Make sure you visit this Kent Garden this autumn

 Autumn is a myriad of hues at Great Comp

Autumn is a myriad of hues at Great Comp - Credit: Leigh Clapp

Our resident horticultural expert, Leigh Clapp visits a lovely garden near Sevenoaks

At Great Comp, near Sevenoaks, you will find wonderful autumn foliage cloaking the mature trees within the park-style garden, swathes of lawns to stroll, rather unexpected romantic ruins planted with ferns, and inspiring borders brimming with late colour from choices such as dahlias, salvias and persicarias.

Late-season borders at Great Comp, with dahlias, kniphofia and eupatorium

Late-season borders at Great Comp, with dahlias, kniphofia and eupatorium - Credit: Leigh Clapp

Extending over seven acres, the garden was developed from 1957 onwards by the late Roderick Cameron. It continues to evolve through the support of a Charitable Trust and under the expert guidance of its curator, William Dyson, who has been at the gardens for over 25 years. Within the garden William runs his own small nursery, which specialises in his favourite plant, salvias, and which also stocks many of the plants growing in the garden.

A visit to Great Comp, then, means not only the chance to enjoy the gardens but to take some of the inspiration home with you, too. As home to one of the finest collections of salvias in Europe, it is here that you can discover how to get the most out of these often underused beauties of the summer-to-autumn garden.

Autumn colour in this lovely old garden

Autumn colour at Great Comp - Credit: Leigh Clapp

The genus salvia actually contains a staggering 900 species, some of which are the most highly ornamental in the entire plant kingdom, with an intensity of flower colour seldom equalled in other genera and some are hardy here in the southern counties of Britain, making them wonderful additions to borders or containers, starting their show in mid-summer and continuing the display throughout the autumn. Catch it while you can! 

Nature's magic trick at this time of year

Nature's magic trick at this time of year - Credit: Leigh Clapp



Great Comp Garden, St Mary’s Platt TN15 8QS
November Thurs, Fri, Sat (11-3)
(then closed, reopening 25th March to 31st October daily, 10 - 5)
Adults £8.50, concessions £7.50, children £3
RHS members free in September, October and November
greatcompgarden.co.uk
If you wish to visit the nursery and not the garden there is no admission charge
dysonsalvias.com