Autumn Garden Inspiration: Great Comp October 14, 2016 00:00


Last Sunday, I disappeared for an hour or two to enjoy the Autumn Fair in the beautiful garden of Great Comp. The garden provided the perfect backdrop for a range of stalls selling seasonal plants, garden essentials and crafts. 

The name may have you fooled into thinking this is a large, meandering garden but in fact, Great Comp is just seven acres, in earshot of the M26 and M20. The distant hum of the traffic is your only reminder of 'the real world'. Once you find yourself in this garden, quite frankly, your only limitation is your own imagination. A series of little walkways and paths take you around its woodland perimeter, allowing you to enjoy the beautiful little vistas in between the trees and mulchy smells of crunchy leaves and bark underfoot. Enter into the 'interior' of the garden and you'll find a folly here, an old statue there, with plants, shrubs and grasses weaving their way around. I loved the tropical border, still looking wonderful with cannas, banana leaves and melianthus  interspersed with bright red dahlias. Hot stuff. 

In other parts of the garden, particularly near the entrance, the borders draw you in with a variety of interesting, tactile grasses. I found it impossible to walk past these beauties without reaching out and touching them. Their size and scale mean you feel quite small and childlike in this garden, which adds to a sense of curiosity and carefree enjoyment. What a clever way to create an entrance to a garden. It quite literally changes your perspective on things, forcing you to slow down, reset and appreciate the sights and smells around you before allowing you to wander around the rest. 

While not technically in the garden, I have to recommend walking right down to the far right hand corner of the garden to see the oak tree on the other side of the fence. Look up from underneath to appreciate its enormous limbs and stature. I can't remember the last time I saw such a huge tree up close like that. It made me feel happy and sad in equal measure. 

The garden is well worth the visit but you need to get in quick. It closes for winter at the end of the month. In the meantime, I've come home with a spring in my step and a host of christmas gift ideas thanks to the wonderful stalls on show last weekend. More on those soon...!