If you want a really nice day out in Kent, the Yalding Organic gardens are designed to be both educational and entertaining. If you are an Organic Gardener, the range of exhibits on display is really interesting.
History of the Organic Gardens
Yalding Organic Gardens were originally founded by the HDRA, which is a charity that specialises in Organic Gardening, and comfrey in particular. It was designed to provide illustrations of both large scale flower gardens based on organic principles and also vegetable and fruit gardens.
Unfortunately, HDRA was unable to fund the gardens any more, and so sold the lease to another charity.
My personal experience of the Gardens
I first visited the Gardens in 2002, with my parents. It was a great experience, and at the time they had got a new chef. We used to regularly go, because the food was reasonably cheap and the gardens were beautiful. Around 2006, I noticed that the HDRA didn’t seem to find it as easy to keep the standard of the garden as high as previously. However, it was still a great day out.
Unfortunately their problems increased and they ran out of money and closed the site.
Last year was the first time I returned, and at the time it was quite weedy. But it came under new ownership, and I was very impressed. They have started to turn the place around.
I guess because I’ve gone there with my family so often with good memories I hope the new owners have great luck with the place and it can stay open for a long time to come.
This garden was designed by an organic charity, so it was made to be interesting and informative. It has featured on BBCs gardeners’ world, as well as hosting gardener’s question time, and several top rank garden magazines.
Flower Gardening with Organic Principals
The Yalding Organic garden has several main types of flower garden, which look beautiful during spring and summer. I particularly like the main flower border, which is a traditional herbaceous perennial border made in the shape of a circle. They also have formal gardens, which are interesting at any time of the year.
In addition to this, coming off the main borders, there are a range of other gardens – a small cottage garden, showing how people looked after vegetables in old times, a modern vegetable garden, and also a garden for kids.
All in all, these gardens are chock full of great ideas for flower combinations
While there are several example gardens, probably the most interesting for me is the Dig For Victory garden. I always make a visit. It has all the old techniques and practices Britain used to feed itself in the war, and supplies a lot of vegetables to the kitchen.
For people with a less anorak disposition to growing veg, there are gardens full of information on companion planting, and there is even a section on composting. There is a small vegetable garden you can use to get ideas for your own home.
There was a fruit garden too, full of the old techniques, but this has been neglected since the HDRA left.
Is it worth visiting?
A few years back I would have certainly said yes. It is still a good garden, and well worth visiting, but I think it will take several years before it completely recovers from the upheaval. Still, if you want great ideas for organic planting, good food, and a nice day out in Kent that is suitable for people using wheelchairs... this is a great choice.