The Gardens

Enter the name for this tabbed section: Woodland Garden
Woodland Garden

The woodland garden is a surprising feature of Doddington Place Gardens as it is extremely unusual to find acid soil high up on the chalky North Downs.

At first sight one could be forgiven for thinking that the woodland garden was contemporaneous with the house. But it was only in the 1960s that it was created, following the discovery of three acres of deep acid loam, kept moist in the central section by underground springs.

Many acid-loving trees and shrubs have been planted, including camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas, an aralia, Davidia involucrata, Styrax japonicus, eucryphia and acers, as well as many bulbs and herbaceous plants. 

We have recently been adding new plants to the woodland incuding several magnolias such as the delicately scented Magnolia wilsonii.  Other plants include Viburnum plicatum 'Mariessii', Amelanchier Canadensis and Kalmia latifolia.

In late May/early June the woodland garden is at its most spectacular.

Wellingtonia Walk
Sequoia gigantea, known in this country as Wellingtonia and in the United States as Washingtonia, were introduced into Britain in 1853 and soon became fashionable to plant. The Wellingtonias at Doddington date from this period and must have been planted by Sir John Croft.

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Enter the name for this tabbed section: Pond & Folly Walk
Pond and Folly Walk

The spring garden has been planted mainly with varieties of malus, magnolia and betula and is underplanted with hundreds of tulips.  It is at its best in April/May.

The folly, described by Sir Roy Strong as a 'piece of Hampton Court' was built in 1997 by a Doddington based builder, G.L. Streeting, having been designed by Richard Oldfield as a memorial to his first wife, Alexandra, who died in 1995.

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Enter the name for this tabbed section: The Sunk Garden
The Sunken Garden

Over the winter of 2010/11 Kirsty Knight Bruce has re-designed the sunk garden adding eight new flower beds and moving the pyramid shaped clipped yews to the south terrace overlooking the park. 

The beds and borders will be continually changing throughout the summer: beginning with what promises to be a spectacular display of thousands of different varieties of tulips.  Followed by alliums, roses, euphorbias and a thrillingly wide variety of herbaceous plants.  The four beds around the central pond will be planted with the annual cosmos 'purity' which should be stunning.

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Enter the name for this tabbed section: Rock Garden
Rock Garden

The rock garden retains its original Edwardian framework but has recently been totally renovated.

The rock garden was one of the major innovations of Mrs. Jeffreys, the first member of the Oldfield family to occupy Doddington Place.  It was constructed before the First World War using Kentish rag stone from a quarry near Maidstone.  A series of descending pools culminate in a large pool that was restored in 2003. 

Rock gardens were fashionable in Edwardian times and have been unfashionable ever since - perhaps partly because of their labour-intensiveness both in creation, with many tons of Maidstone rag stone hauled in and positioned, and in maintenance.

Nearly a hundred years on many of the original trees and plants had become too large.  The fall of a hugely dominant Atlantic glauca cedar tree in the 1987 storm had the initial effect of providing much more light, which resulted in tremendous growth, and many shrubs and trees, such as the cypresses which from the original planting of the garden, became far too big.

During the winter of 2005/6 a programme of clearance was instigated. The project involved removal of some of the trees and shrubs and temporary clearing of many of the plants to provide more or less a blank sheet for replanting and for greater emphasis on the shapes of the rocks. Many of the original rocks were revealed and it is once again possible to imagine what it must have looked like in its early years.  (see picture on      

The framework is that of the old rock garden.  But the overall effect is now much more dramatic as several tons of additional stone have been incorporated as well as stone from a rock garden in Ireland. During the course of the renovation some 500 hundred tons of rocks have been moved. The series of descending pools has been restored and in addition there is a new viewing area over the largest pool.  One side of the large pool has been built up to resemble a quarry face with water trickling down it.

The planting is a mixture of traditional rock garden plants, grasses, shrubs and trees.  There is a small section devoted to alpines. Planting is continually evolving to create a new and varied experience each time you visit.
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Enter the name for this tabbed section: Hedges

The immense clipped yew hedges are an endless source of fascination for visitors to the gardens. 

The yews were planted by Maude Jeffreys (nee Oldfield) before the First World War.  They are now one of the most memorable features of the gardens.  'The yews have evolved into giant mounds like a range of cumulus clouds.  They still provide structure and are beautifully maintained in all their eccentricity, yet they are 'soft and full of character'  Dan Pearson wrote in the Telegraph Gardening Section.

Until the Second World War the yews were clipped along formal lines. During the war the yews were neglected.  After the war, John Oldfield decided to maintain the intriguing amorphous shapes the yews had grown into.  

The ladders used for clipping, which takes place annually in August and September are traditional cherry picking ladders.  (Doddington lies in the heart of fruit growing country.)  The yew hedges cover a total of one mile in length (walking both sides).
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Contact Us

Doddington Place Gardens
Doddington, Nr Sittingbourne,
Kent. ME9 0BB

T. 01795 886101
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