Take a hop back in time to the Edwardian era (1901-1910) at Mount Ephraim Gardens near Faversham. Known as the ‘Garden of England’ for its many fruit growing gardens, it is fitting that the county of Kent is home to this peaceful spot, stretching out around Ephraim’s National Heritage List for England Grade II listed manor house.
The Edwardian style manor house was built back in 1695 and then renovated and extended by the Dawes family. In fact, the perfect condition of the estate today is almost solely due to the Dawes, who restored it in the 1950s after its original gardeners were enlisted to go and fight in the Second World War. The gardens have not forgotten their history however, and cuttings relating to the First World War can be found in the topiary, whilst a sweet chestnut tree commemorating the Battle of Waterloo grows nearby.
Mary Dawes was particularly dedicated to the gardens and was heavily involved in their upkeep until her recent death (aged 93) in 2009 at which point her daughter-in-law Lesley took over. In honour of Mary’s work you can find an arboretum dedicated to her 80th birthday alongside another marking 300 years of the Dawes residing in Mount Ephraim.
An unusual feature of the garden is the Japanese rock and water garden which includes lanterns and a traditional stone bridge. Other highlights are the Millenial Rose Garden and the topiary garden which has yew trimmings of different birds and animals. Don't miss the herbaceous borders next to the garden walls as they’re an explosion of colour in summer. Also at its best in the summer is the Mizmaze, a labyrinth-inspired creation of tall grasses and perennials.
After strolling through the gardens, you can relax in the West Manor tea rooms or enjoy a picnic in a shady spot by the lake. If one day isn’t enough, the manor includes five individually decorated B&B rooms with garden views. The general public can’t get into the estate until 11am, so if you book a room you’ll have the gardens all to yourself until then.
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