Exciting photography competition from Riverhill and Kent Life

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Hugo Apps - Credit: Archant

Riverhill Himalayan Gardens and Kent Life have teamed up for a photography competition. Here are the details and how to enter

Far from resembling Downton Abbey, the modern-day basement corridors at Riverhill are more likely to be buzzing with volunteers than staff, writes owner Sarah Rogers.

An eclectic group comes together for a well-earned tea break in the head gardener’s office, gathered around a scrubbed pine table, no doubt with stories to tell. The walls, lined with family portraits, maps and horticultural books are laden with interest; an eccentric experience often in sharp contrast with clinical modern life.

When Riverhill appeared on Channel 4’s Country House Rescue in 2005, Ruth Watson made the suggestion that volunteers might like to help in the quest to attract more people to come and visit the gardens. It was great advice.

Initially, volunteers were restricted to ticket sales (and a great many of those original volunteers will still be helping at Riverhill this season).

There are now volunteers giving their time and advice in many other aspects of the business, from working with the head gardener in the gardens to assisting with children’s workshops, setting up IT systems, dry-stone walling, engineering and marketing. Their help is invaluable and it is fair to say they have all played a crucial role in the regeneration and restoration of Riverhill.

The aim is that volunteering is a two-way process and Riverhill tries to offer much in return. Although camaraderie, good company, an energetic work out and a chance to learn new skills are important factors, the chance also to discover lost areas of the gardens and to put the world to rights over a cup of tea in such wonderful historic surroundings must also rank quite high.

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Where else do people from totally different backgrounds, of totally different ages and of totally different abilities come together in society today?

It is this very human side of Riverhill that Kent Life chief photographer Manu Palomeque captures in this image, the second of his 2016 photography residency.

Photography Competition

Riverhill Himalayan Gardens and Kent Life have launched a new Kent Gardens Photography Competition, which will be judged by Manu Palomeque, Riverhill’s Sarah Rogers and Kent Life Editor Sarah Sturt.

Visit www.riverhillgardens.co.uk for competition details and terms.

Deadline for entries: 31 May 2016.

The winning photograph will be published in Kent Life and the winner will also receive a one-to-one photography tuition session with Manu Palomeque at Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, plus an adult season pass.

Photography Workshop

Riverhill Himalayan Gardens are also offering a free photography workshop (Photos @Riverhill), led by Manu Palomeque, on 14 May 2016 (8am to 12pm). To book your place email sarah@riverhillgardens.co.uk or call 01732 459777.

Please note that numbers are limited.

Find out more

Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, Riverhill, Sevenoaks TN15 0RR, 01732 459777 and www.riverhillgardens.co.uk

The gardens are open now until 11 September 2016, Wed - Sun inclusive and Bank Holidays, 10.30am - 5pm. Closed every Mon and Tue (with the exception of Bank Holiday Mondays).