There is an overwhelming sense of horticultural history at Riverhill, with over 170 years of continual planting and gardening, creating a rich and valuable plant collection for visitors to enjoy. A passionate interest in plants and gardening has been passed down through the generations, with members of the Rogers' family each putting their own stamp on the gardens. Today, the gardens are an intriguing mix of historic and traditional planting, with contemporary and quirky twists, making it a fascinating 'must visit' garden for families and garden lovers alike.
The archway nearest the house marks the start of the main path, which leads across the hillside to the Wood Garden. This area is rich with rare and specimen rhododendron, and displays magnificent colour in late Spring.
The Rose Walk
During Victorian Times, the Rose Walk, formed part of the area dedicated to fruit and vegetables, with produce grown on every wall. This part of the garden fell into decline in the late 20th century, and was completely restored in 2011. The beds are filled with a variety of different roses, which provide excellent colour throughout the summer. From here, the sensational views across the Weald of Kent first become apparent.
The Walled Garden
From the Rose Walk are entrances to the Walled Garden. Until the Second World War, the Walled Garden was a hive of activity, with exotic melons, pineapples, and bananas grown in vast glass houses, much to the excitement of the Victorians. As funds depleted, and the number of gardeners diminished, this area too fell into decline. In 2011, Ed & Sarah Rogers commissioned May & Watts Garden Design to develop a contemporary scheme which kept a link with the past, yet boldly looked to the future. It was opened to the public for the first time in it's history in 2013, and features sumptuous Himalayan-inspired grass-sculpted terraces, a huge pond with fountains, formal and productive vegetable garden, and wonderful summer planting.
The Orchard Sweep
This forms the lawn between the small field and the Rose Walk. Bordered by daffodils in Spring, there are notable clumps of rhododendron, resplendent in May & June. It's also home to some of Riverhill's ancient trees, notably a Wellingtonia and a Cedar of Lebanon, both planted in 1860.
The Wood Garden
This area of the garden leads on from The Orchard Sweep, and displays magnificent colour from the carpets of bluebells and primroses in Spring, to the vast array of specimen rhododendron and azaleas, at their best in May and June. The 'secret paths' weave upwards through the Wood Garden, revealing a colourful vista at every turn.
The pleasure grounds to the west of the house are known as the 'West End'. This area has changed little in the last 250 years, and is dominated by the 'Waterloo Cedar', one of the largest Cedars in England. Now a private family garden, the West End is open to the public in 2016 as part of our National Garden Society Days on Tuesday 26th April and Wednesday 29th June.
The views from Riverhill across the Weald of Kent are extensive, with stunning scenery to behold. The panoramic viewpoint sign highlights many of the landmarks along the horizon. In Spring, descend through the shaded paths of the woodland to enjoy magnificent bluebells.
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