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Hever Castle wins Garden of the Year 2014 by South and South East Bloom

The gardens of historic Hever Castle received a Gold Award and were voted ‘Garden of the Year 2014’ by South & South East in Bloom. 342

The double accolade was announced last week, with the gardens beating stiff competition in the Heritage Parks & Gardens category.

It received a glowing report from the Assessors who praised Head Gardener, Neil Miller, and his team of nine trained gardeners for maintaining the extensive gardens.

Hever Castle Gardening Team with their ‘Garden of the Year 2014’ Award

It was felt that the opportunity to book garden tours and the availability of gardeners and volunteers to answer visitors’ questions was a bonus.

The Judges also approved of the number of ramps enabling access for less able bodied visitors to all areas of the gardens and the introduction of golf buggies to take disabled visitors around the area.

The gardens also scored highly on the environmental scale.

Among new and ongoing projects to enhance the visitor experience is the reclaiming of Church Gill Walk, an extension of Sunday Walk.

Additionally new vistas have been opened up along with pruning mature yew hedges back into shape and the introduction of new plantings covering all seasons, including the development of a Winter Garden.

Each year, Britain in Bloom receives hundreds of entries from communities, schools, cities towns and villages who wish to participate from across the South and South East.

The report concluded that ‘Hever Castle’s fascinating gardens were full of colour and interest, an enjoyable experience well worth more visits in the future, guided expertly by an enthusiastic, joyful character, Neil Miller, Head Gardener’.

Neil said: “I was absolutely thrilled with the Award – my team really deserved it.”

Chief executive Duncan Leslie, added: “We are delighted that the hard endeavours of the gardening team have been recognised.

“Hopefully this prestigious award will make more people aware that we have one of the finest and most important gardens in the ‘Garden of England.”

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