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Kent garden of the month: Great Comp at St Mary's Platt

PUBLISHED: 23:08 28 September 2010 | UPDATED: 17:54 20 February 2013

Kent garden of the month: Great Comp at St Mary’s Platt

Kent garden of the month: Great Comp at St Mary’s Platt

Autumn's blaze of colour can be enjoyed throughout October at Great Comp, St Mary's Platt - a true plantsman's garden

Kent garden of the month:

Great Comp at St Marys Platt

Autumns blaze of colour can be enjoyed throughout October at Great Comp, St Marys Platt - a true plantsmans garden

A visit to Great Comp at St Marys Platt offers a great variety of interest throughout the season, however autumn - with the range of colour from foliage to the jewel-like flecks of salvias glowing in the borders - is my favourite time to stroll the gardens.

Burnished leaves, the warmth of chrysanthemums, bright hips and berries, metallic grasses and late-season perennials create a tapestry of tonal delights.

Extending over seven acres, the garden has been developed since 1957 by the late Roderick Cameron and continues through a Charitable Trust under the expert guidance of curator, William Dyson, who has been at the gardens for 17 years.

Within the garden William runs a nursery, which specialises in salvias and also stocks many of the plants growing in the garden. So as well as enjoying the gardens you can take some of the inspiration home.

There are plenty of paths and vistas to enjoy in this plantsmans garden. Dominating the landscape is a series of hand-built, Gothic-style ironstone ruins partly smothered with planting and enclosing hidden areas.

The ruins add focal points and provide places to sit and take in the surroundings, explains William. Throughout the garden are fine specimen trees, massed heathers, conifers, densely planted borders and sweeping expanses of lawns.

One of the main attractions for visitors in summer and autumn is to see Williams vast collection of salvias added to the gardens. Their rich velvety colours and long flowering season, combined with crocosmias, dahlias, rudbeckias, asters and other exotic plants make for a sumptuous composition of hues.

The genus salvia contains a staggering 900 species, some of these are the most highly ornamental in the entire plant kingdom, says William. At Dysons Nurseries our main interest lies in the New World species and cultivars, those from Mexico and the southern states of the USA.

There is an intensity of flower colour seldom equalled in other genera and some are hardy here in the southern counties of Britain, while others are tender and require glasshouse protection over winter.

Opening times

Great Comp Garden, St Marys Platt TN15 8QS

1 April to 31 October, 11am-5pm, adults 5.50, concs 5, children 1

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