A Garden-Lover's Dream

I know some people would disagree with that title. Our variable soils in the Oxshott area sometimes seem to conspire to make gardening extremely difficulty. The underlying deposits vary from clays (hence the Oxshott Brickworks, which used to be located in Littleheath area) to loose sands (hence the sand-pit in Oxshott Heath, and Sandy Lane). The overlying soils tend to be acidic, hence the abundance of rhododendrons in the area and the displays of heather on Oxshott Heath, but are interrupted by intercalations of builders' rubble, which locally turn the soil alkaline and which seem to be getting more abundant. In consequence there is a lack of good, organic-rich, loamy soils in much of Oxshott.

Despite these inherent difficulties there are many beautiful private gardens in the area, many of them very mature. It is a question of understanding the nature of the soil and environment in your garden, and planting accordingly. In our garden, our very sandy soil, which seems to absorb compost and manure endlessly, drains so quickly that we have to use plants that can tolerate dry conditions. I cannot understand how our rhododendrons, some of which must be at least 60 yrs old, have survived considering their shallow roots. The rapid-draining nature of the soil also requires that we fertilise regularly, as the fertiliser quickly washes through.

We are fortunate, therefore, to have some excellent gardens close to Oxshott that are open to the public to visit. The first of these has to be the Royal Horticulture Society gardens at Wisley, where there is also an excellent garden centre selling a wide range of unusual plants. If you are interested in gardens I strongly recommend joining the RHS, so that you can enter Wisley gardens at no charge (with one guest), and also receive the RHS monthly publication which alone is worth the membership fee. The RHS website can be found here and the link to the Wisley webpage is here - Wisley Gardens. Do go and visit them - there is something to see at all times of the year. You can get a location map of Wisley Gardens by clicking here.

Claremont Gardens are located off the Portsmouth Road between Esher and Cobham, and a location map can be found here. In addition to the beautiful gardens themselves, there are frequently concerts and other events including fireworks displays, especially during the summer. Claremont Gardens are owned by the National Trust whose website is here. In addition to Claremont there are many other NT properties in this area, so membership of the National Trust provides a lot of benefits.

Painshill Park is accessed from Cobham.