Faversham Open Gardens 2019

Posted: June 18th, 2019

If you love visiting gardens you are in for a treat on Sunday 30th June, when an astonishing tally of 30 gardens are taking part in Faversham Open Gardens Day.

The attractive ancient market town in East Kent has much to offer – fine architecture, good eateries, a fascinating history -but above all it is brimming with community spirit. The open garden scheme is ‘the largest in the South East,’ says Lucie Neame, the Chair of Faversham Open Gardens, adding that it ‘is the embodiment of the friendly neighbourly spirit to be found amongst its residents.’

Abel’s Acre Rockery on the corner of Forbes Road and Dorset Place. Planted and maintained by Friends of Abel’s Acre, a voluntary group established in 2003. In the 1960s it was tended by Walter Abel, Parks Superintendent of the former Faversham Town Council

‘Everyone is very proud of the area,’ says Alexandra Campbell, a member of the Open Gardens Day committee, better known as the author of the celebrated blog ‘The Middle Sized Garden’. If you are one of her thousands of subscribers, now is your chance to visit her very own garden which is accessed through a gate in the delightfully named Ticklebelly Alley near the station.

wildflower meadow in Abbey Street

Julian and Amanda Mannering’s wild meadow at 13 Abbey Street

It goes without saying that the gardens are hugely different in size, inspiration and style. Some are traditional, some are contemporary, some place great emphasis on attracting wildlife. For example, 105 The Brents, winner of a Kent Wildlife Award in 2018, is a long sloping garden with views over Ham Marshes with fruit trees, a small cutting garden and a shaded hedgerow bed. The Mannering’s wildflower garden tucked away behind Abbey Street is always popular as well as being very unexpected in the middle of the town.

Mary Mackay’s love of rain forests inspired her to create a tropical style garden at 60 Newton Road and the thriving Faversham Society’s own garden is filled with flowers and shrubs popular in the Georgian period.

It is fascinating to visit three identically shaped gardens in the same street and marvel at the individuality of each of them.

Any garden can take part. As Alexandra says, ‘if people think that their garden is good enough to share then other people will be interested.’

Guy Felton’s garden at 70 Abbey Street inspired by Derek Jarman’s garden in Dungeness

For those readers unfamiliar with Faversham, one of its many delightful characteristics is that the town is riven with alleys and twittens (old SE dialect for a narrow alleyway). These are marked on the Faversham Open Gardens map, allowing visitors to walk between gardens more easily. ‘I love these ‘secret’ paths and the fact that you can walk one from one side of the town to the other hardly ever walking on a road,’ says Faversham florist, Julie Davies. ‘We are so lucky to live in a walkable town.’

Ancient brick walls in Colin Rushton’s garden at George House in the Mall

Great British Bake-Off devotees will no doubt be thrilled to have to the chance to see the new contemporary garden of Jane Beedle, GBB-O finalist in 2016. A garden designer by profession, she designed her garden in just three months (she and her husband, Ray, have recently moved to Faversham) -see article in Faversham Life.

The renowned Madrona Nursery along with other local nurseries, including Edible Culture  (see previous blog) have stands brimming with rare and attractive plants in the Market Square.

Madrona Nursery’s stand underneath the ancient Guildhall in Faversham’s Market Square

POSIpots at Edible Culture, Kent

A trio of POSIpots at Edible Culture nursery, Faversham, Kent

A new addition this year is the Plastic Free Planter Competition for Children and Grown-ups – plant up receptacles of any description, using any kind of plants, the more unusual and original the better, but without using any plastic.

More than 1,500 people bought tickets for Faversham Open Gardens in 2018 from all over the world – London, Holland and even from Colombia. The profit of £5,000 plus is in aid of the Faversham Society.

Tickets are available now from the Faversham Society, 13 Preston Street, and on the day from the Faversham Open Gardens Stall in the Market Place.


Instagra: @favershamopengardens.co.uk

Gardens have at least partial access for wheelchair users unless otherwise stated. Also, unless otherwise stated, dogs on leads and children under 12 are also welcome.