore the garden on your own.

£12.00 SGT Members
£14.00 Non-Members

Includes tea, coffee and biscuits.



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wednesday 4 september

inner temple, london

Within Inner Temple lies a hidden gem of a three-acre garden – a tranquil oasis in the busy city of London.  Famed for its spectacular mixed herbaceous borders and textured shade planting, it sweeps towards the river with spacious lawns and a collection of specimen trees. The gardens have a rich history having started off as an orchard in medieval times, and by the 14thCentury there are several mentions of its roses.  In 1591 a more formal design was imposed, with a top terrace and walks.  Over the ensuing centuries the garden underwent extensive modifications but today echoes of its past can still be seen in its layout and in a number of garden features, such as the highly decorative wrought iron gates from c. 1730 and a Queen Anne sundial.  

Guided tour with Head Gardener, Sean Harkin. The tour will last approximately 1 hour, after which we can enjoy the gardens at leisure. 

£14.00 SGT Members
£16.00 Non-Members
Does not include refreshments.

Maximum of 20 people.

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thursday 17 october 2019

Millennium seed bank/wakehurst place

The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership (MSB) is an international conservation project coordinated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.  Its purpose is to provide an ‘insurance policy’ against the extinction of plants in the wild by storing seeds for future use.  MSB is based in the grounds of Wakehurst Place in West Sussex. SGT members and guests will have a behind the scenes tour of the MSB, including visiting the laboratory spaces, and finding out more about the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership and how they are saving seeds for the future of mankind.  An introduction to the project in the exhibition area is followed by a tour of the drying rooms and germination laboratories.  If we are able, we will also visit the final drying room, which looks into the vaults – the most biodiverse place on the planet! 

Tour will last approximately 1 ½ hours.  After that you will be free to explore the gardens at Wakehurst Place.  

£10.00 SGT Members
£12.00 Non-Members
Does not include refreshments. Lunch can be purchased in the Stables Restaurant or Seed Cafe on site.

Maximum of 20 people.