Nettlestead Place Gardens
Nettlestead Place, situated between Maidstone and Tonbridge, is set in the valley of the River Medway just where the river has cut its way through the Greensand Ridge. The site is believed to be very ancient and borders a prehistoric trackway which followed the south side of the crest of the Greensand Ridge and crossed the river by a ford.
Set on the west side of the valley, thus affording panoramic views of the river and surrounding farmland, the gardens are on many levels leading down to the River Medway.
In 1921/22 the medieval Manor House was refurbished and enlarged and the basic structure of what is now the inner part of the gardens, including the large sunken pond and the Rose Garden, was established.
Nettlestead Place is surrounded by 10 acres of gardens of much beauty, interest and variety and were awarded a star rating in the Good Garden’s Guide. The features of the gardens have been planned to provide specific and beautiful vistas of open countryside beyond and views of the Manor House, gatehouse and adjoining church.
It was not always this way though as the gardens declined during and after the Second World War but their potential remained evident. The great hurricane of 1987 was a wind of change when 46 mature trees were lost and it was decided to take the gardens seriously. Since 1988 the gardens have been both redeveloped and greatly extended under the passionate guidance of the present owners Roy and Annabel Tucker.
On entering through the early 14th century Gatehouse, an avenue of Irish Yews leads to the courtyard of Nettlestead Place.
Across the main drive, to the west of the Manor House, is Walnut Tree Lawn, taking its name from the very old and impressive walnut tree. Other trees on this lawn include Magnolia x soulangeana, Camellia in various varieties and Cryptomeria.
From here a path through a small shade garden, with many plantings of dwarf Narcissi and Daffodils, Hosta, shade-loving Geranium and ferns, leads to the Rose Garden containing a large number of varieties of shrub and specie roses as well as Climbers and Ramblers. Four new rose beds were planted in late 1999 with Floribunda, Hybrid Tea and Hybrid Musk roses. The Rose Garden is centred around a magnificent 300 years old Lime Tree.
On the East side of the house, an 80 metre long terraced gravel garden is planted with rock plants and dwarf bulbs. A Daffodil meadow separates this area from a series of small canals leading to the ‘Glen Garden’ a valley area with a natural stream planted with Primula, Meconopsis, ferns, hosta, shade geraniums and dwarf pines. Beyond the ‘Glen Garden’ is a small forest of bamboos.
To the south of the house is a large square Sunken Pond Garden surrounded by a 1.5 metre wall of Kentish ragstone topped by boxwood hedges. The pond is fed by a natural spring, and there are to be found many interesting water and bog plants.
To the north of the house is a small square garden divided into four by boxwood and yew hedges, containing herb and salad gardens and soft fruit for use in the kitchen.
To the south of the Sunken Pond Garden and Rose Garden, the garden is dominated by an area of four island beds, the largest of which is some 1000 square metres in area, containing an extensive range of plants, trees and shrubs.
A spectacular Herbaceous Border Garden can be found to the south west side of the grounds, a sight not to be missed at during the months of June to November.
For further information on Nettlestead Place Gardens, please contact the head gardener:
Mr Anthony Bradshaw
Tel. 01622 814616
Mobile: 0780 775 1141