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Syon Stories

The Wizard Earl in a Discovery of Witches.


Are you familiar with Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy of books? They follow the story of Diana Bishop, a modern-day witch and academic of alchemy, who falls in love with Matthew Clairmont, a 1500-year-old vampire, who is also an academic scientist interested in haematology. The second book in the trilogy, Shadow of Night, sees the protagonists travel back in time to 1590 Elizabethan England, where Matthew and his close friends are members of The School of the Night, a group of intellectuals, mathematicians, scientists, playwrights, poets and explorers.

It was a renaissance group of free thinkers that changed the world, with members such as Sir Walter Raleigh, Thomas Harriot and Kit Marlowe, all under the patronage of the Wizard Earl, our very own 9th Earl of Northumberland, Henry Percy, or Hal as he’s referred to in the books.

A Discovery of Witches has since been made into a TV series on Sky which received record ratings in 2019 and Series 2 was released on Friday January 8th 2021, and features the characters from Shadow of Night.

A Discovery of Witches Series 2 Official Trailer

One of our Historic Guides at Syon House, Sarah Ponder had the privilege to interview Deborah Harkness in December and ask her why Henry Percy was such an important person in history and why she chose him to feature in her books and TV series.

Full interview on YouTube




Hillier to Open New Garden Centre at Syon Park Estate




December 2020

Hillier to Open New Garden Centre at Syon Park Estate

Hillier Garden Centres and the Syon Park Estate have announced the Spring 2021 opening of Hillier Syon Park. Hillier will work with the Estate to transform the garden centre with both businesses investing significantly to improve the site. Through this new centre, Hillier looks forward to being part of the local community, sharing the company’s passion for plants, offering gardening expertise and becoming a friendly destination for people to meet, eat and be inspired. This acquisition will also create a number of jobs locally.

Hillier is a horticulture business with more than 155 years of expertise, founded by Edwin Hillier in Hampshire in 1864. Today, the company owns 17 garden centres across the South of England – including five centres acquired from Wyevale in 2019 – grows around 1 million plants a year across its Hampshire nurseries and is the largest grower of semi-mature trees in Europe. Hillier is proud to remain a family-run business to this day, with the fifth generation actively involved.

Following handover of the site, both Hillier and the Estate will be investing significantly into Hillier Garden Centre Syon Park to transform the visitor experience. True to the Hillier mission to inspire the creation of green living spaces for now and the future, visitors will be able to look forward to browsing a great range of top-quality plants. Many of these will be grown by Hillier at the company’s Nurseries in Hampshire. Organised in plant areas using ‘plant for purpose’ displays, gardeners will easily be able to find the right plant for the right place. For any queries, the plant experts at Hillier will always be on hand to help.

Hillier will be introducing its popular Gardening Club to Syon Park — in a member survey, 96% of current Hillier Gardening Club members said they would recommend membership to friends and family. Joining is free, with membership benefits including exclusive offers, points every time you shop, inspiring gardening magazines and more. 

The new Hillier Garden Centre is intended to be a place for the community. New menus will also be introduced at the Restaurant and Coach House creating a space for people to meet together among the beauty of plants. A farm shop will also be included on site, selling produce from local suppliers.

“We are delighted to be adding Syon Park to our Hillier Garden Centres family,” comments Chris Francis, Hillier Garden Centre and Wholesale Nurseries Director. “Syon Park is an outstanding destination in south west London and a great fit with our existing centres. Not to mention already being part of our Hillier heritage, with the company founder working there many decades ago! We are looking forward to getting to know the local gardening communities and inspiring them with our great range of quality plants, Hillier expertise and creating a real destination for them. It is very exciting times ahead!” 

“We are very pleased to welcome Hillier to the Syon Park Estate and look forward to working alongside them on the transformation of Syon garden centre,” comments Simon Prior. “The plans we have in place are incredibly exciting and will create a high-quality location for visitors to enjoy the new centre and explore the House and Gardens. That the Hillier family already has a horticultural connection with Syon Park makes the fit even better. We look forward to the centre opening its doors and welcoming people to see the changes in the spring.”      

Visit hillier.co.uk to find out more about Hillier Garden Centres 


For further information contact:


Shelley Turner                                                         

Head of Marketing

01794 368733



About Hillier:

Mission: “To inspire the creation of green living spaces for now and the future”

Hillier is the most successful exhibitor in the history of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, having been awarded 74 consecutive gold medals.

The company was founded in 1864 by Edwin Hillier and remains a family-run nursery with the fifth generation now actively involved in the family business as it continues to grow. The company employs over 700 staff across its 17 garden centres plus wholesale nursery and trees departments and grows approximately one million plants a year. It is the largest tree grower in the UK.

Over the years, Hillier has been responsible for numerous plant introductions, many of which have become essentials in British gardens and it continues with the tradition of innovation and the introduction of new garden plants in the present day.


Prue Jackson

Public Relations – Syon Park Estate

07968 739117