Doddington Place Gardens

Near Sittingbourne, Kent.

Doddington Place Gardens meets George Plumptre, Chief Executive of the National Garden Scheme

Posted: April 18th, 2024

‘I’ve known about the National Garden Scheme all my life,’ says George.  ‘My mother used to open our garden [Goodnestone Park Gardens in Kent] half a dozen days a year. She would despatch myself and my brothers on our bikes to put up the NGS signs. We used to get hundreds of visitors.’ The venerable

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The Serge Hill Project, a Community Interest Company recently started by Sue and Tom Stuart-Smith

Posted: October 18th, 2023

Anyone interested in gardens and the therapeutic benefits of gardening needs no introduction to the dynamic husband and wife duo of Tom and Sue Stuart-Smith.   Drawing on their prodigious knowledge and expertise they have started the Serge Hill Project, a Community Interest Company working in partnership with the local Hertfordshire based charity Sunnyside Rural Trust.

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Stokesay Flowers

Posted: September 28th, 2023

Seduced by Stokesay Flowers’ ravishing Instagram pictures, I was excited about meeting Victoria Martin, who with her husband, Barney grow thousands of cut flowers every year in south Shropshire. I wasn’t disappointed. ‘It’s all about romance.  Everything we do is supportive to wildlife.  We don’t use any chemicals,’ says Victoria, a sensitive soul who has

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Kent Wildflower Seeds

Posted: August 1st, 2023

Kent Wildflower Seeds, a recently launched offshoot of T. Denne & Sons, the largest processors of grass seed in the country has caught the zeitgeist and responds to the rapidly changing face of agriculture. Innovation, and no doubt a canny business acumen, has ensured the survival of T. Denne & Sons for nearly 150 years. 

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Water Lane, Hawkhurst

Posted: February 20th, 2023

All walled gardens undergo a renaissance at some point in their history.   Just such a case is Water Lane near Hawkhurst, Kent.  Its last incarnation was the Walled Nursery (see blog post September 2017).  This wonderfully atmospheric 2 acre walled garden of what was the Tongswood estate is no longer a purveyor of plants but

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The South London Botanical Institute

Posted: November 4th, 2022

The delights of the South London Botanical Institute, based at a Victorian villa on the busy Norwood Road, are myriad.   ‘School children often gasp when they walk into the building. It reminds them of Harry Potter, says Nell Gatehouse, the Administrator.  The Institute has an enchanting garden brimming with more than 500 plants, and has

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Lida Kindersley and Steven Coghill at King’s College, Cambridge

Posted: July 3rd, 2021

King’s College, Cambridge, has a new energy-efficient development  on Cranmer Road, designed by Allies and Morrison and built to Passivhaus standard, to provide new accommodation for the College’s graduate students.It is a haven of floriferous joy:  an exquisite slate memorial frieze, brimming with flowers designed and carved by the renowned Cardozo Kindersley Workshop, complements the

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Maude Smith celebrates the natural world in tea towels and tiles.

Posted: January 20th, 2021

Of the many imaginative creative projects that have sprung out of Covid, Maude Smith’s range of tea towels and tiles celebrating the natural world have jumped out at me from Instagram. (@maude_made) The beguiling tea towels have a naïve charm with a particularly English sensibility. Butterflies, grasses, leaves, mushrooms, sheep, birds eggs, British birds, British

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Legendary plantsman, Maurice Foster

Posted: November 9th, 2020

Over the years, White House Farm, near Sevenoaks, has become a mecca for plantsmen the world over. Home to more than 200 different kinds of magnolia, hundreds of hydrangeas (many of them bred by Maurice), an outstanding collection of climbing roses, a fine arboretum of more than 3000 trees and shrubs, masses of viburnums, over

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Liz Bradley

Posted: September 25th, 2019

Liz Bradley’s exuberant paintings of flowers are marvellously uplifting. Her sheer delight in bright colours coupled with a meticulous eye for botanical detail makes her pictures a joy to behold. In a way they are the 21st century equivalent of the Dutch Old Master flower painters of the 17th centuries, who depicted compositions of flowers,

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