Summer colour in the gardens

Foliage and pink flowers in forground red brick building behind

Summer is the perfect time of year to see our historic gardens at their best. Currently we have a one way route in operation around the garden that takes you past the exotic plants in the Bog Garden and around the Mirror Pool where the waterlilies are at their best.

Hidden from view

As you enter the historic 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.

Come and enjoy beautiful summer blooms on the top terrace
Flowers in bloom on the top terrace at Upton House
Come and enjoy beautiful summer blooms on the top terrace

Colourful borders

The garden team has been busy re-planting another 36m section of the herbaceous border and now two thirds is complete. The refurbishment project was due to be completed in 2020, but is now suspended until further notice. If you like any of the plants you see maybe you will be inspired to plant them at home.

A swimming pool

Just the ticket for a 1930s family. 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 to enjoy as a family, and to host weekend parties for friends. They already had a squash court, so a swimming pool was the last must have for the perfect garden for family and fun.

Sadly the water in the swimming pool has been drained as there is a faulty filter, although because the water drains into the Mirror Pool it would not be safe to swim in these days.


Conservation work is at the heart of what we do and to enable us to conserve this delicate garden we need to be able to manage the greater numbers of people visiting.

Part of that management scheme 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.

Get involved with garden events

Kitty's seasonal garden tips

Until early September

See Kitty's noticeboard for seasonal highlights to look for in Upton's summer gardens.  You'll find her notices in the plant centre on your way to the garden entrance.  Pick up her tips on seasonal jobs to do in your own garden or allotment. 

Please note, a one way system is currently in place to maintain social distancing. Things may be a little different when visiting this year. Usually the garden team of 7 staff and 22 volunteers would spend a whopping 15,500 hours maintaining Upton’s high standards. Last year because of Covid-19, our Head Gardener managed the garden singlehandedly for 5 months whilst the rest of the team were furloughed or shielding, and our volunteers were asked to stay at home. Thankfully we now have the team back on board, but there is much more work to be done……