Published: 14:53, 12 June 2018
In a seven-acre haven near Borough Green, there's an event to get in a flap about - this weekend's Hens and Gardens show.
They might seem like an unlikely pairing, but hens and gardens go together like peaches and cream.
This is what Great Comp Gardens' popular Hens and Gardens event this weekend sets out to show gardeners: how a hen could fit right in among the roses and begonias.
William Dyson, the man behind the show, said: "We want to show that hens fit really well into a garden - managed well, the right small flock of hens can give you eggs for the kitchen, manure for the garden and hours of amusement.”
Best known in the horticultural world for his world-renowned salvia collection, hens are as important as plants in his own garden in Sevenoaks.
So once a year he brings together the best breeders and poultry in the county for a celebration of hen-keeping in the garden.
A breeder of pure and rare-breed poultry, he said: “The beautiful blue eggs of the Cream Legbar, the dark brown eggs of the Welsummer and Copper Black Marans and the pure white elegance of the rare French Hergnies eggs are something special to behold. We really should be encouraging people to keep these rare breeds rather than the more destructive hybrid birds. We need to preserve the gene-pool for future generations."
Now in its fourth year, the show has built up a reputation in its field and now sees smallholders and hen-keepers from far and wide visiting.
The lawn at the seven acre garden in Platt will form the showground for the visiting varieties, with birdsellers and hatching eggs on show.
The marquee will host talks by Telegraph writer and hen expert Francine Raymond, and there will be advice from Una McFarlane, a vet with a special interest in poultry medicine. The Kent Small Holders group will be on site as will William with his rare breeds.
The Kent Smallholders group will be sharing specialities such as spinning, rug-making, felting, bee-keeping, and self-sufficiency. William added: “Events like these are important as they provide a show ground in which to share skills and to talk about breeds that are under threat from hybrid birds."
Hens & Gardens will be held at Great Comp Garden near Borough Green on Saturday, June 16 between 11am and 5pm. Entry costs £8, £3 for six to 17-year-olds, with under fives free. Details at greatcompgarden.co.uk
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