Our garden adventure


Nothing beats a wander around a beautiful garden. Whether it’s a stately home, a National Trust property or a private garden, I always find it generates and inspires so many ideas. Different plants to try, different structures, forms, colour, planning a new area of the garden – it is endless.

Recently, Hew and I have had the joy of experiencing visiting some glorious gardens in Kent and Sussex. The first of our visits was Ightham Mote – the most complete medieval moated Manor House in England. It was of great interest to us as it was built around the same time as Columbine and it still has its bridge, courtyard and Great Hall that Columbine would have had.

Next we went to the place of pilgrimage for any gardener – Great Dixter. It’s a high-energy garden with strong contrasting plant combinations and is partly surrounded by that wonderful wildflower meadow which dates back many centuries.

On the same day we also went to Bateman’s – the home of Rudyard Kipling. Not only is it a beautiful house, the gardens are too and is a haven of peace in the Sussex Weald.

The third day took us to Scotney Castle and we got two beautiful buildings for the price of one! The most romantic 14th century moated castle and a Victorian country mansion all set in picturesque gardens.

Garden number five on our garden adventure fulfilled my lifelong dream to go to the iconic and most famous garden in the world – Sissinghurst. What a superb place it is – an English country garden dream. I found it quite moving to be there. Utterly glorious.

Last on our tour but certainly not least is Doddington Place Gardens – up there with one of the loveliest gardens we have seen. Ten acres of wonderful landscaped gardens including a woodland, a folly, a large Edwardian rock garden with pools, a formal sunk garden with billowing herbaceous borders and very impressive clipped yew hedges.

There is nothing more joyful than visiting other people’s gardens. We are already planning our next garden adventure.