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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Groombridge Formal Gardens

Surrounded by acres of beautiful parkland, Groombridge place has history dating back to the 17th century. The backdrop to the formal walled gardens, is the classical Restoration manor house (not open to the public) which is surrounded by a medieval moat..Philip Packer designed the formal pleasure gardens in 1674, having recently finished building his new house. For the following three hundred years the gardens were unseen except by a favoured few but are now open for the public to enjoy.

A step through the door of the walled formal gardens at Groombridge Place is a step back in time, back into the seventeenth century, for much of what you see here today has been lovingly preserved and maintained for over three hundred years.

The formal gardens are divided into a series of outside rooms, together with extensive herbaceous borders, designed to provide views from the house. The beauty of the formal gardens at Groombridge lies in their structure, including the walls, gates, pathways, stone steps, urns and pools.Vibrant colour and imaginative planting provide interest throughout the seasons, from drifts of daffodils, tulips and blossom in spring, to the stunning displays of the herbaceous borders in summer, the white rose garden featuring an exquisite blend of 20 different varieties of white roses. This is followed in autumn by the hot reds and golds of perennial asters, sunflowers and dahlias and the dramatic leaf colours.On the steep hills beyond the formal gardens lies the more recently created enchanted forest, with mysterious themed gardens combined with adventure playgrounds, to entertain the younger visitors.

As you stroll through the gardens you will find some interesting features such as the giant Chess set and a figure set in a yew hedge.

This is the Knot Garden overlooked by the Manor House and originally laid out in 1994 to resemble gold inlay on the 16th century panelling in the hall chamber at Groombridge Place. At present it is in its two colour summer planting scheme.

Against the west garden wall is a wide border, shown in all its summer glory.


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