Ralph Dutton's Garden

Apart from two years at University and a period working at the Foreign Office in the Second World War Ralph spent the whole of his life here transforming the open park around the house into a formal 12 acre garden.

For some years after he came back from University in the early twenties he continually pestered his father to let him improve the garden. Finally succeeding he started with a Rose Garden, for his mother, on the site of what is now the Yew Garden also improving some of the land to the east incorporating the path edged with 10 Irish Yews and a vista across the iron gates to Acer trees across the park. In this first garden you can see Ralph testing his ideas and vision in ways that were incorporated, on a larger scale, elsewhere at a later date.

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