The Walled Garden at Knepp Castle

2 pm Tuesday 21 May

Encouraged by the successful wilding of their estate, four years ago Charlie Burrell and Isabella Tree asked Tom Stuart-Smith, James Hitchmough and Jekka McVicar to create a drought tolerant (“re-wilded”) private garden from the formal space that was so enjoyed by their antecedents.  When I visited last autumn I was instantly transported to Greece and the, almost unexpected, joy of the flora.  Everywhere the soil has been depleted so that drought tolerant plants can thrive and sandy paths wind their way through the Mediterranean landscape.  The croquet lawn has been replaced by a low hillock formed of broken brick and concrete gathered from a demolished farm building.  Extraordinarily, the plants chosen for this space need air rather than soil, and none was added; the plants thrive and there is no sign of the brick and concrete!

Charlie Harpur is the Head Gardener and he will give us a talk about the development of the garden and walk round with us.   Quoted in Gardens Illustrated Summer 2023, Charlie says “We are gardening hearts and minds as well (as plants)… we are absolutely not telling anyone what to do, but we do want to encourage everyone to consider the limits of what might be possible within their own garden”.  There is much to inspire in this place – and the tea and cake are good too!

£35 per AGA member. This visit is now fully booked.