A morning at Great Fosters

Many years ago I read about Kim Wilkie's work restoring and extending the gardens at Great Fosters in Surrey.  I read about the earthforms he was creating and I was fascinated.  One day, I mused, one day I will visit this place.
I am a supporter of the horticultural charity Perennial and when I saw they were hosting a tour of the gardens and lunch at Great Fosters I knew I just had to go.  I would get to see this wonderful garden and also benefit this very worthy charity, the stars were aligned and so I bought my ticket.

Great Fosters has its roots in a fine seventh century house and is Grade 1 listed.  There are 50 acres of grounds altogether but it is the gardens I am focussing on.
There is much to focus on, and as ever I am not going to write about everything there is to see, I leave some bits for you to discover.
Topiary and shaped trees are a key theme of the gardens.  This is the apple tunnel, simple but effective.
There are wonderfully curvy hedges,
and spaces in between.
There are glimpses of what lies beyond,
and lines of sight making you want to keep walking and exploring.
Some of the garden features are very old, this sundial that legend says might have been given to the house by Sir Francis Drake.
Contemporary sculptures can also be found in the grounds.  I found this one a little disturbing to be honest, not even sure why.
Did I mention the topiary?
and there is the most wonderfully romantic rose garden too.  The hotel and gardens are used to host weddings and you imagine having the most beautiful photographs taken in the gardens.
I loved the Japanese Bridge, this links the topiary formal gardens to the rose garden.
I was momentarily entranced by the largest salvia Amistad I have ever seen.  Apparently the warm south-facing wall is the trick.
But I had gone to see earthforms and so I was very pleased when we started to make our way towards them.  Now this is a great snail-shell shaped hump that allows you to look over the gardens, and there is a contrasting space next door...
which is not quite fully formed, but you get the gist.  The hump bit is really hard to photograph well to show you the shape.  It needs a drone really so you can see the shape properly.  I stood on the top for a while as it was such a good view of the gardens spreading out all around.

Then we moved on to the amphitheatre.
You walk towards it through the avenue of trees.
It is simply awesome.  You also have to consider that just beyond that hedge, and I do mean really just beyond it, is the M25.  At the bottom of the amphitheatre you could not hear too loudly but when you stood near to the hedge it was very definitely there.  Thankfully at the house itself you cannot hear it at all, it is quite magical really.
The amphitheatre was everything that I hoped it would be.  I am a great fan of Kim Wilkie's work, it has the ability to inspire and awe.  I was overwhelmed by it in the best possible way.

I have to thank Perennial and the team at Great Fosters for a great day out.


  1. Wow, this looks amazing! Thanks for bringing this to my attention. How long will this garden remain open?

    1. It says on the website it’s open for non guests - https://www.greatfosters.co.uk/hotel/faq/ you can just go & visit


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