All posts filed under: British Gardens

Sissinghurst’s Rite of Spring

The gardeners continue to create colour wheel harmonies; bright and gaudy; cool and relaxed; the garden compartments have diverse compositions.  The spring bulbs, like brass, shout the loudest with purple and red fanfares everywhere. More muted arrangements in spring greens and whites are often simpler tunes in […]

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Ightham Mote

The rich afternoon light of autumn lifts the ancient, dark-tiled manor house out of the deep shade within the narrow, wooded valley. A dammed lake feeds a black mote around the richly patterned square of stone and half-timbered buildings within which is hidden a small, beautiful, cobbled quadrangle. On […]

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Great Dixter

Great Dixter on a grey afternoon in May with rain threatening. The old manor sinks into the gentle hillside under steep-pitched roofs and tall chimneys; an Elizabethan galleon on a sea of meadows and woodlands that flow across this quiet corner of the Weald. The fields are full of buttercups and orchids […]

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Sissinghurst in May

Sissinghurst Castle is a bustle of visitors and, on our second visit, the gardens have a degree of familiarity; the shape and juxtaposition of the different compartments, the various views and the patterns of colour more readily comprehended. Black and white images throw the place straight back […]


Bayham Abbey

Bayham Abbey is a fine example of 16th century destruction in an age of religious intolerance, grotesque public execution and profiteering. Today, it is a quiet place of crumbling sandstone set amongst beautiful and ancient trees at the base of a valley. The ruins sit next to an […]

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Bore Place

Just round the corner from Bough Beech, among the mosaic of woods and pastures of the Weald, is Bore Place, a fine old brick and tile manor house. Today, it is the home of Commonwork, a charitable trust that seeks to educate, inspire and support people through contact […]

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Dungeness A

The flat grazing marshes of Romney, with large farms and famous sheep flocks, now adorned by a wind farm and bigger airport outside the old village of Lydd, give way to low shingle ridges decked with bushes as the road heads south to Dungeness. A […]

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In the Spring of 1939, my mother accompanied her mother on a visit by the Hildenborough Women’s Institute to Sissinghurst Castle Garden.  The group alighted from a charabanc and were shown round the gardens by the owner, Vita Sackville-West.  My mother, not quite in her […]


Great Comp Garden

Great Comp Garden in late July is a study in green.  The spring flowers have long faded and spindly Salvias, for which the garden is renowned, linger but, apart from one hot bed of red hot pokers (Kniphofia sp.) and yellow Dahlias by the old quiet house, this […]

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St John’s Jerusalem

On a July afternoon, a cock blackbird sunbathes in the hot sun splayed on the dry grass. I hope to see flat flies run for the cool shade of the adjacent copse or perhaps feather lice fried but no such luck.  The pair are nesting in the […]

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