After having a fairly hectic summer, what with things breaking, family worries & the general pace of life these days, we met our lovely friend, Val, in Sandwich for a mooch about in the Secret Gardens.
Val has been many times & it's been on our *Must Visit* list for a few years, so when she suggested meeting up we jumped at the chance. Well, *I* jumped, Shaun sort of did a wheelie in his wheelchair !! :o) No, not really . . . he just agreed it would be a nice morning out :o)
The gardens surround The Salutation House, designed by the famous English architect, Edwin Lutyens & built in 1911 in the Arts & Crafts style. Lutyens was commissioned to design the war memorials in the larger cemeteries & is also responsible for the design of the Cenotaph in London, built as a permanent reminder of those killed in action during WW1 & now also for those killed since.
The gardens were designed by Lutyens & planted by Gertrude Jeykyll, one of the most famous female gardeners of all time. The original woodland area, White Garden, Yellow Garden, wild meadow garden & the bowling green, are still in evidence today, along with more recent additions such as the Tropical Garden.There is also a small lake - Lake Patricia, obviously named after me !! :o) - & an island, which were reinstated in 2007. Dotted about the 3.5 acres are metal animal statues which can be bought from the artist - if you're rich enough :o) We saw a foal, a really lovely giraffe, a mother pig & her piglet - so sweet !! - & some pumpkins that were brilliant. They really looked good because they were among the pumpkins growing in the veg garden :o)
This is the first proper view of the house. When you enter the gardens, there's a small hut where you pay the entrance fee. To the left of that is the entrance to the gardens & after you've walked a few yards, this is the view to your right.
This is the path through the Tropical Garden. Because it's the end of the summer, everything is dying down now, so it wasn't at its best for our visit. The path was difficult to negotiate pushing a wheelchair, but we managed. Next time, we'll take the mobility scooter :o)
A view of the house from the far side of the gardens. It really is a stunning place.
In the woodland area, there are a couple of seating areas. This chair thingy caught my eye - it looks like it's made from antlers but is all wood.
Part of the woodland area with a shaft of sunlight coming through the trees. It's only small but it's peaceful & very whimsical. You can almost imagine a playful elf or gnome darting about playing hide & seek with you. Or, maybe that's just me !! :o)
This is one of the flower borders. The orange of the Chinese Lanterns against the yellow of the Golden Rod is something to see. It gives off a warm, Autumnal feeling &, in *real life* is beautiful.
In the Spring & early Summer, this woodland garden is covered with wild flowers. There were only a few cornflowers left but the statue of the foal was still there. Val said there had been a bigger *Mummy* statue there a few weeks ago, but it must have been sold because we didn't see it anywhere else in the gardens.
Now, I LOVED this statue :o) A headless ghostly woman. I don't know why I loved it, Val doesn't, she finds it creepy, but I just thought it was fab. I also love the area it's in - a corner of the bowling green, with St. Clement's Church tower hovering in the background :o)
Here she is again, posed as though she's pointing to the church :o)
This is the house from the bowling green. It's beautiful & very impressive, but, unfortunately, it isn't open to the public :o(
If I remember correctly, this cottage can be rented for holidays. It overlooks the Yellow Garden & is pretty big for a cottage :o)
A view of the gardens. Because the borders are quite high, it's almost as though the gardens are made up of individual rooms.
Amongst the bird song, we could hear chainsaws & other machinery as the gardeners were busy cutting back & tidying up, getting the gardens ready for bed over the winter.
The island & Lake Patricia, complete with visitor :o)
The crocodile or alligator - not sure which, sorry - is HUGE. It's beautifully made & looks pretty ferocious :o)
Looking at the little patio area - where I took the photo above this one - from the island. It's very small but has room for a pergola with table & 4 chairs inside. A beautiful spot to just sit & be quiet for a while.
A view of the lake from the island.
I took a fair few pics of the flowers & plants around the gardens, but I'll save those for another time.
We will definitely go back again, hopefully before Christmas, because I think all the seasons have something to show us in a garden. Autumn is my favourite time of year, so maybe we'll get there sometime in the next couple of months.
Now, though, I need to ring my Mum & wish her happy birthday & I need to finish icing a cake for grandson 1a who is ALSO celebrating his birthday today :o) He's 4, but my Mum is a wee bitty bit older than that :o)
Have a great Sunday, whatever you're doing.