The stunning gardens of historic Hever Castle in Kent received a Gold Award and were voted ‘Garden of the Year 2016’ by South & South East in Bloom. The double accolade was announced last week, with the gardens beating stiff competition in the Heritage Parks & Gardens category.
The gardens received a glowing report from the assessors who praised Head Gardener, Neil Miller, and his passionate team of ten gardeners and four volunteers for maintaining the extensive gardens to such an immaculate standard. It noted the ‘classic English style Italiante Garden boasts some superb topiary and statuary and over 4,000 rose bushes in the quintessential English Rose Garden.’
Having received the Gold standard for the past two years, Neil said he felt pressure to maintain the top level and was “relieved, shocked and overcome with emotion” upon hearing that they had not only retained Gold but also won the category.
Whilst primarily assessing the gardens, the award also takes into account wider reaching factors such as control of litter in the gardens and the initial visitor experience. The judges noted ‘Very good facilities are available for parking, eating and of course visiting the castle’ and went on to recommend that visitors ‘Walk further afield and enjoy Church Gill Walk the woodland, or Anne Boleyn’s Walk and see the impressive collection of trees planted more than 100 years ago.’
Duncan Leslie, CEO of Hever Castle, was thrilled to hear of the award and said: “this award is testament to the ongoing hard work of our gardeners and of the whole Hever Castle team. Congratulations to Neil and his team for once again demonstrating that Hever Castle has one of the finest gardens in the area.”
When explaining their decision, the assessors commented, ‘The gardens have many compartments and something to appeal to every gardener. Tudor gardens, an orchard, magnificent trees and many superb botanical specimens. This when combined with enthusiastic staff, an outstanding Head Gardener and accompanied with excellent maintenance makes Hever Castle our top entry in the Heritage section this year.’
Each year, Britain in Bloom receives hundreds of entries from communities, schools, cities, towns and villages who wish to participate from across the South and South East. Entering the ‘In Bloom’ campaigns has helped raise the standards of horticulture in communities and focused on making places greener, cleaner and a pleasure to live in, work in and visit.