CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe for £25 today CLICK HERE

Garden of the month: Godinton House

PUBLISHED: 08:48 21 September 2014 | UPDATED: 08:48 21 September 2014

Godinto House

Godinto House


Make time to enjoy the final burst of colour in the walled garden and grounds of Godinton House, from an array of late-season flowers and stunning foliage hues

Godinton, which is now in the care of the Godinton House Preservation Trust, offers wonderful variety through the seasons, 
with formal and informal gardens all set around a striking Jacobean house.

Although the 12-acre gardens have evolved over the centuries, as fashions changed, they are predominantly the 
1898 design of architect Reginald Blomfield, an exponent of the revival 
of 17th-century formal gardens.

“Where before the open parkland had surrounded the house, Blomfield created 
a strict distinction between garden and countryside bringing house and garden into harmony, to make the house grow 
out of its surroundings,” explains head gardener, Vivien Hunt.

The boundary of the garden is delineated by the famous clipped yew hedge that Blomfield designed, one of the largest in the country and shaped to reflect the Flemish gables of the house.

Within the framework are separate rooms using terracing and topiary, softened with orchestrated plantings by subsequent owners over the years. Areas include a walled garden that contains cut flowers and vegetables as well as The Delphinium Society’s collection, a rose garden, an Italian garden flanked with statuary, a 
Pan garden, a lily pond created from a swimming pool and herbaceous borders.

It is an ongoing process of restoration and maintenance to ensure the beauty continues through the seasons.

“The walled garden was pretty derelict, with some glasshouses beyond repair, gravel paths that had disappeared beneath centuries of manure and grassed over, 
beds weed bound and remaining plants unhealthy,” explains Vivien.

“We now have a beautiful Alitex glasshouse and two of the original restored and used for ferns and alpines. Remaining espaliered apple trees are being nursed into their old age and a new avenue of espaliered apples and pears is maturing.

“We have divided one half of the acre into smaller beds for cutting flowers to decorate the house and a potager mix 
of vegetables, fruit and flowers.

“We want to keep the feel of the traditional kitchen garden but have to reduce the maintenance somewhat”

Seasonal highlights at Godinton range from seas of golden daffodils in spring, through irises, roses and the stunning Elatum delphiniums at their peak in 
late June to a final crescendo of colour 
and the mellowing of autumn.

“Autumn is always my favourite season – the formality of the garden with its crisp topiaries and sharp lines stand out, softened by the oranges and yellows of autumn and gradual decay of the herbaceous plants,” says Vivien.

Across the grounds in October the eye is drawn to towering trees clad in their golden and crimson cloaks against the foil of the deep evergreens, as well as parchment-toned ornamental grasses; however, it is the jumble of texture and colour in the walled garden that I most enjoy.

Within the protection of the walls, showy dahlias bloom away until the 
first frosts along with a mix of annuals, including zinnias, rudbeckias, cosmos and amaranthus, the last of the delphiniums adding contrasting blues and mauves.

“The later annuals will flower until the weather breaks as long as you are regularly cutting and dead-heading,” says Vivien.

“By this time we also have lovely seed heads to cut or enjoy in the borders – such as poppy heads, dill and Baltic parsley.”

There is also the decorative productive element with the autumn harvest of pumpkins, seed heads of giant cardoons and sunflowers, rows of crinkly curly kale, late salads, rainbow chard and nasturtiums.

Finally, don’t forget to pop inside the glasshouses with their collection of tender plants such as colourful streptocarpus. n


Godinton House, Ashford TN23 3BP

Gardens open until 1 Nov (1-6pm)

Garden entry £5.50, children free

Autumn week 26 Oct-2 Nov: treasure hunt, eco art, mini beast hunt, sunflower competition result

More from Homes & Gardens

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Thinking of moving to or within Kent? Every month we pick three stunning houses for sale that we're sure you'll love

Read more
Thursday, August 1, 2019

Our property, homes and gardens newsletter will provide inspiration and advice for your home and garden, plus all the latest property news in your area

Read more
Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Kent has a wealth of beautiful gardens to visit and throughout the open garden season you'll find an array of stunning choices. Here's a selection of our favourites

Read more
April 2019
Monday, May 20, 2019

The gardens at Ladham House combine traditional English garden style with contemporary schemes

Read more
May 2019

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life