Meet the Kent Life Garden of the Year finalists

PUBLISHED: 09:39 04 September 2012 | UPDATED: 21:49 20 February 2013

Meet the Kent Life Garden of the Year finalists

Meet the Kent Life Garden of the Year finalists

Our third Kent Life Garden of the Year competition in association with Hadlow College, Ruxley Manor Garden Centre and Hospice in the Weald has again revealed some wonderful entries

Meet the Kent Life Garden of the Year finalists

Our third Kent Life Garden of the Year competition in association with Hadlow College, Ruxley Manor Garden Centre and Hospice in the Weald has again revealed some wonderful entries

Kents Best Amateur Gardens

Knowle Hill Farm, Ulcombe

Created over nearly 30 years, our 1.5-acre garden is set on a south-west facing slope with spectacular views overlooking the weald of Kent. We have done our best to reduce the impact of the winds by planting a shelter belt and gradually building up a framework of wind-tolerant shrubs and trees while preserving the view.

There are mixed borders, roses, a small walled garden with a pool, ribbons of lavender and unusual plants, all suited to the light soil. Around the house we have made small areas for sitting out, paved with brick and stone and made formal with clipped box and bay.

Owner: Elizabeth Cairns

Pheasant Barn, Oare

We designed this garden to mingle our fondness for formality and structure with nectar planting in a way to complement the austerity of the old buildings and their agricultural context. It is not a garden with special plants but plants chosen to suit their purpose.

It began as derelict farm buildings that we converted to a house twelve years ago and the garden is comprised of many elements or rooms, including a diagonal formal garden, a secluded fish pond garden, vegetable garden, wildflower meadows, a grass labyrinth, all linked together and interspersed with places to sit and playful pieces of sculpture.

Our aim was to create a garden that was completely nested with its immediate environment, was a magnet for insects, birds and mammals through its planting and gave rise to moments of tranquility and joy.

Owner: Sue Vaight

11 Raymer Road, Maidstone

The garden has evolved over 25 years, creating different areas and aspects for different plants and year-round interest, including cottage garden planting, a secret woodland garden under the canopy of a strawberry tree and seasonal containers.

I have tried to incorporate soft fruit and vegetables, grown organically, in a decorative way and to plant intensely for maximise use of an average-sized plot.

I like experimenting and trying new ideas, this year Im using a gardening and planting by the moon calendar. The garden is a passion and I enjoy all aspects, even weeding and turning the compost. It is constantly changing, either the weather, pests and diseases or discovering new plants.

Owner: Barbara Badham

Rose Farm Studio, Pluckley

Our wish was to develop a productive, beautiful and creative garden for our family, friends and wildlife to enjoy being in and eating from. We started about five years ago with a vegetable patch and have continued to evolve the garden since. We have many raised beds as we are on very heavy clay, a willow walk, a wildflower meadow surrounding a fire pit and mushroom compost bins as herb beds.

We garden organically, raise our vegetables and cut flowers from seed each year and like to use natural or reclaimed materials; many of our planters used to be un-loved water butts or scaffold boards, our tool shed is an old beach hut. We both live and work at the studio, so the garden is a very important part of our life.

Owners: Mel and Lizzi Smith

The Drive, Sevenoaks

This is a town garden, very high on its spine but pleasingly flat and blissfully south-facing. It is long, divided naturally into two parts by the lovely cubic Edwardian summerhouse and the mature and splendid silver birch tree on our western boundary. There was little else here when we moved here in 2007 but moss and a blank canvas all painters love that! I created a grid of beds as I wanted them to be accessible from all sides and easy to manage and having the qualities of island beds with light and wind from all directions it is possible to grow the very tall, largely unsupported plants which I love.

Owners: Victoria Granville and Richard Baxter

Kents Best Primary School Gardens

Christ Church Junior School, Ramsgate

Our school is situated literally five minutes walk from the sea so we are really a seaside garden. This sometimes makes our gardening quite a challenge. We have several different areas around the school where we garden. Every class has its own patio and mini greenhouse, we have flower beds and pots, raised beds at the new Sunflower suite, where we invited the Allotment Lady to come and teach us how to raise plants, care for mini beasts and make houses for them.

Our main garden is a long narrow space where we have a shed, water butts, compost bins, flowerbeds, seating, a wildlife pond and vegetable beds. We sell our produce to the parents and our school chef Sally is very keen to use our home-grown produce.

Linda Tweddell

Hook Lane Primary, Welling

We are lucky enough to have large grounds and we have different types of gardens; a cottage garden, a dry grasses garden, lots of flower borders, a vegetable garden, a sensory garden, a wildlife area with a pond, a wildflower meadow and a tree nursery. We have a very active gardening club with children aged from seven to 11 years and we have regular parent helpers. The children learn about growing as part of the National curriculum and each year we hold an environment week.

We raise money by planting up tubs to sell at our school fete and we have also grown hundreds of seedlings, which we planted in the grounds and sold the spares to parents. We try to do different things each year this year we made a Diamond Jubilee garden and lots of planting in red, white and blue.

Liz Doherty

Hunton CEP School, Hunton

We are a small school in the middle of the countryside, with 80 pupils who are all part of our outside areas. We have a Reception garden where they grow their own vegetables which they then cook and eat at a special lunch. They also have a quiet, sensory area where the children have made chimes, planted herbs and used different materials as paths and structures.

We are fortunate to have another kitchen garden which is available to all the school, the produce is used in the school and excess sold to parents. We are an Eco school, have a bird box with a camera in which we have been watching a family of blue tits start their new life. The latest project undertaken by the children was to use woven willow in the shape of a circle with a horseshoe bench in it to create a quiet area for reflection.

Jane Crane

The winners will be revelaed in the October editon of Kent Life - make sure you don't miss out bypre-ordering your copy now and saving 1!

Go to and enter the discoutn code W0246

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