Sissinghurst Gardens open this year.

We are fortunate to have so many National Trust Properties around us in the south east, none closer than the wonderful Sissinghurst Gardens, almost on our doorstep. We were able to visit for the final time last year, on the closing day, and were back on a beautifully sunny day last Saturday for this years reopening.

The first thing we noticed was that they have purchased a new transport buggy to take those who need it, to and from the car park to the entrance. Apparently it was part funded from the proceeds of the raffle!

Also new this year is a introductory talk given 4 times a day on the Plain, in front of the ticket office. An interesting talk called Family Ties, giving a brief history of the property and the families that have lived at Sissinghurst. Most enlightening and worth trying to catch.

Prue enjoyed taking some pictures of the garden in its early awakening stage, and look forward to seeing it soon in its full glory.

The board as you go in showing the gardeners tasks.


The orchard with some of the early spring flowers.


The cottage garden almost dormant


The cottage Garden July 2010


The lime walk


The purple border is also just awakening.


January visit to Dungeness

Last  Sunday was such a beautiful winters day, so we decided to indulge ourselves, and have a fish and chips lunch at the famous Pilot Inn at Dungeness. After our hearty meal, we and our dog, set off to get some exercise and explore the wonderful scenery. Again we are happy to share some of our photos with you.

Prue on the stoney beach with our dog, Lettie.

Derek Jarman’s cottage with the raised verse on the wall.
The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch train about to leave on last homeward journey of the day.
A full head of steam, and off we go.
Chug, Chug and Chug…..
The sun is setting, and time to wend our way home…..
PS a quick snap of the newest lighthouse as we pass by

Autumn Visit to Scotney Castle

Moving around the moat, the castle from a different angle

At the end of Oct 2010  we visited Scotney Castle to see the autumn colours. We were fortunate in the weather and Prue took some fabulous pictures which I set out below for you to enjoy. We look forward to May when the Azelias are at their peak.

Looking across the moat.
Scotney Castle
Lovely Reflection
Lovely Reflection
Another view across moat of autumn colours
A final picture

Merriments Gardens

White Blossom
White Blossom

On Saturday the 24th April we visited another of our favourite gardens near us, Merriments Gardens. This garden covers about 4 acres, and is always worth a visit. This visit was to see the most marvelous display of tulips of every imaginable colour, as well as many trees in full blossom. The gardeners have really laid out an incredible display. We like the way they label most of the plants in the garden so we can choose those we would like for our own garden.

The garden should be visited several times a year,  as, as summer progresses, so does the garden!

Our pictures can only give you an idea of the splendor, so please try and get to the garden soon to see them for yourself.

I managed to get a picture of Prue and our dog, Lettie, enjoying the view from one of the many benches scattered around the garden:

We often sit quietly in the bird hide to see the some of the over 25 species of birds that feed right in front of you.

The site has a garden terrace restaurant, fantastic nursery and gift shop to fill your every need.

Finchcocks visit on Kent Big Day Out

We applied on the ballot for this years Kent Big Day Out event and were fortunate to get our preferred venue, Finchcocks Musical Museum just outside Goudhurst. Due to a prior engagement for lunch we only made the second half of a most enjoyable afternoon, starting off with a cream tea in the cellar restaurant. We then spent time looking at the collection of over 100 historical keyboard instruments and some of their collection of photographs and prints.

We then assembled for a memorable musical recital  by Richard Burnett, Gary and Alastair.

A selection of our photographs:

A view of the back of the Georgian house.
At last the daffodils in the lovely gardens are in bloom. Very late this year.
A view of three of the pianos on display
John Broadwood and Sons London 1845 concert grand piano in amboyna wood
We are assembling for the demonstrations and recitals.

Richard on the Adam Beyer 1777 square piano playing a sonato.
Gary and Richard – a duet
A five hand piece by Richard, Gary and Alastair

The recital concluded  by Finchcocks curator Alastair Laurence entertaining us with two pieces including Springdance from Bergen.

Please include Finchcocks in your itinary when visiting Kent- opening times are on their website:


Sissinghurst Gardens opens for the new season

Monday 15th March

We made our first visit of the year to Sissinghurst .  After the cold winter all the spring bulbs are much later than last year, but we were pleased to  see the abundance of crocus, snowdrops and winter aconite in glorious bloom. It was a lovely day with plenty of sunshine.

We enjoyed seeing the garden in this early stage as we are so used to seeing the huge variety of flowers that we are used to in mid summer. We share below some of the photographs we took today.

The spring garden or the Lime Walk as it is also known.

A close up of  a bee enjoying the early blooms:

A view of the Orchard  where in a few days the daffodils will share this space:  (we will update the picture when they are out in a new posting)

The Sissinghurst farmers market made its first appearance of the year. It will then be on the first Monday of every month. Come and buy some of the wonderful local produce.

We were also pleasantly surprised to see tables and chairs out in the open for us to enjoy lunch  or tea from  the Granary Restaurant, most of the vegetables and salads are grown on site during the summer. This is a recent innovation.

The winter aconite (Eranthis Hyemalis) in bloom:

14th May visit to Pashley Manor Gardens

We were fortunate to be invited to join a tour of Pashley Manor Gardens

We assembled on the lawn in front of the Tudor house and were introduced to Pashley Manor Gardens by Mr James Sellick, the owner.

Tudor House built in the 1500's
Tudor House built in the 1500's

The tour took us via the new visitor centre into the garden where we were fortunate to see the sculptures  arranged around the garden for sculpture week which is running from the 16th to 28th May 2009. Some of the pictures we took are set out below:

One of the statues amongst the flowers.More of the garden.
Mr J Sellick, 2nd from left, explaining a point.
Mr J Sellick, 2nd from left, explaining a point
Our cream teas, on the terrace.
Our cream teas, on the terrace.
The Georgian facade covered in wisteria and banksia rose
The Georgian facade covered in wisteria and banksia rose
Piggy back by Mary Cox
Piggy back by Mary Cox
Mr Bennet's Daughter by Philip Jackson.
Sarah by Jenny Wynne-Jones
Sarah by Jenny Wynne-Jones
Manta Rays by James Milborrow
Manta Rays by James Milborrow
Future events are :
The Rose weekend 12-14th June

Visit Bull Farm Oast for “Little uns’ first adventure”

We’ve been recommend in the guardian for a place to stay when visiting bedgebury

More ways to entice your kids outdoors

Little uns’ first adventure

Let your tinies follow the great explorers of yesteryear as they scour the land for exotic plants in the exotic setting of a Kent forest. Bedgebury’s wooded play trail includes a shipwreck, a climbing wall and giant spider web climbing frame for your budding Darwins to negotiate. They’ll just have to imagine the scurvy and boa constrictors.

• £7.50 per car; 01580 879820, Stay at Bull Farm Oast, Cranbrook (01580 714140, doubles from £67 (children’s beds can be added).

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