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Dulwich and its neighbourhood is a green oasis bejewelled by its gardens - many magnificent, all inspirational, and all backed by astonishing depths of gardening knowledge. Each Spring the Gardens sub-committee publishes a comprehensive “Dulwich Gardens open for charity” booklet, with details of the local gardens that are open to the public during the year.
The sub-committee also organises an annual garden talk and an annual coach tour to one or more gardens of national importance, as well as occasional local visits. Details of these events, which are open to all members of the Dulwich Society and their friends, are included in the Society’s quarterly Journal and its monthly eNewsletter.
We contribute articles to the Society’s Journal, and generally we support gardening and related activities in our area. The Dulwich Society is an affiliated society of the Royal Horticultural Society. The Gardens sub-committee normally meets four times a year. If you are interested in joining the committee, please contact Jeremy Prescott.
Gardens Group terms of reference (PDF)
Contact: Jeremy Prescott,
Wednesday 5 July 2023
Sussex Prairie Garden is an attractive, eight-acre prairie garden, featured in The English Garden magazine. Wakehurst, “Kew’s wild botanic garden”, has 500 acres of designed gardens and landscapes. Managed by Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, it is also home to the Millennium Seedbank, the UK’s largest conservation project.
Coach from the front entrance to Dulwich Picture Gallery, College Road, SE21 7BG – 8.45am for prompt 9.00am departure; back around 5.30pm. We will arrive at Sussex Prairie Garden at around 10.30am. Following a tour of the gardens we will move on to Wakehurst for lunch (not included), with an early afternoon tour. Plant sales are available at both gardens - please bring bags.
Tickets, including transport, entrance to Sussex Prairie Gardens and tours, are £35 each and may be purchased through Eventbrite - search “Dulwich Society” or by cheque (see 'Read More' below). Entrance to Wakehurst is not included in the ticket price; entrance is free to National Trust and Kew members; for non-NT/Kew members, group entrance is £13 which will be collected on the coach.
All members of the Dulwich Society and friends are welcome, and early booking is advised. Enquiries to Jeremy Prescott -
Read more: Visit to Sussex Prairie Garden & Wakehurst, West Sussex
Arundel Castle Gardens & Landscape - talk with Head Gardener Martin Duncan
7.30pm, Wednesday 29 March 2023
at Bell House, 27 College Road, SE21 7BG
The Dulwich Society’s Spring Gardens talk will be given by Martin Duncan, Head Gardener and Landscape Designer at Arundel Castle.
Martin’s career as a celebrated professional gardener has taken him across the world, including Africa, Jordan, Bermuda and France. He was awarded the Kew Guild Medal in 2018.
The gardens at Arundel Castle, the seat of the Duke of Norfolk, are some of the finest in Britain. Martin’s talk will describe them and their recent development, with advice and tips for gardeners along the way. After the talk there will be an opportunity to meet Martin over a glass of wine.
The talk is being given in association with Bell House Dulwich, with any surplus going towards its garden activities. Tickets, including a glass of wine, are £10 each – to book, visit Eventbrite. Please note that spaces are limited.
Our brochure, Dulwich Gardens Open for Charity 2023, has been distributed to all members of the Dulwich Society and to local garden centres and other outlets. Do visit and support the gardens, a lovely garden (or group of two, three or even more), teas and the chance to buy plants that you may just have seen, all at excellent value and for good causes, makes for a great outing.
Download the Dulwich Gardens Open for Charity brochure for more information.
7.30pm, Tuesday 28 February 2023
Changing weather patterns – in 2022, a warmer wetter winter, a hot dry summer, a mild autumn – could be a taste of the future. In her illustrated talk, Sue Fisher will look at the major impacts of climate change on gardens and how to mitigate the effects, with a wealth of tips and practical advice.
Sue Fisher’s horticultural career spans over 40 years, starting with a decade in the garden centre and nursery industry before developing into an accomplished gardening writer, designer and speaker. Sue writes regularly for Gardener’s World and Garden Answers magazines. She has written 10 books on subjects including container gardening, organic gardening, edible crops, and plants for small gardens, as well as co-authoring other books with some of the biggest names in gardening. Sue lives in West Devon where she combines her passions for plants alongside sustainable and wildlife-friendly gardening in her own ¾ acre plot.
The talk is given in association with Bell House Dulwich, with any surplus going towards its garden activities. Tickets are £5 - book here.
Walking around Dulwich it is easy to miss the many allotment sites. Hidden from view from the main thoroughfares, lie over 920 of the UK’s 330,000 allotment plots, providing fresh fruit and vegetables - and a lot of enjoyment - to many local families, as well as valuable wildlife habitats and community resources.
