The National Trust is inviting visitors to enjoy and explore the unique gardens of seven of its London properties on 13 and 14 June as part of Open Garden Squares Weekend 2015.
Underpinned by the Trust’s aim to keep people’s relationships with the capital’s surprising and special places alive and well, Trust properties right across London will be welcoming visitors into their gardens where they can discover the history, stories and character of these fine and exquisite working green spaces.
Open Garden Squares Weekend is presented in association with the National Trust and includes over 200 private, unusual and little-known gardens located across 27 London boroughs, creating public access to the capital’s urban, green space network.
Ed Ikin, general manager at Morden Hall Park says: “The gardens that belong to National Trust properties are important green gems in the capital’s crown, ranging from the grand, sweeping grounds of Osterley House to the more intimate town garden at Carlyle’s House.
“We work closely with the Open Garden Squares Weekend team to inspire Londoners and visitors alike to look at the city differently by offering what is effectively a key to unlock garden gates right across London.”
National Trust properties and gardens taking part:
Fenton House and Garden (NW3 6SP, Hampstead) boasts extensive walled gardens, a 17th-century manor house with formal terrace walks and lawns, a sunken rose garden, meadows, a kitchen garden with culinary herb borders and a historic orchard where more than 30 varieties of English apples grow. The planting is relaxed, and gives successive colour and interest throughout the year.
Carlyle’s House (SW3 5HL, Chelsea) is a peaceful walled garden in the heart of Old Chelsea. Formerly the home of Victorian writers Thomas and Jane Carlyle, the town garden was laid out when Chelsea was still a riverside village, surrounded by high brick walls with lilac bushes and fruit trees. Follow in the footsteps of Dickens, Ruskin, Tennyson and many others who enjoyed this evocative and very special place.
The Tudor-walled kitchen gardens at Osterley Park and House (TW7 4RB, Twickenham) are laid out with ornamental vegetable displays as they would have been grown at the time the house was built in the late 18th century. Just eight miles from Hyde Park Corner, Osterley is the last remaining country estate in London. The 18th-century pleasure grounds have been recently restored, and include a grade I-listed Robert Adam garden house with lemon trees, an ‘American border’ and Long Walk.
Ham House and Gardens (TW10 7RS, Richmond) is one of a series of grand houses and palaces alongside the River Thames, surrounded by beautiful formal gardens that have been largely restored to their original 17th-century splendour. Highlights of the garden include the much-photographed cherry garden and its geometric lavender and santolina parterres and the maze-like planting of hornbeam hedges in the wilderness. The beautiful walled kitchen garden dates from at least 1653 and is currently one of the most productive walled kitchen gardens in London, providing the café with produce all year round.
Red House (DA6 8JF, Bexleyheath) offers a simple garden and orchard surrounding the only house commissioned, created and lived in by William Morris, founder of the Arts and Crafts movement, and an artist central to the work of the Pre-Raphaelites. Red House and its grounds retain extraordinary architectural and social significance, and when completed in 1860 were described by artist Edward Burne-Jones as ‘the beautifullest place on earth’.
Rainham Hall (RM13 9YN, Rainham), nestled in the heart of Rainham village on the eastern fringes of London, is surrounded by a contrasting landscape of wild marshland, the big skies of the Thames Estuary, a Norman church and thriving industry. A National Trust property, the Hall is a hidden piece of London’s history – a remarkably fine and charming Queen Anne House built in 1729 which has recently undergone a major renovation project. The gardens are a peaceful and green oasis located to the rear of the Hall, comprising nearly three acres and featuring a large orchard and mature fig trees. Thanks to the efforts of volunteers over the last few years, an exciting transformation has also been taking place in the gardens.
The delightful Eastbury Manor (IG11 9SN, Barking & Dagenham) is a grade I listed Elizabethan manor with well-preserved walled gardens which retain their original internal brickwork, complete with bee boles (holes in the wall designed for honey bee-keeping). A quiet location providing a good contrast between ancient and modern, the garden is attractively situated by the renewed façade of the house and features herbs and flowers that would have been used in the Tudor period for cooking and medicines.