Our gardens are open to visitors from Easter to September.
From local research it is now believed that the walled garden is early Victorian and was possibly built from locally manufactured bricks. It was once part of the estate of Staplehurst Manor producing vine and soft fruit for the big house. The doorways are original and the central door space was the size to accommodate a Wealden cart allowing produce to be taken up to the Manor.You can still see some remnants of horse drawn agricultural machinery and tools in various parts of the gardens.
As you look around the gardens you will see examples of dressed stonework being used as features in the herb beds and there are large pieces of masonry behind the walled garden too. These are thought to have formed part of the buildings belonging to the Augustine order of Friars from Canterbury as some of this area was owned by them from about the 11th century. It is fascinating to think that somewhere closeby there may have been a monastic building - a challenge for Timeteam perhaps!
The Spring border This raised rockery bed is always the first to come into flower in the Spring. You can find creeping comfrey, lungwort and sweet violets pushing up through the late March snow. Cuckooflower and carpets of alpine bulbs follow in April gracing this border with their delicate blooms. In early May you will be enthralled by the old fashioned scented roses as they burst into a riot of colour and fragrance
The Sensory garden Is designed to stimulate all the senses. This area has raised beds and wide paths to give easy wheelchair access. You will find features such as windchimes, bubbling water, statues, pebbles and logs mingling with the plants that have been specifically chosen for their sensory interest.. there are the bright, bold colours of marigolds, cornflowers and poppies, the rustling of bamboo, quaking grass and yellow rattle. Spiky houseleeks, prickly teasel seedheads and soft downy lambs ear. The scent of roses, lavender and honeysuckle and the taste of rosemary, chives and marjoram.
The Culinary border Pot or (salad) herbs have been used throughout the ages to enhance the flavour of staple foods. Herbs can also aid digestion and stimulate jaded appetites. This is a mature border containing many of these established edible herbs including angelica, cardoon, mint, rosemary, tansy, fennel and tarragon with seasonal additions of basil, dill, nasturtiums and summer savory.
The Medicinal border Many of the historical healing herbs of folklore can be found in this bed. Good King Henry (Medieval) is known medicinally as English Mercury and the proverb 'Be thou sick or whole, put mercury in thy koole' refers to the plants remedial qualities with indigestion. Smearwort refers to its use as an ointment, poultices made from the leaves cleansed and healed chronic sores. Elecampane (Roman)is mainly used to treat coughs, consumption and other pulmonary complaints and was traditionally used as a home remedy for bronchitis. Garlic (Egyptian) is a diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant and stimulant. This wonderful bulb has been attributed with manifold healing powers in many cultures throughout history. It is also said to have healed leprosy and protected against the plague.
The long Collection bed You can find our National collection of Nepeta (spp) in this long bed just outside the walled garden. The Origanum is currently on display by the large Wisteria and the Mentha collection with 104 varieties is kept separately in pots on a raised gravel bed because as you know, mints are far too rampant to be let loose in a bed by themselves!
GARDEN OPENING 2013
The gardens are open to visitors free of charge between Easter and September.
There is good disabled access with ramps and level paths. A toilet for disabled visitors, use of wheelchairs on request, plenty of seating in the gardens.