At Waltham Place we find a series of walled gardens, the oldest dating from the 17th century, an English landscape garden with splendid specimen trees planted in the early 19th century, and a huge double border enclosed by yew hedges. Within this framework many intimate areas invite the visitor to pause and contemplate. Larger trees and shrubs, some of great age, coexist with a natural planting system implemented in 2000 when the gardens were redesigned by the Dutch garden designer Henk Gerritsen. Upon meeting him at his Priona Gardens in 1999, Strilli felt she had met a kindred spirit. With her love for the natural, including plants widely considered as weeds, such as bindweed, Strilli had finally found a gardener capable of fulfilling her concept for the garden. Both Henk and Strilli shared a vision; To create a garden that the visitor would experience as a nature area, without the need for artificial inputs, fertilisers or pesticides, a garden free of the endless battle between against weeds and insects.
Henk introduced the Waltham gardeners to plants with a subtle, natural appeal, yet born with a steely resolve to out compete weeds. Over twenty years later the result is a garden of great beauty in all four seasons, described by some as cultivated wilderness. By maintaining wild plantings within firm boundaries, the gardeners care for the gardens with a light touch. The plants are allowed to fulfil their complete life cycle, supporting a vast array of other lifeforms as they pass through the different life stages. Nothing is wasted. The garden is fed upon homemade composts, mulches and herbal teas in a perfect cycle just as nature intended. Through observation and questioning we engage in a dialogue with nature. The garden is in constant evolution; As self-sown plants appear and others falter, we ask ourselves ‘what is the environment asking of us?’ These are gardens that evoke emotion, for some a place of tranquillity to calm the mind, for others an inspiration – a place to debate and explore. However, the garden finds you, we hope you will return in different seasons to follow the cycle throughout the year.
Welcome to Walthm Place
A message from Strilli Oppenheimer
‘As we invite you to explore its many different facets with us, we ask that you shift your paradigms; that you look at the gardens with a different eye, to be accepting of the less formal, less tidy look. I am a gardener of place, who seeks to work with the nature of the place, adapting and evolving to its ecology rather than producing a decorated garden. Natural gardening is all about your relationship with the garden and its evolution, using your knowledge of plant systems and families. We are staunch believers in all aspects of organic husbandry and in the holistic management of the estate. We seek to combine forces with nature rather than fighting against it, and to explore the boundaries between garden and nature. In doing so, we have created a haven to an abundance of insect and animal life, fungi and indigenous flora. This is our legacy, our investment in the future.’
Visit waltham place
Book a tour of our ornamental gardens
Whether you are an individual, or a larger group, wishing to enjoy a tour of the gardens, our gardeners will be delighted to show you round and introduce you to these stunning naturalistic gardens.
Just £8 per person, including refreshments Wednesdays: 2nd June - 29th Sept