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


Sara at Come Away With Me said...

He (Tom) is a very enterprising guy. What an interesting idea to have a garden like this.

Terri said...

How interesting! The plants you showed are very exotic. Are there identification stakes for the plants? I always like to know the names.
Here in CA the government is all about keeping out the exotic... even from other states. We only recognize "pure bloods", I guess. I say, grow it all. You never know when a whole species (like elm) will get a disease and die off, and then you go missing shade and the beauty of trees.
Love that the owners interact at this home. Nice people.
Love your new facebook face. So sweet.

Vee said...

Tom has a lot of grit and plenty of gumption. Very interesting to see this estate with its beauty and the world garden. An interesting history. Hope that they are able to carry on.

Elizabethd said...

We have watched several of THD's programmes and been very impressed with his knowledge and ideas.

Patsy said...

Now that you are on facebook hope you will not forget us (that) just blog. I would miss your post very much.

La Petite Gallery said...

Barbara, Thanks for this post. I have never seen that wine colored plant. Very strange looking, like a passion flower.

Balisha said...

What an interesting visit. So many things to look at. Thanks for the very wonderful tour.

Sigrun said...

Barbara, wonderful! Thanks for the impressions. I have not heard from this Castle! Such a nice building.


Gracie Saylor said...

When I first glanced at the castle it reminded me of the pictures I have seen of Tattershall Castle in Lincolnshire, but on closer inspection I realized how different it is. Thanks for taking the time to introduce me to another castle and a fascinating garden, Barbara I am all proud of myself for planting some nasturtium seeds with my daughters and grands the other day, but my mind boggles in appreciation of the effort it has taken/takes to create the garden you are showing us!

Bishop Stone said...

What a fantastic garden and how exciting t see a manfern from little old Tasmania. makes me feel right at home.

Diane at My Cottage Garden said...

Thanks for the wonderful tour!

Annie Jeffries said...

I am firmly of the opinion that no one, absolutely NO ONE does a garden like the British. Can't wait to see more of this.

POIROT said...

We watched a Japanese TV programme about the National Garden Scheme in UK four years ago, and Tom's experience in Africa and his world garden was introduced.
His enthusiasm for gardening is so great.

I have found several plants in Japan in your photographs.