A list of participating gardens starting with Hartlip House located opposite the Lychgate to St Michael and All Angel’s church. The order below forms a route that takes the avid garden hunter roughly south along The Street, north west along Place Lane, roughly north east along Dane Lane which flows eastwards to meet The Street at its intersection with Mill Lane and Munns Lane. The route finishes with the two adjoining properties, numbers 19 and 21 Dane Close, the entrance to which is in the northern part of The Street.
A. Hartlip House
Hartlip House began life as Rose Cottage in the early to mid-eighteenth century. It was a modest two up, two down cottage built around the large chimney you can see from the garden. As was the custom of that time, a grander Georgian frontage was added around 1820 by the newly retired High Constable of Gillingham, William Drawbridge (who notably gave the land and built the Chapel at the far end of the village). The house was further extended over the years: Upward at the end of the nineteenth century and outward in the 1940’s and 1960’s.
The garden has lawns on three levels and views of orchards towards Newington. There are flower beds, vegetables, a pond with a variety of wildlife and mature trees – Walnut, Indian Bean, Eucalyptus, Willow, Yew and Rowan. In the front garden there is a Tulip Tree that blossoms every few years. Herbs grow in a small sunny courtyard.
B. Ridgeway House
Built in 1933 on land that was originally “Cuckoo Orchard”, the garden was professionally landscaped at that time with boundary walls built and yew hedges planted. The garden comprises approximately 1.25 acres and initially employed 3 gardeners. It was subsequently bought in 1956 by a director of Schweppes who was seeking selection as a parliamentary candidate, but he later sold it when he was not selected!
The current owner bought the property in 1958. The extent of the maintained garden has since reduced significantly resulting in woodland boundaries, particularly to the south and west (not accessible, but good for local wildlife!).
The wisteria and climbing rose on the front of the house date from 1958. The driveway is flanked by a broad shrubbery boarder, wall and “drunken” topiary hedges. Herbaceous borders continue in front of the house and across the front “lower lawn” with a sundial. At the rear are more raised borders and rockery around the central sunken lawn where the original pond has now reverted to a bog garden with irises.
C. Craiglee Cottage
Small cottage garden with two ponds. One pond is ornamental and the second is part of the butterfly/bee/bird bed and is visited in the summer by many different species. There is also a vegetable garden and the garden is well-stocked with plants and shrubs.
D. Woodpecker House
A garden of two halves over 1.8 acres. One half is the main garden comprising broad herbaceous borders, a rose garden, wildlife pond and kitchen garden. In contrast, the second half is an orchard bordering a wildflower meadow and a stand of mature pines.
E. 2 Pear Tree Cottages, Place Lane
Since the owners moved to Hartlip in 2012, the garden has completely changed – there was not a shrub or plant to be seen, and therefore was a blank canvas waiting to be transformed.
It was a slow process, but gradually they have made it into a comfortable space to relax in and enjoy. Although it is a relatively small lawned garden, there are mixed borders containing a selection of shrubs and plants, a summerhouse and an above ground fish pond. There are many patio containers with a variety of acers and a large collection of roses, around 30!
F. Lower Dane
Peter & Tania Anslow’s garden is on the site of one of the village’s many small cherry orchards and has been a labour of love since the late 1960’s. Originally designed by Robin Williams, the Chelsea judge, the concept involves a series of “settings” with each area accessing the adjoining space via small interlinked openings. This concept allows a number of styles within one overall garden, a concept that we hope visitors will enjoy.
G. Keites Styles
The house and garden was built in 1938 by Molly Noble, whose parents owned Dane House where all the houses of Dane Close now stand, on her marriage to Jock. The basic structure was designed at this time, with many mature trees (eg Marsh Redwood, Paper-bark maple and Eucalyptus)and shrubs throughout. This has been added to and modified since 1997 when we moved in, but keeping the same plan.
The surrounding Beech hedge provide a secluded microclimate, sheltering the garden from wind and neighbours. It is organic, using self-produced compost, wood ash and supplementary horse and chicken manure to boost soil structure and provide nutrients. It has a cottage garden feel, with the two rectangular rose borders in front of the house mixing roses with lupins, geraniums, self seeded annuals and a variety of shrubs and perennials.
There is an eclectic mix of plants mixed together in loose colour schemes. Climbing roses and clematis weave through other shrubs and pergolas. There is year round interest, from the first aconites and snow drops, to Dahlias, asters and nerines in the late autumn, hellebores and winter flowering cherry.
New areas are continually evolving, especially near the drive/garage which was built in 2013. Low hedging and arches help to separate areas, as do shrubs and bushes creating private and secluded patches in which to relax. A pond, bog garden and small patio near a French doorway allow connection with the inside. A wall separates the working area where a large cage contains raised vegetable borders, and some fruit bushes. The above ground pool and greenhouse, with adjacent mixed border completes this part. This is a very wildlife friendly garden, with numerous native plants encouraging insects (particularly Stag beetles) and copious birdlife, and even a hibernating dormouse and hedgehog!
H. 19 Dane Close
A larger than average garden mainly laid to lawn surrounded by herbaceous borders and interspersed with beds of different shrubs, roses and a rockery and includes a miniature railway! There is also a space for a soft fruit cage and raised vegetable beds. As with all gardens it is “work in progress”.
I. 21 Dane Close
The garden is in three levels enjoying wide views of the local orchards. Of interest is the pergola, the wide herbaceous boarders and the areas for fruit and vegetables.