Reuthe’s in Seal Chart, Sevenoaks, has opened its gates after months of renovation work to the historic gardens. Reuthe’s are the Lost Gardens of Sevenoaks, an acclaimed plant nursery founded in 1902 by a German plant hunter, set in 11 acres of ancient woodland, part of the horticultural miracle that is the Green Sand Ridge in the Weald of Kent.
Wednesday – Sunday | 10am-3.30pm ( winter hours)
Sevenoaks Road | Seal Chart | Kent | TN15 0HB
The historic site has been bought by Claire Price, who has restored the gardens, including a new café, to its former glory. In its heyday Reuthe’s won Gold 17 years’ in a row at the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show.
Reuthe’s welcomes visitors to explore the woodland, jungle-like pathways and walks up through the Hidden Valley. Here they will find plants and trees so rare they are the only ones in this country and discover hidden pockets of wild mushrooms, wild garlic and blueberries. The family friendly site is fantastic to go exploring with children and well- behaved dogs. Entrance is free and there is plenty of parking and toilets are also available.
Reuthe’s is situated on a north-facing woodland on a gently sloping hill with acidic, sandy and free-draining soil, part of the Green Sand Ridge. The Lost Gardens offer ideal growing conditions for the 300 varieties of rhododendrons growing on site and other acid loving plants such as rare trees, shrubs, azaleas and camellias.
Claire Price comments “Mr Reuthe’s curiosity during those treacherous plant hunting expeditions to the Himalayas and China in the early 20th century is the driving force of our specialist plant knowledge today. In the spirit of that adventure Reuthe’s is our Base Camp HQ and we’re thrilled to be open this Tues – Sunday for visitors to come explore the Lost Gardens of Sevenoaks.”
At Base Camp café there is a regularly changing menu of grilled and chilled sandwiches, warm baked sausage rolls, seasonal soups and salads. For breakfast there are hot bacon rolls available, alongside cakes and bakes and a delicious Base Camp afternoon tea in the afternoon. We serve the amazing locally roasted Corban Coffee and soft drinks and alcohol. Base Camp will fuel your adventure and feed your soul. Everything is handmade using local ingredients where possible, including many grown on site in the vegetable potager, such as salads and herbs. Reuthe’s honey is for sale, and we even have our own botanical gin.
A place for discovery and adventure
Reuthe’s journey began over 100 years ago when a young Jewish émigré, Mr Gustav Reuthe, left Germany in fear of his life. Driven by an insatiable curiosity for the exotic, Gustav embarked on dangerous plant hunting expeditions to China and the Himalayas. There, high in the snow-covered mountains, he discovered never seen before rhododendrons, azaeleas and other rare plant species. The plants that he brought home are thriving to this day in the nursery’s magical 11-acre gardens. Many specimens in the Lost Gardens is available to buy. Reuthe’s can arrange professional and careful delivery to anywhere in the UK and Europe. Costs are quoted per plant and order. A number of potted plants are available to buy at the nursery and also by mail order, and soon we will be launching our innovative “Garden on a Roll” pre planned seasonal borders, so you can take delivery of a piece of Reuthes right at home and create a stunning border in less than an hour (no gardening knowledge required).
For children we have daily Alpaca treks through the gardens that can be pre-booked (with a picnic if required) and for adults we have a monthly Farmers Market featuring over 20 specialist food stalls.
For more information and images for Reuthe’s please visit www.reuthes.com