I decided to go to Hever Castle on a whim. Driving back from my accountants in Reigate I saw the the sign for Hever Castle, and remembered I wanted to pop into have a look at the new Faith Garden I’d read about, so I did a wee de-tour. I was feeling like a winner after doing my accounts and it was a sunny day, so why not…
I went through the map (free with entrance) and was pleased to see there were lots of garden areas I’d previously missed thanks to the lure of the fairy tale castle.
Hever Castle was really just a manor house for 500 years and in its’ self hasn’t changed that much. However, the grounds were completely transformed at the beginning of the 19th century by the previous American owner William Waldorf Astor. He is said to have spent £10m (over a Billion in today’s money!!) creating the moat, lake, gardens and maze. Now that’s a budget!
Next on to the Faith Garden, which is the star of the show in my opinion. A prairie style garden masterminded by Head Gardner Neil Miller and his team, inspired by Tom Massey’s ‘Garden for Perennials’ at RHS Hampton Court in 2017. There are huge drifts of perennials and grasses punctuated by specimen trees some of which were planted at an earlier time. I particularly enjoyed the path snaking through the planting. It’s a small scale version of the Sussex Prairie Gardens which I visited a while back.
Then, on yet another whim (I now realise how feckless I must seem), I decided to walk all the way around the lake, something I have never done before. I am SO glad I did, it only took me about 30mins to circumnavigate, however it includes a Chinese pavilion and wild-flower meadows. Plus I spied a few lovely picnic spots for next summer too!