While I was touring homes and gardens of the National Trust and National Garden Scheme this year, there were also two independent gardens that were recommended to me by my hostess at the Potting Shed. One was Pashley Manor near Ticehurst in Sussex. One afternoon we made our way there………
The land was owned by the family of Passelewe or Passele, a prominent family in medieval times. Simon Passelewe held many judicial posts including that of Justice of the Jews in the reign of Henry III, but his prominent role was extorting money from religious houses on behalf of the king. Sir Edmund de Passele, in 1317, built a hunting lodge on an island that fills the greater part of the largest of three ponds. On his death it took twenty years to solve the dispute over his property because two wives claimed his inheritance and one was willing to murder in order to keep the inheritance for herself and the children. During the War of the Roses, around 1454, Sir Geoffrey Bulleyn, great-grandfather of Ann Bulleyn, a prosperous merchant and Lord Mayor of London, bought the property. The property consisted of 600 acres of land, a garden, watermill and an iron furnace.
Then over the next several hundred years the property changed hands many times and in 1922 Dr Hollist sold the estate and it sat vacant up to 1945, when it was occupied by troops and families escaping the bombings of London, for brief periods of time during the war.
The present owner bought Pashley Manor in 1945, as it was, then described as a haunted house. In 1950 going from the Grimm’s sketches of the manor from 1780, that were found in the Burrell Collection at the British Museum, the family was encouraged to restore the manor to it’s original closely timbered look from the early seventeenth century. The ivy on the house, was held in place by thick wire, and was a foot thick, but seemed to be a protective layer against the weather, and the boarding underneath was well preserved. The original color of the house was a hot shade of ochre yellow with dark brown trim! Even the brickwork was washed over in a dingy yellow, but now over the years most of the bricks have faded to a warm red. The wash that was placed over the hot yellow ochre turned the house into a soft shade of pink and I found it quite striking! It is the first thing that gets your attention as you enter the long driveway to the house and gardens!
The first sculpture as you enter the garden is His Eminence from Pisa!
We were soon to discover this is no ordinary garden! This garden shows off beautiful sculptures as well, from April through September. Twenty-three artists offer one hundred and thirty pieces of their artwork for viewing throughout the garden, and they are for sale also! Each piece is marked with a sign from the designer. Oh my, we are in for a treat! Let’s go in!
The garden was meticulous! The flowers breathtaking, so let’s just wonder!
There are the formal gardens, the rolling countryside and three ponds to wonder about!
Each piece of artwork was in a perfect spot in the garden to show it off!
I liked the use of twigs to make a fencing and to support the plants.
There is also a fine restaurant on the premises as well as a gift shop!
Without a doubt my favorite flower was this one!
There were sculptures everywhere!
This was my favorite groundcover, saxifragis x urbium. It is called “London Pride,” and has been grown along garden paths since the 1700’s. It has a fragile, spiky, soft pink flower in spring. Many of the elderly folks are drawn to this plant because they are reminded of their time in the war and Noël Coward’s song, by the same name, recorded during the Blitz. Cuttings from this plant quickly re-colonized at bomb sites and reminded Londeners that they too could re-build and move forward! Listen to it Here! Do any of you remember it? The video and music is a tear jerker!
There is so much to see and admire in this garden. We’ll be back tomorrow! See you in the garden!
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Beautiful. I must visit it sometime
Pashley Manor was not even on my radar as places to visit. Our hosts in Benenden suggested it as a must see and they were so right!
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Those that tourists know little about are usually the better discoveries.