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    Spring at Gravetye Manor

    26th March 2014Places to VisitStephanie Donaldson

    tulips on display at Gravetye
    Back when I was a young stripling, I worked at Ingwersen’s Alpine Nursery (sadly no longer) which was next door to Gravetye Manor. Gravetye was the home of the famous plantsman William Robinson in the late 19th and early 20th century and he laid out a wonderful garden following his principles of naturalistic planting. The house became a hotel after his death, but for many years the garden went into decline. Nevertheless our foreman at the nursery used to walk us over to the garden to see the many fine plants that survived, so it has always been a place that means a lot to me. The good news is that in recent years new owners have set about restoring the garden as a suitable setting for their discreetly luxurious hotel. The head gardener Tom Coward came to Gravetye from Great Dixter and he is well on the way to restoring the garden to its former Robinsonian glory. I was invited along to one of their Garden Lunches – starting with a tour of the garden with Tom followed by a delicious lunch. These are regular events and there are other events hosted by garden luminaries – Roy Lancaster in April and Dan Pearson in May. www.gravetyemanor.co.uk
    Among the highlights of my recent visit were:

    mixed bulbs in pot

    the beautifully planted containers around the house

    flowers bursting into life in this terracotta pot

    swathes of daffodils

    the carpets of daffodils in the wild garden

    Leucojum ‘Gravetye Giant’

    the drifts of Leucojum ‘Gravetye Giant’

    carved date and initials in the walled garden built by William Robinson

    the carved date and initials in the walled garden built by William Robinson

    coldframes fully open

    the wonderfully restored Foster & Pearson coldframes with levers to open the ridge for ventilation

    plants under the protection of a coldframe

    This combination of yellow roscoea and blue scilla in one of the borders looks great

    the combination of yellow roscoea and blue scilla in one of the borders

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