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  • Writer's picturePaul Andrews

Nine New Gardens Join RHS Partner Garden Scheme

The private country retreat to Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla, the former home of the late composer Sir William Walton set on an Italian island, and a “rewilded” wildlife-friendly garden lovingly tended to by a Norfolk couple are among the new sites to join the Royal Horticultural Society’s celebrated Partner Gardens scheme.


Sandringham Gardens, a 60-acre garden with streams, lakes, ornamental trees and shrubs, is nestled within the wider 243-hectare Sandringham Estate. Originally purchased as a gift for the then-Prince Edward VII for his 21st birthday in 1860, the residence has been developed in turn by each monarch since and officially opened to the public in 1908 by King Edward VII.


Enjoyed by members of the Royal Family and their guests when in residence, Sandringham Gardens’ most recent developments have seen the addition of a Topiary Garden covering approximately an acre, bringing a more decorative aspect and naturalistic planting to the area to improve biodiversity. The vision of His Majesty the King and a strong belief in the interconnectedness of all things is reflected in The Topiary Garden.


Launched two decades ago, the Partner Garden scheme enables RHS members to visit a range of gardens for free at selected times of the year. There are now 220 partner gardens covering the British Isles, with 25 overseas including in Barbados, France, Japan and South Africa.


The eight other new gardens to join next year’s scheme include the beautiful La Mortella, the home of the late composer Sir William Walton, designed by Russell Page and developed by the late Lady Susana Walton. Set on the island of Ischia, near Naples, the tropical gardens display water features, collections of rare plants and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.


Natural Surroundings, in Norfolk, offers eight acres of gardens and meadows nestling on a gentle slope beside the River Glaven. A horticultural, wildlife gardener’s paradise, the diversity of plants and wildlife both delights and inspires. It is owned by Anne and Simon Harrap, who have created garden rooms for moths, butterflies and bugs alongside a medicinal garden from a previously unused field.


Gilbert White’s Garden, home of the 18th century naturalist Gilbert White, the author of The Natural History of Selborne, features a miniature landscape garden of 12 hectares with a mix of formal garden, orchards, kitchen garden, herb garden, naturalist’s garden and wildflower meadow. Planting is based on his ‘Garden Kalendar’ of 1751-1767.


Also in 2024’s list are Riverhill in Kent, family-run historic gardens with expansive views across the Weald of Kent, and the American Museum and Gardens in Bath, Grade II listed gardens featuring designs by American landscape architectural firm Oehme Van Sweden including a replica of George Washington’s garden.


Athelhampton House and Gardens in Dorset, two hectares of formal Elizabethan-style formal walled gardens set alongside more natural Arts and Crafts movement gardens, Mothecome Gardens at the mouth of the Erme estuary in Devon, and Andalusia Historic House and Garden overlooking the Delaware River in America, including gardens designed by Arabella Lennox-Boyd, are also among the new Partner Gardens.


Dr Tim Upson, RHS director of Gardens and Horticulture, said:


“We are delighted to help showcase some of the great gardens not just here in Britain, but around the world, to our members."
"From the private residence of Their Majesties, to smaller, independent family-owned gardens and a tropical Mediterranean island paradise – it’s great to know members can enjoy free days out to such a range of sites with historic importance, horticultural excellence and wonderful plants.”

Details of all RHS Partner Gardens can be found at www.rhs.org.uk/partnergardens

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