Climate change prompts historic garden to open to visitors earlier than usual
Did you know, the 20 warmest years on record have occurred in the last 22 years! This is an incredible statistic that gardeners will agree has really brought things forward outdoors.
The statistic has also promoted Great Comp Garden in St Mary’s Platt near Sevenoaks to open to visitors early this year to allow more people to the impressive collection of magnolia trees in the seven-acre garden – more than 80, in 52 differing varieties.
The garden is run by a Trust led by curator William Dyson, and he said: “We usually open for a special day in March for the National Garden Scheme, but this year we have made the monumental decision to open from the 1 March and to stay open to the public all the way until the end of October.
“Gardeners have been among the first groups to notice the changes brought about by rising temperatures and rain fall and we can be pretty certain that things will be in advance of themselves once again this year, with the magnolias flowering from March onwards.”
William added: “The UN recently warned that the world needs to limit climate change to below 1.5c above pre-industrial levels. Gardeners will tell you that a rise in 1.5 degrees can be the difference between trees blooming a month early, this is definitely something we have seen at Great Comp Garden.
“We hope that by opening early we can encourage people to enjoy the natural wonders of the garden and help them engage with the landscape. If we fall in love with our landscape, even if it’s just our own back yard, we have more chance of working together to reach climate change targets.
Great Comp Garden was the creation of Roderick and Joy Cameron who purchased the property in the 1950s and opened it to the public soon after. The garden is famous for its spring flowering trees, it’s annual Hens & Gardens event, two day Summer Show and for being the home of the Dyson Salvia collection which numbers over 200 different types of salvia. After the deaths of Roderick and Joy Cameron, the garden has been overseen by The Great Comp Charitable Trust.
Plans for the future include extending the garden’s offering to the public and also allowing weddings onsite for the first time in the garden’s history.
As of the 1 March, The Old Dairy Tearooms will be run by the Trust itself and not by an outside contractor.
William said: “We have employed a fantastic manager to re-open the tearooms from the 1 March. We look forward to welcoming visitors to the re-vamped space. The lunches and teas will have a distinctly traditional feel to them and will be as delicious as the surroundings.”
Great Comp Garden will open from the 1 March and will stay open seven days a week until the 31 October. The garden will open for the National Garden Scheme (NGS) on Sunday 29 March 2020. The first plant fair of the season will be the Spring Fling on Sunday 19 April 2020.