Summer in the gardens at Upton
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.
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.
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. The summer highlights include the Lupin border in June, in soft pastle shades planted as Lady Bearsted planned, all the way along the Mirror Pool's north side.
Next to flower in July is the double herbaceous border with it's colourful planting pattern repeated three times continuing to draw the eye down as you descend to the Mirror Pool. This summer we start a three year restoration plan to renew and replant in line with the original 1920s designs.
You won't miss the large 1 acre kitchen garden next to it, producing fruit and vegetables, pick up a plant list and see what we have growing this year.
The foundations of the south terrace were already in place when Lord Bearsted purchased the house. It was given structure and fomal planting scheme during the renovation in the early 1930s. The planting scheme is changed seasonally with striking colour combinations; the terraces here are just a glimps of what lies beyond the ha-ha.
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?
Conservation of the Mirror Pool
Recently restored, the clay lining of the pool was put in before the 1930s and over the years had gradually worn away. The water had penetrated the thin lining of clay resulting in several leaks. The recent renovations have come to an end and the pool will soon return to it's former glory as it refills naturally from the spring in the Bog Garden and the planting take shape.
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 at Upton Stores and ready to take home after your visit. If you are inspired by the gardens and want to plan for your own displays you can also buy a range of heritage seeds.