Early summer colour in the gardens

Back of lady sitting on steps looking our over garden lawn with roses and urn to her left

Welcoming you to the garden is the colourful summer planting along the house terraces.

Hidden from view

As you enter the gardens the view over the Upton estate unfolds in front of you. Walk to the end of the lawn and all is revealed, the rows of terraced planting tumble down to the kitchen garden and Mirror Pool. Wander down, and along the terraces, every row and turn gives a new view of the gardens with different colourful flowers to see.

From the stone steps you can wander along the terraces and explore the gardens
View over the garden from the stone staircase
From the stone steps you can wander along the terraces and explore the gardens


A swimming pool!

Just the ticket for the family of the 1930s!  This was a feature put in by Lord Bearsted in 1936, a few years after they bought the house and undertook the significant renovations you see today. They always wanted a home for enjoying as a family and to host weekend parties for friends. They already had a squash court, to play this very popular and fashionable game so a swimming pool was the last must have for the perfect garden for family and fun.

The water in the swimming pool drains through to the ponds, where we have fish, so sadly the water is not suitable for swimming these days.

Colourful borders

Pick up a handy plant guide for the borders as each comes into its prime. There will be a list of the plants growing and where to find them. Some will be available from the plant centre shop, so you can plant them at home.

As you wander in the gardens you'll find the viewing point signs, on them are quotes from the Country Life sales particulars, describing the potential of the gardens to new owners. I wonder if Lord and Lady Bearsted took any of this advice when they planned the new garden schemes with their garden designer Kitty Lloyd Jones?

The double herbaceous border is in full colour in summer
The sloping herbaceous border in full colour
The double herbaceous border is in full colour in summer


Conservation of the Mirror Pool

The clay lining of the pool was put in before the 1930s and over the years has gradually worn away. The water had penetrated the thin lining of clay resulting in several leaks. The recent renovations are coming to an end and the pool will soon return to it's former glory.  

Conservation work is at the heart of what we do

To enable us to conserve this delicate garden, we need to be able to manage the greater numbers of people visiting in our twelve month opening period, which can be very challenging at times. Part of that management scheme which has been carefully thought through is to rotate the garden areas as they come into season; for example throughout the winter and into early spring we enable visitors to follow the spring bulbs.  Walking on hard pathways, with other areas being viewed from a distance to show off the structure of the plants. This will be followed by the first early herbaceous border coming into flower and other areas will open as the year goes on.

Take something home to grow

A selection of the plants showcased in the garden is available to buy in the plant centre. If you are inspired by the gardens and want to plan for your own displays, you can also buy a range of heritage seeds.