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Discover the hidden gardens of Horsell

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I have been running Garden Safari with Penny Kramer for the last 17 years and have enjoyed every moment! It now seems a little odd to be running a virtual one, but in these strange days, we hope that it will bring a little cheer into everyone's lives.

Hopefully it will also inspire our wonderful Horsell Garden owners to get involved over the coming years - whether they have been regular openers or are new to our Safari!  And after 'lock down' - we expect that there will be a wonderful array of gardens to open up for us! We enjoy seeing all types of garden - small or large, formal or cottage garden style, wildlife friendly, colourful or full of wonderful shades of green. Every garden has something to offer our visitors. 

This year we can't offer tea and cakes, but we hope you will grab your favourite drink and nibble and sit down to delight in what Horsell gardens have to offer behind the garden fence!


Gail Bromley

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Through the gate

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Penny has been part of Garden Safari since it started and has worked every year with Gail to recruit gardens, set up databases, promote the Safari and even open her own garden!
Penny moved  to a new home nearly a year now.  The previous owners were not keen gardeners, so Penny inherited raised beds and artificial grass.  The garden faces south so has plenty of sun and Penny has now introduced lots of plants in pots and new features to make the garden her own. Missing her old greenhouse, Penny has been surprised at how much you can grow on the sitting room windowsill and in a vegetable trug.   The wilderness behind the shed has now been tamed and is growing runner beans, with varieties of blackberries on the fence.



Created 18 years ago by Pamela Barden - garden designer, plants woman and regular author of The Resident Magazine’s gardening articles and husband Graham.
Having retrained in garden design and horticulture, Pamela has been part of the team in four RHS Hampton Court Flower Show gardens including two gold medal winning and the RHS Back to Nature Garden which was co-designed by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge. She has designed many gardens throughout the village.
The garden is an ‘L’ shaped space separated into garden rooms with mature trees around the plot enforcing the woodland style within. The garden’s location in the village dictates the gentle slope on site, its sheltered conditions and free draining soil. Planted for year-round interest, containing many rare and unusual plants it also attracts an abundance of wildlife. A decked entertaining space, vegetable garden, children’s play area and greenhouses feature within the garden.

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This family garden includes an organic veg patch, cut-flower beds, wildlife pond, bee friendly borders and a big dollop of DIY. The owners use the space to host seasonal supper clubs with local chefs and eco-friendly workshops with gardening experts so that the local community can learn and be encouraged to garden in a sustainable way. A work in progress, many features of the garden are new this year. You can follow the progress of the garden on Instagram or Facebook @sprout.surrey’.



Over the fence


Our garden originally formed part of the grounds of a large property in Heath Road and still has many of the original camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas. It really looks its best in the Spring when all these bloom in succession and the wisteria is at its magnificent best.  Roger has developed the garden since the house was built in 1975.  However, he is inclined to raze things to the ground when my back is turned, so I do most of the gardening from Spring onwards!  The soil is acid and we have some very dry areas, so roses don’t grow well.  I confess I often use pots to fill in colour in the summer months. Roger keeps bees which have produced good quantities of honey over the last three years.  Although we are surrounded by mature trees – including a magnificent copper beech at the front, we have plenty of sunlight both front and back all year round.

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A larger than average garden with herbaceous borders, a pond, small orchard and kitchen garden.

Planted mainly for fragrance containing roses, phlox, sweet peas and old fashioned pinks. The garden has been developed over the last forty years and is now in its prime. Cultivation presents a challenge as it sits in a frost pocket, the cold air rolling down Kettlewell Hill.

Visitors from previous years will find some changes as the garden continues to evolve, in particular the “Paul’s Himalayan Musk” rose that filled the garden with its perfume has gone. Sadly, after rain and high winds a couple of years ago, the pear tree that had supported it for many years was blown over. It has been replaced with a flagpole cherry Prunus “Amanogawa”.

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Gail and David have lived in this house for over 30 years and have gradually added to this south facing garden, originally laid out by one of the Jackman family (of Jackmons nursaries) . Inheriting a long, narrow garden (as well as 35 chickens!!!)  it was designed with several reveals, which break up the garden into sections. A pond was added by Gail and David early on, and after moving the chickens to the end of the garden they could put in several large flower beds alongside a potting shed and glasshouse. A large patio installed about 10 years ago offers plenty of space for garden parties!

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Through the trees


The owners have lived here for 23 years but only became more creative in the garden in the last ten.  Perennials are the main interest and hard landscaping has been created around them. Shrubs with dark or golden foliage are dotted around. Mixed hedging in the back and inherited tall pine trees in the front edge the garden. 2 ponds increase the amount of wildlife, and insect-life.  Perennials start flowering as soon as the bulbs come to an end. The busiest time in the garden is Spring, weeding and re-arranging the pattern of the flowers.



