Ham Open Gardens

Saturday 16 May 2015 2.00pm to 5.00pm

More than fifteen diverse gardens in Ham are opening to the public on Saturday 16 May, many for the first time. This bi-annual event, organised by The Ham and Petersham Association, always attracts many visitors, from the garden experts to those who simply want to enjoy a pleasant afternoon or 'see behind the garden wall' of houses they pass by on a regular basis.

These hidden gems range from the grand to the intimate, from the Georgian to the contemporary. All the gardens are within easy walking distance of Ham Common and include the grounds of Cassel Hospital, a number of gardens in Ham Farm Road not previously open, Ormeley Lodge, houses around the Common and Ham Street, cottages in Evelyn Road, and a number of community gardens of special interest.  Each has a fascinating story to tell.

Tickets, and a map of the gardens, are £10 each or £15 for two, with free entry for children. Tickets will be sold on the day at a stall near St Thomas Aquinas Church, situated at the southern edge of the Common and near The Cassel. All proceeds from the ticket sales will go to the Ham and Petersham Association for the benefit of the local community, especially environmental projects. No 65 bus from Richmond to Kingston stops every 6 minutes on Ham Common.

Teas will be served from 2-5pm at St Thomas Aquinas Church.  All proceeds from the teas will go to 'The Shooting Star Children's Hospice', a locally based charity caring for sick children and their families.  There is a great opportunity to hear about Tree House Learning, Ham's local Forest School which offers play-based outdoors activities for children using their senses of touch, hearing, sight and smell in a woodland setting whilst enjoying a cup of tea.

Amongst the featured gardens are:

OAK LODGE, UPPER HAM ROAD

Oak Lodge's garden has recently been re-designed along modern formal lines, aimed at establishing a strong visual and physical connection with the house. Planting is highly structured and layered with avenue planting of standard evergreens and tall, intermediate and low hedges interspersed with block planting of white flowered roses and hydrangea. The formal square lawn, rhythmical planting and circulatory paths set up a vista to the lounging area beneath a cedar pergola.

HAM COMMON WOODS

This grassy clearing with ant hills is one of two areas that is being actively restored by Ham and Petersham Association with its partners in the community.  It is a great example of how active management of a woodland area can improve diversity and number of habitats. Without this the area would quickly scrub over, the grass and woodland edge would be lost as would some flora and fauna, including birch trees that require light that is let in by clearance and other works of restoration. 

ORMELEY LODGE

Large walled garden in rural setting on Ham Common. Wide herbaceous borders and box hedges.  An orchard with wild flowers, knot garden, vegetable garden, aviary and chickens.  Trellised tennis court with roses and climbers. A number of  historic stone family dog memorials.

19 SUDBROOK GARDENS (entrance through rear garden gate in Ham Gate Avenue)

The house was built in the1930's for Major Grigson. The Frankenburgs, parents of the current owners bought it in 1960 and made few changes to the garden beyond building the swimming pool and narrowing the flower border with a retaining wall, to enable them to install a tennis court next to the pool.  The garden features a rockery, a long border and terrace flower beds offering seasonal fruit and herbs.

GATE HOUSE GARDEN

Situated at the corner of Ham Common the garden is owned by Ham Amenities Group. It is planted and maintained by members of HAG (Ham Amenities Group) helped by local contractor Martin Russell-Jones.

THE CASSEL HOSPITAL (entrance at the far end of the building)

Originally a late 18th Century house known as Morgan House the grounds to the hospital are extensive with a large collection of mature trees. The building was bought by the Cassel Foundation in 1947 and is now a psychotherapeutic community which provides day, residential and outreach services for young people and families

FORBES HOUSE, HAM COMMON

This is a large garden which has been lovingly divided into very distinct areas some are designed to be more wild and rural and others are much more traditional. The main area is a large English style lawn with herbaceous borders and around this are the other smaller distinct areas.

HAM POND

The ancient village pond is maintained by the Ham Pond Group whose aims are to preserve and enhance it as a place of calm, and to encourage and protect its native plants and wildlife in keeping with a natural pond.

THE GATEHOUSE, HAM COMMON

The Gatehouse is one of a pair built around 1625 and originally one of the Gatehouses to Ham House. The lower level of the house, however, is older dating back another 100 years to Tudor times. It was very common in the past for older buildings to be re-used in this way.  We have tried to maintain the front garden in keeping with the period using topiary and heritage plants such as lavender, roses, delphiniums and hollyhocks. The back garden is a family garden.

The full list of participating gardens is:

Bird, Bee and Butterfly Garden Ham Library

10, Ham Farm Road

12, Ham Farm Road

4, Ham Farm Road

Gatehouse Garden, Ham Common

The Little House, Ham Common

Oak Lodge, Upper Ham Road

Ham Common Woods

Ormeley Lodge

19, Sudbrook Gardens

Gate House Garden

The Cassel Hospital

Forbes House, Ham Common

Ham Pond

The Gatehouse, Ham Common