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20 Surrey gardens to visit: Great Fosters to Knowle Grange

PUBLISHED: 13:34 12 May 2011 | UPDATED: 15:12 20 February 2013

Isabella Plantation, Richmond

Isabella Plantation, Richmond

The essential guide to garden visiting in the UK, The Good Gardens Guide has been a best-seller for almost 20 years. Here are their picks of Surrey's gardens to visit

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2008

The essential guide to garden visiting in the UK, The Good Gardens Guide has been a best-seller for almost 20 years. Here are their picks of Surrey's gardens to visit


Great Fosters

Topiary in all its manifestations, from clipped trees to neat knots, is the dominating force in front of the house (a hotel since the 1920s). Behind the house are flowery enclosures, avenues of trees and, guarding the perimeter from the pervasive roar of the M25, Kim Wilkie's dramatic modern grass amphitheatre. Visit with Claremont (see above), and compare.

  • Great Fosters, Stroude Road, Egham, SurreyTW20 9UR; 01784 433822. Open all year, daily, during daylight hours.

Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden

This 10-acre valley garden unites the formidable skills of landscape designer Anthony Paul and his wife Hannah Peschar, a noted collector of sculpture. The result is a controlled wilderness of narrow winding paths, towering trees shading strongly architectural plants, and a changing cast of strategically placed abstract and figure pieces. An expensive visit, but a magical one.

  • Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden, Black and White Cottage, Standon Lane, Ockley, SurreyRH5 5QR; 01306 627269.

Isabella Plantation

For Londoners, Richmond Park has long been a lifeline, but the thickly wooded plantation hidden away behind a wrought-iron gate deserves to be far better known. Mature oaks, beeches and birches shelter prolific underplantings of bulbs, azaleas and other flowering shrubs, and these have combined with ponds and streams to turn the 40 acres into a haven for wildlife.

  • Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park, Richmond, SurreyTW10 5HS; 0208 948 3209. Open all year, daily, dawn to dusk.

Knowle Grange

Like John Evelyn at Wotton House (see above), the owners were inspired by visits abroad to create a garden where French architectural structures and Italian and Japanese plantings play a significant part; a Universal Path of Life gives a philosophical dimension. An amazing place of strong lines softened by planting recently created but traditional in its atmosphere and effect.

  • Knowle Grange, Hound House Road, Shere, SurreyGU5 9JH; 01483 202108. Open for the NGS.

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