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Borough Green: A golden anniversary at Great Comp Garden with a Spring Fling

By Angela Cole

It's been winter for too long...it's time for a spring fling!

Great Comp Garden's first event of the open season, sees its beds turn from snowdrop white to magnolia pink.

The chance to walk among the magnolias and buy rare and unusual plants is a one-off for the year.

The Magnolia Alba Superba
The Magnolia Alba Superba

The garden opened its gates to the public 50 years ago this year, and over the last half century has gained a reputation as one of Kent’s finest gardens to explore in the spring.

Originally the creation of the late Roderick (Eric) and Joy Cameron, who moved to the 17th century manor house in 1957, they wanted to develop a garden which was a plantsman's delight.

Curator William Dyson also celebrates 25 years at Great Comp this year.

The award-winning enthusiast, who runs his own salvia nursery on-site, has helped put the garden on the salvia map, bringing home RHS Chelsea medals and RHS Hampton Court golds.

He said: “We are really excited about our 50th year and about hosting a series of events to celebrate this enchanting garden, the first of which is our fantastic Spring Fling. I’m sure that both Eric and Joy would approve of the mix of celebratory events alongside the usual NGS days initiated by the couple.

The Great Comp Spring Fling is this weekend
The Great Comp Spring Fling is this weekend

"Fifty years ago, Eric and Joy opened Great Comp Garden to the public and their enthusiasm and hard work helped to produce a wonderfully diverse garden which lives on in the minds of those who visit it today.”

This year, exhibitors will come from all over the South East. They include the Plant Heritage Kent Group with the RSPB and the Hardy Plant Society Kent Group, Rapkyns Nursery, Pineview Plants, Platt’s own Potash Farm, Invicta Herbs and Rose Cottage Plants.

Great Comp Spring Fling: Merrill
Great Comp Spring Fling: Merrill

It will also host spring tree specialist and nurseryman Kevin Hughes, who is giving a lecture, Rediscovering Magnolias, in the newly-refurbished Stables Theatre.

He said: “Rediscovering Magnolias will take you on a voyage of discovery and show that there’s much more to magnolias than people realise. Did you know, for example, that you can have magnolias in flower from spring all the way through to the autumn?

The garden is a special place for Kevin, as it has rare magnolia trees raised by John Gallagher and named after him.

Tickets for his lecture are on sale separately to the plant fair and are limited, as there are only 73 seats. They cost £8 and can be bought at greatcompgarden.co.uk

DETAILS

The Spring Fling Plant Fair will be held on Sunday, April 15 between 11am and 5pm, with last entry at 4pm. Find Great Comp Garden in Comp Lane, Borough Green, Sevenoaks, TN15 8QS.

For more details call 01732 885094, email office@greatcompgarden.co.uk or visit greatcompgarden.co.uk Entry is £8, and £3 for children from six to 17.

The Kevin Hughes
The Kevin Hughes

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