The gardens of Great Comp, located in Kent, surround a 17th century farmhouse. The property was purchased in 1957 by Roderick and Joyce Cameron, who proceeded to create a highly personal 7-acre garden which includes formal and informal areas, "ruins" (follies), and woodland. The present-day curator is William Dyson who also runs a nursery specializing in Salvias on the grounds. further reading
For me, the great appeal of the garden is the welcoming and homey feeling presented throughout, even in the formal areas. Well, see for yourselves, as we start off in the nursery area ~
Well, that was all very nice, but it's time to explore the grounds. You'll see I flitted here and there and you will also note that several out-of-season surprises were to be found, mostly growing in the woods ~
That's kind of what I imagine our yard would be like if we had a bazillion dollars. I'm usually a color guy, but the lawn and shrub portion I just want to step into. As is usual in English gardens, I've grown most of those, or their near relatives, over the years. Very impressive, thanks.
Poor Bixa. You must have been in shock, but hid it gracefully, when you saw my miserable dried-up garden after seeing so many lush ones in England! I hadn't realized you had been on such a garden spree.
I'm surprised to see so many plants blooming at the same time (hellebore in the end of June!).
The old bricks of the house and walls certainly make a beautiful background colour for the gardens. Of course, they have no water problems, given the amount of moss on the statues and walks. I would love to have some of those salvias.
Thank you, Fumobici! Any time you (or anyone) want to step in with identifications, please feel free. I've never gardened in anything like the English or NW United States climates, so much of what you all consider mainstays can be exotic to me.
Not hardly, Bjd! I loved your garden and recognize what a labor of love it is, plus know all too well how impossible it is for any one gardener to be able to cover everything all the time. And yes, an actual spree -- a tour of seven gardens in addition to all the ones I saw on my own. You all will be subjected treated to reports on all of them eventually.
Perfectly put, Kerouac. I think of all the gardens I saw, Great Comp was most successful in seeming neither over- nor under-groomed. And even though logic tells us that an enormous amount of planning and work goes into the place, it doesn't seem the least bit rigid.
So kind, Mossie -- thanks. I believe you would have enjoyed the tour I took. We were let loose to roam at each place visited, but our guide was hugely knowledgeable about the history and geology of the terrain we traveled, so we got some insight into the brickmaking history in the area along with other background. I found this site interesting: www.pluckleybrick.co.uk/
The gardens look admirably full. You were visiting at just about the best time of year to see the combination of flowers and fullness. The goal of a billowing perennial bed is hard to achieve, but they did it.
bixa, how did you decide which gardens to visit, aside from the ones the tour offered?
Are those lovely bells styrax?
I'm ready whenever you are for more garden photos!
Breeze, wasn't I lucky to hit that part of England right when I did?
I really felt as though I stepped out into a garden the minute I got off the train, but I didn't make too many organized decisions about what to see. One thing I didn't do because of something else scheduled, was this event -- yet another reason to return to London! Holland Park (there will be a report) and Kensington Gardens were within walking distance of where I was staying and I enjoyed both of them. I devoted a full day to both Hampton Court and to Kew and would happily return to both of them.
Styrax ~ thank you! I looked it up and it might be Styrax americana/grandifolia.
Be careful what you wish for, because I have a terrifyingly large backlog of garden photos. Have you seen the Lullingstone Garden thread yet? I think that one may have jaded everyone on my plant pictures. Even so, I still have to make a report(s) on Wakehurst and Nymans. They might be the best yet because of the profusion of irises I saw. At any rate, thank you so much for your kind attention to these garden reports and for your warm and informed comments.
Last Edit: Aug 15, 2017 4:48:13 GMT by bixaorellana: replace smileys
bixa, I've been slow to comment because it took me a while to catch up. I've viewed all your English garden photos with pleasure and look forward to tons more. Even if some people had to drop out temporarily from overload at the Lullingstone thread, those same people would soon be having withdrawal symptoms if you didn't give us more floral photos.
I loved Nymans. I'm really looking forward to that report.
We visited Wakehurst a few years before the horrible storm that took down so many trees, so I'll be very interested to see what it looks like now.
Maybe you can plan your next trip around the Open Garden Squares weekend. £12 is a deal for 212 gardens. Get your skates on!
Are you aware of the Yellow Book? The National Gardens scheme lines up private gardens that will open occasionally for charity. They used to print a yellow book but I see there's an app now.
We joined the National Trust on our first visit when architecture was more our line than gardening, and I think it's the few gardens I visited then that gave me the gardening bug. Now I'm more a viewer than a gardener, so roll on, the next set of photos.
Breeze, you are kind and good and oh-so-indulgent of my self-absorbed fretting.
Thank you so much for that app! It has so many uses and the regular website is great, too. And yeah, the Open Gardens deal is a steal. I do plan for my next trip to coincide with that, although I dare not hope for the great weather I had this year.
I look forward to your comments on the gardens not yet covered here, especially since, if I'd not been told about it, I wouldn't have known that Wakehurst suffered such devastation. (15,000 trees lost!)
I have enjoyed visiting these gardens through your camera, Bixa. I predict each of your garden threads will get lots of traffic as people research different sites for future travels. How wonderful to have such excellent, detailed threads all ready for review. Reading through them is not only enjoyable, but it's also a way to plan ahead.
I have just been admiring your wonderful photos Bixa! I wish I knew the names of all of the flowers but at least I recognised quite a lot. I know Kent is called the Garden of England or something similar and now know why.
OK now I have yet another garden that I have added to my list of "must see" - so thank you Bixa . This has to be one of my favourites out of all those you have posted so far from your 2016 UK visit. The walls / brickwork and moss covered statues just add a little something extra. Re Astrantia - both myself and Cheery have posted pics of that flower in our gardens ( mine are just white but Cheery has some beautiful pink flowers too ) if only I had read this sooner I could have put you out of you misery I will have a look later and see if I can find them . I love the photos which show how much the bees enjoy them. The Styrax is gorgeous, I don't think I have seen that before.
Now can you put me out of my misery please; what it is Reply #1 photos no 6 and 7 ? Its lovely.
Thank you so much, Lugg, not least for corroborating my starry-eyed admiration of Great Comp. And ha! -- I knew the Astrantia looked familiar, but couldn't figure out why. I will definitely look for your and Cheery's pictures so I can admire them again.
I saw so many furiously blooming dogwoods on this trip that I supposed they were old hat in the UK, but perhaps not. They are a very big deal in the deep south US, where they bloom in early Spring, but with nowhere the floriferous zest they displayed in England. They do bloom better in the less muggy areas of the southeast US. It was easy for me to identify them because pretty much every time in my life I've seen a blooming one, someone nearby has reverently breathed, "Ohhhh -- a dogwood!" Truly, I almost passed out with delighted shock at seeing the ones in England.
You know, Bixa, I don't know about the rest of the south, but we've lost almost all the dogwoods here because of a blight. It's really sad, and makes me doubly excited when I see blooming trees elsewhere.
Oh, that is sad. I did read about that but thought maybe you were far enough east to be less affected. From what I can tell, the borers, the powdery mildew and other problems taking out the dogwoods are a result of environmental disruption. One of the prices we'll pay for what has been done to poor Mother Nature will be the loss of beauty.
Thanks for the additional info on dogwood. The only type I have seen often ( or maybe recognised as dogwood) is the red stemmed shrubby type - not sure of the name, probably Cornus alba. It is sad to read about the effect of blight.
Here is a link to Cheery's beautiful pink Astrantia, Bixa.