Let’s go to Emmett’s
- Credit: ©NTPL/Andrew Butler
Delight in the scents and colours at lofty Emmetts Garden this summer
Standing on one of the highest spots in Kent, Emmetts Garden is a riot of colour in the summer. Combining charming formal gardens with family fun, a visit to this National Trust property is a wonderful way to while away precious time together over the summer holidays.
In its privileged hillside seat, Emmetts Garden is a jewel among the county’s most glorious outdoor oases.
An Edwardian estate that was owned by Frederic Lubbock, Emmetts came to reflect the things most important to him in life as it was nurtured into both a plantsman’s passion and a much-loved family home.
This delicate balance endures today, with world-class horticulture sitting side by side with open meadows and play areas for little ones.
The garden was laid out in the late 19th century and plays host to a menagerie of rare trees and shrubs from across the world. In summer, the borders are a sight to behold with a rainbow of colour and scent wafting on the breeze.
Matt Scott, head gardener at Emmetts, explains the theory behind the heady mix of summer scents and colours the Edwardian hillside haven has become internationally famous for.
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“Since Emmetts came into our care, we have worked hard to continue Frederic Lubbock’s vision for his family home,” he says. “My team maintains the garden’s historical themes and designs while keeping everything open and inspirational to the thousands who come and visit each year.”
Matt adds: “A large part of Emmetts’ appeal is that it offers year-round beauty that returns season after season. In May, for instance, the woodland was covered in an endless carpet of bluebells. Now that summer is here, I’m enjoying the displays given by some of our more colourful, flamboyant plants.”
An English country garden
Summer highlights at Emmetts Garden include the genteel roses by the pond in the middle of the rose garden, the kaleidoscopic bursts of seasonal colour in the rock garden and the swathes of delicate, white eucryphia – or leatherwood – blooms. Varying shades of pink and purple hydrangeas also complement the pastel roses, set off perfectly by the rolling green landscapes of the Kent Weald behind.
In keeping with its heritage as a family home, Emmetts invites visitors of all ages to let loose among the carefully curated clouds of colour. In summer, the chance to run in the open meadow captures the freedom of the school holidays, while a new wild play area encourages little ones to get back to nature and have some fun.
For families keen to make the most of the sunshine, Emmetts becomes a life-size toy box with games from skittles to giant dominoes – the perfect complement to a tasty picnic or cold drink from the Old Stables refreshment point.
Meanwhile a summer line-up of activity that includes theatre productions, children’s trails and stories continues to inspire and delight once the games have been played. Then there are the more unusual plants and trees to spot.
Matt says: “One of my favourite areas at Emmetts in summer is the South Garden, laid out like an art gallery and full of exotic trees and shrubs.
“I like the ones with intriguingly evocative names, such as the Japanese umbrella pine tree, snake-bark maple and dove tree. For those with an extra sweet-tooth, there’s even a ‘burnt toffee tree’ – although I have to say it smells rather better than it tastes!” wFind out more
Emmets Garden is open daily from 10am until 5pm (or dusk if earlier).
For more information visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/emmetts-garden.
For more ideas for summer fun in and around Kent this month, visit the National Trust’s website at: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/days-out/regionlondonsoutheast/kent.