Friday, 21 June 2013

Marle Place Gardens in Kent

One day this week, after a lovely pub lunch with my husband ( a rare treat), we took ourselves off to Marle Place Gardens in Brenchley, Kent, just a few lanes away from where we live.

Despite having lived here for nearly three years, it's the first time we've visited.
Isn't that just the way - we tend to not always go to what is right on our doorstep!

Using our "two for one" card from the BBC Gardener's World magazine, we only paid £6 entry.

We were amazed and delighted by the beautiful gardens and woodlands, and having the place virtually to ourselves ( we didn't come across any other visitors for over an hour!) we were able to pretend it was all ours, and to try to imagine what it must be like to live somewhere as gracious and beautiful as here.

Warning - lots of photos!!!!!

At the start of the garden tour, there is a place for sitting and enjoying morning coffee or afternoon tea during your visit - but do take cash (no cards accepted ) for entry, the tearoom, plant sales and quaint shop!

There is also an art gallery with works of art for sale.

Then on to the gardens! 

Cistus - one of my favourite plants for the garden, being beautiful, reliable and evergreen.



There are statues and works of art throughout the gardens in unexpected places


love this unusual gorgeous palest blue double Aquilegia (also known as Columbine or Granny's Bonnet)




you can cross a bridge and walk through the woods and orchards surrounding the gardens, then come back again over a grass bridge

these were the only "people" we saw in the first give you some idea of scale, they were taller than  me


beautiful vistas

an unusual and very personal bench to commemorate a birthday



just loved these beautiful primulas..... the oranges, pinks and peach colours were glorious


the gardens have  a very friendly and homely feel to them (look at that lovely swing!), and there is a small sand pit and child sized seats in the woodland areas of the grounds - you can picnic in the areas of long grass and woodlands

can just imagine tea (or drinks!) on the terrace under the wisteria - how wonderful to have grown up in a house like this!

The house is a c17th Jacobean house, but not open to the public, and has the classic timber construction and traditional Kent peg tiles of this area.

surrounding the glorious main sweep of lawn were several gardens within gardens, like rooms off a grand hall.

The Italianate garden was one of them.

In this garden there is a plaque in memory of Phyllis McEwan, wife of Victor Canning, a prolific writer of novels and thillers in the 50s,60s and 70s. After his success with The Golden Salamander, made into a film starring Trevor Howard, he bought Marle Place and lived here for 20 years. His daughter still lives here (according to wikipedia).

 unusual works of art

Leaving the Italianate garden up these steps and arches, you step into the swimming pool garden.

and then up the steps for a game of croquet!

an unusual gazebo with gorgeous stained glass windows and mosaic tiled floor, seats to sit on,
the croquet mallets are stored in here, as well as an amazing technicolour boat shaped kite (at least I think that's what it was!)

anyone for tennis?
just off the main sweep of lawn on the other side from the pool, is the grass tennis court.

Yes, I really could live here....................with family and friends around, morning coffee on the terrace, a stroll around the gardens, a leisurely game of tennis...maybe a swim in the pool to cool off before lunch. Lunch on the terrace, a game of croquet, tea on the lawn in the shade of the enormous tree with the swing, then more tennis........cocktails, a dinner party..........

this "room" near the tennis court was a surprise ......... amazing mosaic terrace and steps leading up to a pretty gate (which I think went into the tennis court...)

made from old china plates, ornaments and tiles by the looks of it

the beautiful mosaic garden was one of my favourite parts of the gardens

a yellow bench on which to sit to admire it


Pretty red gates! To keep the rabbits and foxes out I presume - both veggies and hens within!

 large, enclosed kitchen gardens and potager

a beautifully restored greenhouse

containing a collection of Orchids

vintage watering cans................

.......and then the battery of my camera ran out! ( Thank Heavens, I hear you cry.........!)

Still, I took so many photos ( of which you have seen quite a few - well done if you made it this far! ) and I know we'll go back often now we know how beautiful it is.

Thankyou for bearing with me!

If you are in the area, or if you live within an hour or so's drive, it is well worth a visit - the pubs in Matfield and Brenchley nearby are good for lunch too!

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