Ramster Gardens offer a huge amount of history as well as beauty…
Sir Harry Waechter laid the foundations of the present garden, he created them out of the oak woodland. He was helped by the well-known nurseries, Gauntletts of Chiddingfold, whose nursery adjoined the garden. Gauntletts were famous for their interest in Japanese plants and ornaments and the Japanese influence is still maintained in the garden today. The stone lanterns, the cranes, now happily feeding in the pond, the clumps of bamboo, the masses of evergreen azaleas and the avenue of maples are typical of the Japanese style features used in the gardens they designed.
The soil in the garden is acid to neutral, and consists of Wealden clay, with pockets of sand, making it ideal for rhododendrons, azaleas and flowering shrubs. Great care is taken to preserve the natural woodland character of the garden. The grass paths, the carpets of wild flowers and the wonderful mature native trees make a perfect setting for the flowering shrubs. No good garden stands still, and Ramster today is a flourishing garden, with new projects, plantings and improvements being undertaken every year.
In 1922 the property was bought by Sir Henry and Lady Norman. She was the daughter of Lord and Lady Aberconway, and grand-daughter of Henry Pochin, who started the famous gardens at Bodnant in 1875. A very keen horticulturalist like her mother and grandfather, she greatly added to the garden at Ramster Hall, introducing many of the Rhododendrons and Azaleas for which it is famous today. Some of them were grown from seed brought back by the great plant collectors, and others were the result of her own crosses.
In 1927 the garden was first opened for the National Gardens Scheme, and remains one of the few original gardens which are still open. Sir Henry Norman was a Liberal MP, cabinet minister, writer, explorer and amateur scientist. He was greatly involved in the introduction of wireless telegraphy he conducted experiments in the garden. Many of his artifacts from his many explorations are in the halls today.