The Garden

The garden was taken over by the National Trust in 1986 upon the death of Ralph (pronounced Raef) Dutton. Ralph the garden and the house were of the 20th century and the garden is one of the best examples of that era.

His vision was for the House and Garden to sit comfortably within the surrounding park and estate without having the appearance of it being an afterthought. No mean feat considering that, unusually for a Country House, it sits on a chalk ridge.

He was a frequent visitor to Sissinghurst (He was at University with Edward Sackville West) and took inspiration from what was happenning there as he did from his friend Harold Hillier.

By his own admission Ralph Dutton was no plantsman but he new what he liked, Lilac, Luburnum and Philadelphus, for example and with the help of his friends he brought great variety into the garden - we will continue to do so.

A garden is a growing living thing - plants die and have to be replaced - but because Ralph and the garden were part of the last century, it is that period that we wish to preserve.

That is not to say that we will not plant new and possibly improved varieties of Philadephus along the Philadelphus walk or newly discovered varieties of Salvia in the terrace border or sunken garden - we will. This is all part of a living, thriving garden. Ralph would have done this, but we will keep the main structure and ambiance of the garden intact.

Changes may have to be made, because of the large numbers of visitors we have to the garden, who cause wear and tear, particularly on the grass paths, for which they were never designed.