Great Comp Garden

Great Comp Garden

Great Comp Garden

Great Comp Garden

Great Comp Garden

Great Comp

Great Comp Garden is an enormous achievement by the late Eric and Joy Cameron who had retired from a busy London life. In 1957 they were looking for a small country cottage in which to make the garden they had long planned for their retirement. They envisaged perhaps an acre of garden and a small house. Instead they acquired Great Comp, a fine old 17th-century house of elegance and four and a half acres of garden in Kent! These two people, without help, developed this and another three acres, eventually having seven acres of beautifully landscaped garden to their credit.

From rough woodland and paddock, and much hard work, arose a garden of 3,000 named plants. Conifers, maples, rhododendrons, magnolias and good herbaceous borders edging large areas of lawn, give a restful vista of semi-woodland effect. Areas of stonework close to the house with a sunken garden centred with a lilypond make a pretty sitting-out place. The shape of the old oast house on the adjacent property is seen from here and adds to the picturesque surroundings. For two retired people to develop such a large scale garden unaided, is indeed an outstanding accomplishment and a significant testament to leave to others to enjoy.

There is something enticing about the design of the garden at Great Comp – paths lead the visitor on, curving out of sight round bold plantings. The atmosphere is essentially informal, an impression which is only sharpened by the occasional straight line and touch of formality. Against a background of old deciduous woodland a very wide range of ornamental trees and shrubs relishes the acid loam. Spreading out south of the house a generous apron of impeccable lawn is fringed with tall conifers, oaks and willows and, as it reaches the woodland, bordered with beds of heathers. Paths lead off into the wilder woodland (and a ruin lost in the woods) and thence back towards the house. Everywhere there are excellent trees and shrubs set off by well chosen underplanting – the larger campanulas, geraniums, hostas, lilies and violas. This is not a garden which depends on superficial fripperies – but capitalises on the very skillful use of carefully chosen ornaments and plants; and, although very densely planted, it has managed to preserve an air of spacious repose.

Eric Cameron died on 15 November 2009 aged 91. The Great Comp Charitable Trust is now maintaining the property, but it will always retain the undeniable stamp of Mr and Mrs Cameron.

Great Comp Garden

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