History and design
The Secluded Garden was created in 1995 by garden designer Anthea Gibson, with the aim of using plants to stimulate sight, smell, touch and hearing. Among the plantings are panels with extracts of poems highlighting the senses, including The enkindled spring by D H Lawrence and Amoretti Sonnet 26 by Edmund Spenser.
Those entering from the entrance closest to Elizabeth Gate pass through an avenue of rustling bamboo (Phyllostachys viridi-glaucescens) beside a trickling stream.
The cottage-style beds beyond are planted with scented flowers, such as Rosa ‘Madame Isaac Periere’; fruits, including apples and pears; and visually stimulating species such as Cistus, with showy tissue-like pink flowers.
At the heart of the garden is a circular seating area bounded by pleached lime trees, Tilia x euchlora with a spiralling slate water feature '7 Slate Towers', designed by Daniel Harvey, at its centre.
Things to look out for
Just outside the bamboo-lined entrance to the Secluded Garden is a bed highlighting plants that have been named after the Gardens at Kew and Wakehurst.
These include the spindle tree (Euonymus fortunei ‘Kewensis), stinking Benjamin (Trillium erectum ‘Kew Beauty') and lily-of-the-valley bush (Pieris formosa var. forrestii ‘Wakehurst’). The latter, whose young leaves are an intense red, was first found as a natural hybrid at Wakehurst.