Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Lullingstone Castle Castle & the World Garden Pt. 3

The Church of St. Botolph

The church you see at Lullingstone Castle today - dedicated to the seventh century Saxon abbot St. Botolph - is of Norman origin and has Norman foundations clearly visible on  it's Southern side.
However it is believed that the church replaced an even earlier Saxon one. Earlier still is the site of the Roman Christian 'House Church' at Lullingstone Roman Villa, which dates from around 
380 AD. (written about in a previous post on Lullingstone Castle - see 'labels') 
Taken together, these three sites of worship suggest that Lullingstone may have he longest continuous history of Christian worship in Britain. 

These family churches always hold much history and of cause they wee burial places

Do check part 1 of this set of posts for more information

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Lullingstone Castle & World Garden Pt.2

Now into the Poly tunnels for the less hardy plants from around the world. See previous post for details. 

The Cloud Garden is a temperate house and is home to some 500 beauties from around the world that are too tender to be out in the World Garden during the Winter
There is an Electric Shock plant in here

One of Tom's propagation benches 

Interesting to see the artistic designs depicting scenes from the natural habitats of these plants

Making our way back towards the World Garden

and will be taking some pictures of the family chapel which I will show in part 3
I am presenting this set of posts quickly as we are going on holiday - a lovely free break in return for cat sitting for a week and will be adding considerably to my photo portfolio and I am aware that I still have lots to post on blog yet.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Lullingstone Castle and The World garden, Pt. 1

These first three photos are scanned from the Castle Guide book
A little bit of history and then I will be concentrating on the garden
Photographs were not allowed in the house
I will need at least 3 postings to cover this visit
It was 2012 when we visited
Set within 120 acres of beautiful Kent countryside, Lullingstone Castle is one of England's oldest family estates, dating back to the time of Domesday, 1086.
The present manor and gatehouse were built in 1497 and have been home to the same family ever since.
Both King Henry VIII and Queen Anne are known to have been regular visitors 

Here we see the Hart Dyke family
 Guy on the far left, along with his Father had never expected to inherit, both being second sons.
There was so little to reap after death duties had taken their toll. With the benefit from an income of a not inconsiderable estate, his Father resorted to converting the House and Gatehouse into apartments, the rent being used to help pay the high maintenance costs.
Guy along with his wife Sarah, with a certain amount of apprehension, took up the challenge in 1976, the year their son Tom (second left) was born. The birth of their daughter, Anya followed in 1978. By then the house and garden were open to the public in the Summer months.

More recently, a strange and at first a distressing run of events has meant that visitors to the estate has increased in number tenfold.
Their son Tom (and this made national and international news at the time) suffered the ordeal of being held captive for nine months by guerillas in the rain forests of central America.
On his release and return to Lullingstone and after a period of rest and recuperation, he set about creating the World Garden.
It is very probable without the world garden, Lullingstone's future would have been bleak. 

Here we see the house, 15 acre lake, family church and world garden in it's infancy from the air

We spent some time chatting with Tom about his ordeal and interest in plants from around the world, sitting in his day retreat.
A large wooden shed in his garden where he spent the day. Fitted out with a tiny cooker and day bed etc he was able to spend time with visitors and gardeners alike.
This is a family that appreciates its visitors and it was interesting to chat about some of the history with Tom's Father in the hall whilst waiting to enter the house.

Looking back at the Gatehouse

No restaurant (this is a family home) but lunch of sandwich and cake in a tent

Will now take you round some of the outdoor garden where there are 8,000 plant species, planted in their respective countries of origin. This was the vision of the modern day plant hunter, Tom Hart Dyke. Almost 80% of the plants grown here are not native to this country. He began in 2005 and I took these pictures in 2012. 

The beds are set out as near as possible to the shape of the various countries

A minature world rockery

There are still the hot houses to come and the interesting church