The secret gardens of sandwich
Nestled in the ancient town of Sandwich, a mere 12 miles from Canterbury, is the beautiful country house, The Salutation. As stunning as the house is, the real gem is its rare and wonderful gardens. The original design was a dream made reality by leading 20th century English architect Edwin Lutyens, famed for imaginatively adapting traditional architectural styles to the designs of his era. It is believed that he worked on this project with his famous gardening partner Gertrude Jekyll, an influential British garden designer, writer and artist. Together they designed and built the 3.5 acres of garden to perfection.
For over 25 years these ornamental gardens remained Kent’s best kept secret and were almost lost forever to wilderness. Reportedly over 70 per cent of the estates’ plant species had been lost, that is until the new owners and occupants Dominic and Stephanie Parker appointed Steve Edney as Head Gardener along with a dedicated and talented gardening team. Edney and the team followed a two-year intense re-planting and restoration programme. In May 2007 the gardens were returned to their former glory and shared with the public.
The current itv series, ‘Country Lives’ recently showcased The Secret Gardens, illustrating its national appeal. Presenter Chris Beardshaw handpicked the Kent Gardens to feature in the programme and described it as a ‘wakened sleeping beauty’.
The House is a private residence, but the Gardens remain open to the public year round so as not to deprive visitors of the spectacular beauty they hold and the peaceful haven they provide no matter the season, whatever the weather.
The Gardens also boast a fabulous new addition of the ‘Tea Rooms’ in the Gate House, modeled on The Savoy Hotel, which serves traditional English refreshments, tea, coffee, soft drinks, light lunches, cream teas and homemade cakes.
Whether visiting for the whole day, for the early bird hours or just for afternoon tea and a stroll guests are never disappointed! They leave feeling relaxed, refreshed and truly amazed by the beauty of nature.