This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 23/04/2017.
The most beautiful gardens in Croydon you can explore – where you may even encounter a flamingo
Every year, hundreds of stunning private gardens across London open to the public – with some of the most beautiful being in Croydon.
All of the picturesque Croydon locations offer homemade cakes and teas and some great value plant sales too, making them great locations for a family trip.
The open gardens project is all part of the National Garden Scheme, which raises money for cancer and care charities every spring and summer.
Here is all you need to know about when and where to see the best gardens our borough has to offer.
Whitgift School Gardens
The mission and brief given to the gardening team was to create the best school garden in the UK – and it shows.
Wallabies, peacocks and flamingos roam an enclosed area of the grounds, which are home to a a series of fascinating and beautifully maintained gardens including a Japanese garden and exotic patch.
There is also a maze to explore.
The school grounds and gardens are without doubt the most unusual and spectacular of all the gardens in Croydon. Most areas are accessible by wheelchair as well
Open: Sunday, May 21 – 1pm – 5pm
109 Addington Road, West Wickham, BR4 9BG
This informal garden boasts winding paths which lead you past hot sunny borders, cool shady areas with contrasting foliage plants, a bog garden – where plants require moist conditions to thrive – and ponds with water lilies.
There are shady seating areas surrounded by colourful borders and a summer house overlooking a woodland area. Colourful hanging baskets and planters liven up the whole scene.
Open: Sunday, May 21and Sunday, June 25 – 1.30pm – 5.30pm
2 Springhurst Close, Addington, CR0 5AT
This garden lies within an impressive half-acre woodland setting that invites you to explore beds of specimen grasses, plantings of alliums (known for their showy flower heads, which come in wide range of sizes and shades of blue, purple, white and yellow), mature topiary, perennials (plants which live for more than two years), a fernery and woodland hydrangea.
An elegant water feature surrounded by an extensive collection of hostas (a type of foliage plant) creates a focal point for terrace beds in a lovely soft colour palette of blues, purples and pinks – which have all been designed with bees and wildlife in mind.
Other features of this garden are a designed terrace of different textured pathways and arches with an unusual collection of black plants, as well as a vegetable garden and unusually-named “bug hotel”.
Open: Sunday, July 9 – 2pm – 5.30pm
55 Warham Road, South Croydon, CR2 6LH
Explore a broad, immaculate lawn framed by oversized flower packed borders where dahlias the size of plates are growing.
There are a variety of exotic perennials punctuated by fruit trees and shrubs on show, all being at their best and peaking in late July.
Homemade teas with a fusion of English and Sri Lankan snacks are on offer throughout the afternoon.
Open: Sunday, July 23 – 2pm – 6pm
153 Portland Road, Woodside, BR1 5AY
Opening yet again this year, this award-winning garden has bags of charm.
Visitors enter via a densely planted front garden before walking through to the beautifully structured main garden with new planting alongside established shrubs. A central pathway framed by box leads through an oak to a delightful pond area.
There are lots of ideas here which keen gardeners will want to take away and copy, including intricate new paving, wisteria and aesthetic seating.
Open: Sunday, August 13 – 2pm – 5.30pm
Admission to most gardens is £4 with children admitted free and all proceeds going to charity.
For more information, visit http://www.ngs.org.uk/