Through the garden gate - Essex gardens open for charity

PUBLISHED: 16:55 25 February 2011 | UPDATED: 18:57 20 February 2013

Through the garden gate - Essex gardens open for charity

Through the garden gate - Essex gardens open for charity

Each year gardens of rare quality open their gates for charity and in 2011 almost <br/><br/>70 Essex gardens will open as part of the National Garden Scheme

Each year gardens of rare quality open their gates for charity and in 2011 almost 70 Essex gardens will open as part of the National Garden Scheme. Many of these gardens are not commonly open to the public, making the NGS open gardens a unique opportunity to take a peek at some of our countys most wonderful secret gardens. In the first of a two-part feature, which continues in next months Essex Life, Susan Copeland, the National Garden Schemes county organiser for Essex, picks out some special gardens which will be opening for charity through the year.

Wood View, Chapel Road, Great Totham
This garden is a delight in spring with a host of daffodils and primroses. A contemporary plantsmans garden, it is set on several levels and the wide borders are packed with unusual plants. The pergolas and terraces create relaxing seating areas in this haven for wildlife, while summer brings a big splash of colour especially from the display of dahlias. Homemade teas are served in the nearby chapel.

Open Sunday, March 27; Sunday, April 24, and the weekends of June 11 and 12 and July 30 and 31, from 1pm to 5pm. Visitors are also welcome by appointment.

Barnards Farm, West Horndon
There is so much to see and do that this garden can quite literally take your breath away. Stretched over 17 hectares of sculpture park, woodland walks, ponds and superb gardens, it makes for a perfect family day out. As well as the garden, now there is not only a motor museum but also a miniature railway to enjoy.

As well as weekly openings on each Thursday from April 21 to September 1 from 11am to 4.30pm there are two special family open days on Sunday, June 26 and Sunday, September 4 from 2pm to 5.30pm. Groups of visitors are also welcome by appointment.

Saling Hall, Great Saling
Saling Hall is home to an internationally-famous plantsmans country garden of 12 acres, which is renowned for its collections of rare trees and shrubs in a sylvan landscape. There are six ponds, a Temple of Pisces and many vistas making this a garden of moods and surprises as well as beauty and strong botanical interest. Another highlight is the wonderful walled flower garden dates from 1699.

Saling Hall Garden is open every Wednesday from May 4 to July 27 from 2pm to 5pm. Visitors also welcome by appointment.

Moverons, Brightlingsea
Moverons in Brightlingsea is a beautiful, peaceful country garden with stunning estuary views. Linger near the reflection pool, surrounded by colour co-ordinated raised beds, or in the restful courtyard garden. Magnificent mature native trees, natural ponds and a wide variety of planting for varied conditions give this garden real presence.

Open Sunday, May 29 and Monday, May 30. Open every Friday in July and also Sunday, September 4 from 11am to 5pm. Visitors also welcome by appointment.

45 Waterhouse Lane, Chelmsford
In only one year this has become a firm favourite with garden lovers and is a real surprise located behind a busy road. The new, subtropical seating area with architectural and exotic plants is the ideal spot to relax. And to make your visit extra special, there will be two illuminated summer evening garden openings to savour with wine and canaps for visitors. Places are limited so do book in advance.

Open Sunday, July 31 and Sunday, August 7 from 2pm to 5pm. Evening openings are Sunday, August 28 and Sunday, September 4 from 7pm to 9pm.

Hannams Hall, Tendring
In May the six acres of grounds at Hennams Hall are wonderful to explore. Savour the peace and tranquillity as you enjoy the delightful views over the northeast Essex countryside, strolling through wild grass, flower meadows and woodland. Take a rest at one of the quiet ponds or nearer the 17th century house there are colourful borders, lawns and a walled vegetable potager.

Open Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22 from 2pm to 6pm. Visitors are also welcome by appointment.

Court View, 276 Manchester Drive, Leigh on Sea
This urban oasis shows how a small garden can appear much larger. A clematis and fern walk leads to a garden full of bold-leaved and exotic species with towering bamboos, palms and bananas. Unusual flowers add to the tropical feel and the cream teas are legendary.

Open Sunday, June 19; Sunday, July 17, and Sunday, August 14 from 1pm to 5pm. Also Sunday, September 11 from 2pm to 5pm. An illuminated evening opening takes place on Friday, August 26 from 7.30pm to 10pm. Visitors are also welcome by appointment.

Dragons, Boyton Cross, Chelmsford
Sumptuous colour-themed borders with striking plant combinations, featuring specimen plants, fernery and clematis, ensure that this is a real favourite with plant lovers. Meandering paths lead to ponds, a patio and a scree garden or simply relax in one of the summerhouses overlooking a stream and farmland.

Open days are on April 21, May 24, May 26, June 7, July 14, July 26, August 9, August 18 and September 15 from 10 am to 5pm. Visitors are also welcome by appointment.

South Shoebury Hall, Shoeburyness
This delightful, one-acre established walled garden surrounds a Grade II listed house. In April it is ablaze with 3,000 tulips and fritillaria and in July it shows 90 varieties of agapanthus. There are unusual trees and shrubs, together with Mediterranean and Southern Hemisphere planting in the dry garden.

Open Sunday, April 10 and Sunday, July 17 from 1pm to 5pm. Visitors are also welcome by appointment.

The Old Vicarage, Church End, Rickling
Quintessentially English, this early Victorian vicarage is surrounded by one-and-a-half acres of mature gardens. Old walls and well-established hedges provide shelter and an excellent backdrop to large, closely-planted borders, filled with a mixture of shrubs, herbaceous plants and old roses. A lily pond edged in scented lavender completes the Victorian picture.

Open day is Sunday, June 5 from 2pm to 5pm.

Tudor Roost, 18 Frere Way, Fingringhoe
A warm welcome can be guaranteed in this hugely popular quarter-acre garden. Well manicured grassy paths wind round colourful island beds and ponds. A densely-planted subtropical area with architectural and exotic plants surrounds a restful gazebo and there are many peaceful seating areas tucked around the garden.

Open no less than 16 times from Monday, April 25 to Sunday, August 21 from 2pm to 5.30pm. Please confirm opening dates on the NGS website or telephone 01206 729831. Visitors are also welcome by appointment.

Furzelea, Danbury
Meander through arches covered with climbers and roses, past the lily pond and into the White Garden as you enjoy this fabulous outdoor space. You can then rest a while in the thatched summerhouse to admire the exuberant mixed borders with tulips, scented roses, clematis, poppies and peonies. The garden also features a tropical-themed courtyard, topiary and a terrace overflowing with pots.

Open Bank Holiday Monday, May 2 from 2pm to 5pm, Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5 from 1pm to 5pm

Find out more
The NGS Essex County Booklet is available free from libraries, Tourist Information Centres and many garden centres, or by contacting Susan Copeland by email at or calling 01799 550553.

It has full details of all the opening dates of every garden, a map, comprehensive descriptions of each garden and directions too.

All 68 Essex NGS Gardens featured are open for charity and several of the gardens combine with others to offer joint admission. Some are open to the public generally and support the NGS, but most are private gardens. For more details of the National Gardens Scheme visit

Next month
In Aprils Essex Life magazine, Susan Copeland profiles all16 of the new Essex gardens opening as part of the NGS for the first time this year, including the delights of her own country garden.

Latest from the Essex Life