These sites do not have continuous histories of cultivation, unlike some rural allotment sites. Gunsite Allotments in Grange Lane were founded in 1966 on the site of the WWII gun battery. Grove Park Allotments in Camberwell are part of what was once eighteenth century physician Dr John Lettsom’s gardens; this site was established when allotments in Camberwell had to be moved. And Grange Lane Allotments, below Dulwich Wood, was a barrage balloon emplacement during the Second World War, but according to Adrian Hill, chairman of the Camberwell & District Allotment Society, the fragments of clay churchwarden pipes that are unearthed when digging suggest that prior to that, the land was a staging post for cattle on their way to the slaughterhouses of the city; the drovers using the rest to take the opportunity to enjoy a pipe.
Our brochure, Dulwich Gardens Open for Charity 2022, has been distributed to all members of the Dulwich Society and to local garden centres and other outlets. Do visit and support the gardens, a lovely garden (or group of two, three or even more), fine teas, home-made cakes and the chance to buy plants that you may just have seen, all at excellent value and for a good cause, makes for a great outing. The brochure can be downloaded by clicking here.
Wednesday 15th June 2022
RHS Garden Wisley is the flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society, home to some of the largest plant collections in the world and to its research activities. The site has been transformed over the last few years, with new gardens and trial gardens, a new library and research building, and greatly enhanced plant centre and visitor facilities, with lots to see and enjoy. Extensive plant sales are available at Wisley, and plant sales are also available at Polesden Lacey - please bring bags.
Polesden Lacey (National Trust) occupies a magnificent setting in the Surrey Hills. Its gardens are Grade II* listed and include an Edwardian walled rose garden with over two thousand roses, a double herbaceous border, house borders and orchards, with cutting and kitchen gardens producing flowers and vegetables for the house and café. There will be a chance to see the house as well.
11am, Friday 22nd April 2022, 51 The Chase, Clapham, SW4 0NP
We have arranged a visit to 51 The Chase, the home of Rupert Tyler, Chairman of the National Garden Scheme, and Charles Rutherfoord, a member and past Chairman of the Society of Garden Designers. The Spring display is spectacular, with over 2,000 tulips creating carpets of colour enhanced by camellias, tree peonies, irises and lilacs, all in a sheltered setting. Our visit will include an introduction to the garden and a tour of the house designed by Mr Rutherfoord and light refreshments.
The 37 bus from North Dulwich station and 35 from Camberwell Green/Brixton stop in nearby Cedars Road (stop P); in addition, the 137 bus and the 322 can be used to get there. Paid street parking is also available. Tickets for the visit are £10 from Eventbrite. Please note that spaces are limited. Enquiries to
7.30pm, Monday 4th April 2022
Online Spring gardens talk - Fergus Garrett: “Succession planting for a long garden season”
The Dulwich Society’s Spring garden talk this year will be by Fergus Garrett, head gardener at Great Dixter and one of the UK’s most influential gardeners. In his illustrated talk, Fergus will use the magnificent Long Border at Great Dixter as an example of how to plan a long season border using structural plants, underplanting and interplanting with bulbs, use of self-sowers, pockets of bedding, masking with climbers and good maintenance. Fergus will explain how to choose the right plants that offer contrasting shapes, textures and foliage from different seasons to produce multi-layered long season communities. Fergus Garrett became head gardener at Great Dixter in 1992, working closely with Christopher Lloyd until Christopher’s death in 2006. Since then he has become Chief Executive of the Great Dixter Charitable Trust. Fergus works full-time, hands-on in the garden, as well as writing and lecturing extensively across the world. He was awarded the coveted Victoria Medal of Honour by the RHS in 2019. The talk is being given in association with Bell House Dulwich, with any surplus going towards garden activities at Bell House. Tickets £7 - book through www.bellhouse.co.uk/events or on EventBrite
Here are some of the gardening and wildlife organisations in and around Dulwich which would be pleased to hear from you if you would like to spend time helping them. Please check that the volunteering sessions are on the days and times shown before turning up with your wellies and gardening gloves, since they can change from time to time.
Bell House, a volunteer-led educational charity in the heart of Dulwich Village, is surrounded by beautiful and historic gardens. Volunteers are welcomed on Saturday and Thursday mornings from 9:30 - 11:30am, and Tuesday afternoon 2-4pm.
- Bell House Dulwich, 27 College Road, Dulwich, London SE21 7BG