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September in the garden at Hever Castle

PUBLISHED: 17:19 23 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:45 20 February 2013

September in the garden at Hever Castle

September in the garden at Hever Castle

Enjoy the September sizzle at Hever Castle, where the colours are of the Mediterranean, the roses are giving their final show and all things edible are celebrated

September in the garden at Hever Castle


Enjoy the September sizzle at Hever Castle, where the colours are of the Mediterranean, the roses are giving their final show and all things edible are celebrated


A highlight this month in the gardens at Hever Castle will be a taste of the garden from 13-19 September, showcasing edible plants and flowers grown at the castle, with the aim to inspire and demonstrate the ease of growing your own.


A stroll beside the Pompeiian wall in the Italian garden will treat the visitor to sights of citrus, olives, figs, grapes, chillies and aubergines, along with ornamental brightly coloured bedding, evoking a feel of the Mediterranean. Throughout the month enjoy the final flush of roses, the vibrant dahlia border and the first hint of autumnal hues.


Hever Castles history stretches back more than 700 years and is probably best known as the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIIIs ill-fated second wife. However, much of what visitors see today is the work of wealthy American William Waldorf Astor who arrived in 1903 and lavished his fortune on renovating the house, even building an entire mock-Tudor village to accommodate his guests, followed by creating the gardens in a grand style.


Out of boggy marshland, Astors vision saw the transformation of the landscape with major excavations for a 38-acre lake involving 800 men digging by hand and 1,000 mature yews taken from Ashdown Forest to form a maze. A Tudor rose garden was laid out and an enormous Italianate garden constructed, inspired by the ruins of Pompeii as well as to display his classical sculptural collection.


In a period of only four years 125 acres of gardens were created. It is said that during construction Astor slept with a revolver under his pillow to protect the garden from any trespassers looking to steal his ideas!


The Astors sold the estate in 1983 and today Hever is owned by Broadland Properties and opens to the public throughout the year. Leading a team of gardeners is the welcoming Neil Miller who enjoys sharing his knowledge with the thousands of visitors.The owners really love the gardens here and they make a lot of allowances for the gardening team to express themselves freely, says Neil.This is displayed in the variety of special events and exuberant planting that continues the tradition of the mix of English and exotic styles.


There is a touch of the theatrical about Hever: seemingly old but not always, with elements of grand classical style, vignettes of authentic ancient artefacts in bays of individual mock ruins, Doric columns in the rose garden and flamboyant planting as the stage furnishing.


For impact on such a grand scale, more than 7,000 bedding plants are planted out in striking combinations in the Italian Garden, 4,000 roses bloom profusely in huge beds in the Rose Garden and everywhere there is appropriately, great ebullience.



Opening times


Hever Castle, Hever, near Edenbridge TN8 7NG


01732 865224


Open daily 1 April-31 October, 10.30am-5pm


Winter Wed-Sun, closed 25 and 26 December


A Taste of the Garden at Hever Castle, 13-19 September



Septemberin the garden



Plant of the month


Sedum spectabile



  • striking plant for interest late summer through autumn

  • masses of flat, bright pink heads that turn russet toned

  • succulent leaves

  • looks wonderful with ornamental grasses


Cultivation



  • easy to grow

  • full sun

  • well-drained, light soil

  • hardy

  • divide every few years to improve flowering

  • butterfly and insect attracting



Ornamental tasks



  • collect fully ripe seeds and store

  • early flowering spring bulbs can be planted now

  • plant wallflowers in pots or borders

  • keep on top of weeds and continue to deadhead summer flowers such as cosmos

  • enjoy the late season colour from perennials and grasses while assessing any changes for the borders



To taste



  • lift onions and dry for storage

  • regularly pick maturing vegetables to prevent them becoming stringy or bitter

  • sow winter salad crops and spring cabbage

  • earth up around cabbages and winter greens to protect them for the coming winter

  • good time to order fruit trees



Something extra


Consider planting some late-season food plants for the wildlife that visits your garden. For example Asters, Michaelmas daisies, in flower now, are an ideal nectar and pollen source for moths, butterflies and beetles. The seeds will later be enjoyed by finches.


The more diversity in your planting, the more wildlife you will attract. To learn more about creating wildlife-friendly gardens, visit: kent.greatbritishlife.co.uk/links.


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