27 July 2016

Great Comp and Riverhill Gardens

Oh dear, It's ages since I posted anything, I seem to be very busy or very lazy! I love the hot weather but as I get older I need regular rests in the shade! 

In June I visited the horticultural gem that is Great Comp. Kent is a very pretty county with lots of interesting places to visit, and Great Comp is described as one its finest gardens. The gardens surround a picturesque 17th century grade II listed farmhouse. The house is built of lime-washed brick with stone dressings, and blocked up brick windows on the building's sides suggest a Tudor origin to the house. The interior features early 17th century panelling and a late 17th century staircase. The stables have been converted into the Old Dairy Tearoom. 

When Roderick and Joyce Cameron purchased the historic house in 1957 they decided to turn the grounds into a garden, beginning with 4.5 acres and later extending to 7 acres. They built an Italian garden, adding handmade follies to create extra interest, using sand and stone from the garden itself. These 'ruins' are an important part of Great Comp, creating a focal point for exploring the gardens. A trio of classical urns, dubbed the 'Longleat Urn', 'Pope's Urn', and the 'Doulton Urn' act as focal points to emphasise points of view.

A quiet corner

A quirky gargoyle

Central sweeping lawns are bordered with lush planting schemes of over 30 varieties of magnolias, crocosmias, dahlias and salvias. 

Great Comp specialise in salvias, they have one of the finest collections in Britain.

The magnolias and rhododendrons are underplanted with large swathes of bulbs and hellebores. A woodland area, with winding trails leads through beautifully planted trees and shrubs. Tucked away in a quiet corner is the hydrangea glade which at the time of my visit was just green, it would look stunning now. The thing is with all these lovely gardens, to fully appreciate them you need to visit
at various times of the year.

Both formal and informal areas make careful use of statues and romantic follies to add interest.

What a lovely place to call home

Time for a healthy ham salad followed by a scrumptious cream tea!!
Needed to maintain my energy levels for the next garden visit. 

Riverhill Himalayan Garden is an historic, listed hillside garden, a very imaginative garden where you can build a den, discover secret pathways and even spot a Yeti. Six generations of the Rogers family have lived at Riverhill and it remains a private home today. The gardens are delightful and on a clear day the views are incredible. After wandering around the extensive gardens you can browse in the shop or indulge in more delicious cake and coffee - can you see a pattern forming? 
I don't spend all my time eating cake, honest, only on days out! :-)

It was a warm day and a fairly steep incline up to the viewpoint

(no Yetis up here)
but worth it for the pretty wild flower meadow 

magnificent views to the Weald of Kent 

Rare and ancient trees, and a fledgling maze that I couldn't get to the centre of!! I mean, look, you can see over the top of the hedges, and I still couldn't find the centre!!

The gardens are renowned for carpets of bluebells in the woodland in early Spring, and a spectacular array of rhododendrons and azaleas in late Spring

Formal gardens

Modern Sculptures

a water feature and a beautifully manicured lawn.

the rose walk

It was about now that it started to rain very slightly 
so we made our way to the cafe for a cup of coffee and cake before departing.


  1. Like buses....none for ages then two gardens come along together! All very pretty and I strongly advise everyone to click on the photos to enlarge them.

  2. Two very different but equally delightful gardens.

  3. Hello Polly,
    What wonderful gardens!
    Big hug

  4. You certainly took us on two amazing tours, both beautiful gardens.

  5. Wonderful to see these beautiful gardens. The wildflower meadow is very lovely, as is that amazing view. I do like the layers of plantings and the window in the stone wall :) Thanks for sharing! x Karen


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