The Secret Gardens of Sandwich
The Secret Gardens of Sandwich
A hidden delight in the heart of historic Sandwich, the Secret Gardens surround a lovely Grade-I listed Georgian-style manor house beside the River Stour, and almost enclosed within the ancient city walls.

The gardens were a collaborative project of Sir Edward Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll, two of the most influential early 20th-century figures in English architecture and gardening, respectively.

The team of Lutyens and Jekyll were responsible for developing a style known as the English Country Garden; a move away from the formality of Victorian gardens to a more informal design featuring a much wider variety of plants.

In 1911/12 Lutyens laid out 3.5 acres of gardens around the house he designed for William, Gaspard and Henry Farrer. Though we are not certain what Jekyll's role was in the creation of the garden, the layout shows her influence.

After many years of neglect, the gardens have undergone a programme of restoration and replanting, bringing them back to something approaching their original state. A new Tropical Border features more exotic or tender plants that Lutyens and Jekyll would not have considered for use in 1911 due to the colder climate at that point.

One unique feature is a Wollemi pine tree, an extremely rare plant which may date as far back as the Jurassic period. The Wollemi is part of a worldwide conservation effort to ensure that it does not die out completely.

The garden is composed of distinct 'rooms', each with its own distinct character and planting pattern. A small lake with an island in the middle is a relatively new addition. Further areas include a rose garden, yellow and white gardens, Winter and Spring gardens, woodland garden, terraced walks, and perennial borders.