Spotlight on the Gardens: the Long Border

Long Border
July 28 2015 | Attractions Garden

Located on the edge of Two Sisters’ Lawn, near the Festival Theatre tent, the Long Border at Hever Castle is packed full of stunning perennial plants.

Hever Castle gardener Ian Roots has worked at the castle for eleven years and has had responsibility for the Long Border for the past five, due to his extensive knowledge of perennials.

When discussing what is involved with managing this area, Ian said: “I have nearly total say in what happens to my area. I can move plants about through dividing as this is an easy process with perennials. I can also ask for new plants within a reasonable budget. Then it is just maintaining the border to the highest standard I can achieve.”

When Ian first took over the Long Border it was a shadow of its current self, “full of weeds and an unusual mixture of perennials due to many gardeners putting things in that they liked and not necessarily what works.”

Ian transformed this area by planting more widely recognisable perennials that everybody can relate to in their own gardens. The border has always had some degree of structure as it is based on the Gertrude Jekyll Style of planting, with cool colours running in to hot then back to cool again – this is the key principle that Ian abides by when deciding what to plant.

Long Border

Ian’s Background

After leaving school Ian studied for two years at Hadlow College and gained two qualifications in Horticulture. He then went to work for Kent County Council as part of their Landscape department, and relished the varied work across the county.

Four years on from this he went back to his farming roots and enjoyed two years of working on a friend’s farm. At the time his father was Head Gardener at Cobham Hall and knew Neil Miller, current Hever Castle Head Gardener, who mentioned a vacancy at the castle. Ian successfully applied for the job and has enjoyed working here ever since.

When discussing working at Hever Castle Ian said, “Hever is just such a beautiful place in the Kent countryside to work. I think the best thing about the gardens is that there is something to see all year round.”

Ian’s favourite plants are roses, in particular David Austin roses, and also Heucheras because “they are so colourful and can brighten up any garden at any time of the year.”

Read more about the different areas in the beautiful Hever Castle gardens.

Long Border