Steve and I are keen gardeners, I’m a passionate cook and love art and Steve loves DIY so our garden is a reflection of our hobbies. We inherited a mature garden that needed some clearing, restoring and all year round colour to enhance the wonderful existing mature shrubs and trees. We are trying to make the back garden an extension of our home and have started to create rooms within it for having fun, working, growing our fruit and veg and relaxing. Our Covid 19 project has been the construction of our longed for revived kitchen garden, a few more weeks and it will be complete.  Hope you enjoy our video.



Our garden has been many things, from kid’s playground to allotment space, but now it has been transformed into a place of quiet tranquillity. We have a corner plot, which acts as both front and back garden, this had a gate on the corner and a path cutting the lawn in half, so a few years ago we dug up the old and set about designing our front garden as a place for our family to sit and entertain. We moved the gate to the side, which links to the front door and then created a raised border to hide our new seating area, we aren’t really very good gardeners, but we do like our annual trips to the garden centre, to get totally inappropriately sized plants, that we buy because we like them. The latest area to be created is my wife Tracy’s pebble beach, which houses our bird feeders and is our wild life corner, so please do visit us on a virtual tour – We hope you enjoy it.

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....and behind the hedge


We started redesigning our garden 13 years ago, following loosely a plan that was drawn up with our ideas. We are not gardeners, but love to spend time outdoors and try things, if they work great, if not we change it. We have just about finished with the original design, so are now tweaking it. The final thing was our pond which we managed to get finished for the last garden safari we took part in (2017). This year we have focussed on the lawns and clearing an area behind the shed ready for a garden studio that we hope to get soon.



Built in 1640, Carol's house is one of the oldest in Horsell. The garden was originally much smaller, but Carol was able to purchase an adjoining piece of land in the 1990s which enabled her to extend the back garden considerably. In the last few months the garden has been completely transformed by Ian Careless , with a revamped vegetable area, new beds,  lawns and paths, a pergola and a lovely summer house. This will be a new garden for the Safari in 2021.



The Horsell Allotment Association was formed in September 1917 and after moving around a fair bit  since that time, was allocated land at the present Bullbeggars site in 1967, moving in at the end of March 1969. A second site at Carthouse Lane, named Littlewicks, was opened by double Chelsea winner Cleve West on 6 June 2012. The site also included a separate area to use as a mini orchard and an apiary, which quickly grew to hold twelve bee hives to compliment the two already in existence at Bullbeggars. There are now 192 plots across both sites. In 2017 the Bullbeggars site received a new “Club House”, complete with a kitchen, toilet and small shop.

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Over the flower bed


Ann’s garden was laid out by her grandmother who had the house built in 1932 and Ann has lived there all her life. There are still many of the original 1930’s features: sunken gardens, crazy paving, scalloped edges to the beds, and the village-famous, if not world famous, World War II bunker air raid shelter. With the 1930’s ethics many things are recycled around the garden such as boots, gloves, old cooking pots, still useful gas piping and even the kitchen sink; two of them in fact. The garden also contains many of  the things now considered important to a garden: a place for wild  things and flowers, places to sit, a water feature, more than one way around the garden, hidden places and a ‘borrowed’ view in that  it  is impossible to see where the garden ends and Horsell Common begins.

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We would like to share with you our large garden and give you some insight into how it has evolved over the last 27 years. Many features to attract wildlife into the garden have been introduced including a pond and small wildflower ‘meadow’.  The plants we have added include some native species beneficial to insects. Our vegetable plot is being redesigned this year. Whilst this area is still a ‘work in progress’ it is showing encouraging signs of the harvest of fruit and vegetables to come.

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When my husband bought this house it was in a derelict state with an overgrown wilderness for a front and back garden.  We decided as it was a Victorian house to keep the front garden in the Victorian theme, especially as front gardens are in decline in favour of a parking space.  The back garden leads on to the Canal bank with a slope in the middle between house and garden.  We rather liked the undulation as a feature and kept it without steps.  The immediate area from the back door, designed by my husband, an architect, is a sunken courtyard with chessboard and a tree pit leading up to the bbq dining area.  Beyond that we have a featured pond and deck area and then the expanse of grass with miniature oak tree and edged Photinia hedge up to top patio area under the huge pine tree where nothing else will grow other than the rhododendrons.  Going through the gate in the picket fence leads to the canal bank, another world belonging to the local wildlife with a pretty seating area under the treehouse to while away the hours in the shade on a hot sunny day watching the world go by.

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This little delicacy from the rose family (Rosaceae)  is actually not a fruit in the botanical sense. The red structure is the enlarged part of the base of the flower (the receptacle). The little pips you see embedded on the surface are each a fruit - inside of which is a single seed. So you are actually eating a bunch of fruits!

Strawberry, Fragaria x ananassa

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If you would like to find out more information about the virtual 2020 Horsell Garden Safari or the Garden Safari in 2021 please be in touch and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

2 Birch Cottages
Horsell Birch


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