The 8 acres of garden are formed around a 100 metre long double mixed border backed with clipped Yew hedges and columnar Oak trees. From the border run two grass avenues lined with clipped hedges. Hanging from this structure are a variety of large and small contemporary and traditional gardens designed and built by students of Hadlow College.
Each year, from September to May, students build new gardens on themes from domestic gardens, show gardens to public landscape styles using an extensive variety of plants and materials in common and innovative ways.
A selection of the gardens currently able to be seen are The Grasses Garden, The Fountain Garden, The Oriental Garden, The subtropical style Garden (May to October), The Italian Garden and the Dry Garden. There is also a natural style space with lake, meadow and wooded areas, and an ornamental planted lake with moist border.
The Gardens hold two National Collections; the National Collection of Japanese Anemones, flowering from August to October, and the National Collection of Hellebores, flowering February to March.
Throughout the gardens there is an extensive range of unusual plants and collections, in addition to more familiar plants used in unconventional ways. As part of the learning experience of visiting the gardens we aim to keep most of the plants labelled.
Winter in the garden can be as delightful and interesting as any time, with the low sun on the red, yellow and orange stem colours and the peeling bark of many trees hidden during the summer months by the leaves. Shrubs, grasses and the dried heads of herbaceous plants carry the garden through to late January when early bulbs and Hellebores create a carpet of colour.
Spring is a vibrant season with Tulips, Crocuses, Hyacinths and Daffodils used in formal bedding schemes with Pansies and wallflowers, as well as drifting through the main borders. A huge range of spring bulb colours can be seen in the trials beds.
Summer brings bright colours through the borders in contrast to the leafy shade from trees around the lakes. As part of the garden sustainability we are planting more drought tolerant plants that look good during dry summers.
Autumn sees the best of colour from the Canna’s and Dahlia’s, Japanese Anemones and the summer bedding. The start of the frosts denote a sudden change, winter bedding is planted in place of half hardy plants, while the leaves of trees, shrubs and herbaceous show their autumn colour and late flowering perennials such as Asters and Chrysanthemums pull the colour into winter.