Reuthe’s in Seal Chart, Sevenoaks, has now opened after months of renovation work to the historic gardens.
Reuthe’s are the Lost Gardens of Sevenoaks, an acclaimed plant nursery founded in 1902 by a German plant hunter, set in 11 acres of ancient woodland, part of the horticultural miracle that is the Green Sand Ridge in the Weald of Kent.
The historic site has been bought by local plantsman Oliver Schneider who is restoring the gardens, including a new café, to its former glory. In its heyday Reuthe’s won Gold 17 years’ in a row at the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show.
Opening on Saturday 5 May at 8.30am, Reuthe’s will welcome back visitors to explore the woodland, jungle-like pathways and walks up through the Hidden Valley. Here they will find plants and trees so rare they are the only ones in this country and discover hidden pockets of wild mushrooms, wild garlic and blueberries. The family friendly site is fantastic to go exploring with children and well-behaved dogs.
Reuthe’s is situated on a north-facing woodland on a gently sloping hill with acidic, sandy and free-draining soil, part of the Green Sand Ridge. The Lost Gardens offer ideal growing conditions for the 300 varieties of rhododendrons growing on site and other acid loving plants such as rare trees, shrubs, azaleas and camellias.
Oliver Schneider comments, “Mr Reuthe’s curiosity during those treacherous plant hunting expeditions to the Himalayas and China in the early 20th century is the driving force of our specialist plant knowledge today. In the spirit of that adventure Reuthe’s is our Base Camp HQ and we’re thrilled to be open this Bank Holiday weekend for visitors to come explore the Lost Gardens of Sevenoaks.”
Basecamp Café powered by Birch’s
At Basecamp café there is a daily changing menu of grilled and chilled sandwiches, warm baked sausage rolls, fresh sourdough crumpets, seasonal soups and salads. There is Monmouth Coffee alongside cakes and bakes and a delicious Basecamp afternoon tea. For children there is an Explorer Pack which is a healthy and nutritious lunch plus a few non-edibles for entertainment. Basecamp will fuel your adventure and feed your soul. Everything is handmade using local ingredients, including many grown on site in the vegetable potager, such as salads and herbs. 80% of the menu is organic, wholesome and good for you. Reuthe’s café is powered by the award-winning Birch’s, which has a sister site in Seal.
A place for discovery and adventure
Reuthe’s journey began over 100 years ago when a young Jewish émigré, Mr Gustav Reuthe, left Germany in fear of his life. Driven by an insatiable curiosity for the exotic, Gustav embarked on dangerous plant hunting expeditions to China and the Himalayas. There, high in the snow-covered mountains, he discovered never seen before rhododendrons, azaeleas and other rare plant species. The plants that he brought home are thriving to this day in the nursery’s magical 11-acre gardens. Each and every specimen in the Lost Gardens is available to buy. Reuthe’s will arrange professional and careful delivery and planting to anywhere in the UK and Europe. Costs are quoted per plant and order. A smaller number of potted plants are available to buy at the nursery and also by mail order.