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Traditional and contemporary topiary in Kent and Sussex

Our day will start at Balmoral Cottage in Kent, the charming home of artist Charlotte Molesworth and her amazing topiary garden, started from cuttings in 1983. After coffee, knowledgeable plantswoman Charlotte will guide us around her wildlife-friendly mixed borders, allée, vegetable garden, wildflower meadow and pond, with sculpture by Peter M Clarke, framed by impressive yew and box topiary. Learn tricks of the trade from Charlotte and comedian-turned-topiary artist Darren Lerigo, as they take centre stage for a topiary demonstration. There will be an opportunity to admire and buy specialist pruning tools.

Emma and Monty Davies will welcome us for lunch at the nearby Walled Nursery with its extraordinary and rare intact range of 13 Victorian Foster & Pearson glasshouses. These include melon, peach and cucumber houses and a Vinery. Emma, who worked at Great Dixter and Sissinghurst before taking on this restoration with Monty, is driven by her passion for plants. There will be a short opportunity to buy plants here.

The contemporary topiary at Fairlight End provides a real contrast to that at Balmoral Cottage. Owners Chris and Robin Hutt, welcome us back to this garden of delights, which has been featured on BBC Gardeners’ World and in numerous garden publications. Developed over 13 years, with recent design help from landscape architect Ian Kitson, the garden rolls down the hill from the Grade II listed 18th century house with views over the Sussex Weald. It has Matisse-like curving lines of corten steel retaining walls, lawns, decking and planting. Recent additions include contemporary topiary in hawthorn, yew, holly and hornbeam, which snakes down, leading the eye to the wildflower meadows, pond and orchard. We will enjoy afternoon tea here, taking in the fine views.


£135, Garden Museum Friends £105 (Find out how to become a Friend of the Garden Museum)


We will start from Battle station and transport between gardens is provided. 9.15am start. (Check www.parkopedia.com if you wish to park at Battle.)

The day includes morning coffee, a seasonal two-course lunch with wine and afternoon tea.

This event has been organised by the Garden Museum’s Garden Visits committee. We recommend you read our Garden Visits Attendee Charter and Refund/exchange policy before booking your place on any of our Garden Visits.

Image: Robin Hutt © (Fairlight End) and Suzie Gibbons © (Balmoral Cottage)