News and events about White House Farm, Maurice Foster’s garden and arboretum in Kent, England

Welcome to the first White House Farm biennial newsletter, for Friends of White House Farm. This comes to you as an email twice yearly if you enter your email address here.


Our over two hundred spring magnolias produced a particularly good effect this year because the season was concertinaed by early warmth. Standouts for continuity were Snow Queen and Spectrum, and for colour, Copeland Court and Darjeeling. Roses were at their peak at the end of June/beginning of July, both the climbing species in the arboretum and the shrub roses in the rose garden. In May the species Rosa moyesii in the arboretum produced some intense reds, particularly the Howick collections.

The Volunteer group (‘afternoon gardening teas’) has continued to build an enthusiastic local community that is having a significant long term impact on the garden. Maurice has published four articles so far in 2022, and has been asked to write a book on Hydrangeas by Crowood Press, which is well underway.

At the June 1st RHS Woody Plant Committee meeting a commemorative tree in memory of the late Vicky Schilling was planted in the arboretum by several trustees of the Tree Register of the British Isles (TROBI), in which Vicky played a seminal role. We selected a small plant of Quercus floribundum, a rare tree from Nepal, reflecting her husband Tony Schilling’s longstanding relationship with that country as well as his wife’s outstanding contribution to arboriculture.


A Hydrangea Study Day co-organised by Wisley graduate Jack Aldridge (soon to take up a post as head of Wisley’s Wild Garden) will be held at White House Farm on August 20th 2022, 11-5pm.

White House Farm, the source of H. aspera ‘Hot Chocolate’ and H. aspera ‘Rosemary Foster’, is growing many more unique hybrids in the dark-leaved and large-corymbed range of the asperae subsection, as well as a representative collection of wild forms, including H. aspera, H. involucrata and H. longifolia. As well as observing variation, we’ll cover species, group and individual plant behaviour over time, propagation issues, and the impact of this year’s drought and heatwaves.

The day is intended for students or recent graduates of horticulture/botany, but all plantspeople are welcome: if you’d like to attend, please contact Clare L. E. Foster here.