Birdsong greets me together with the sweet smell of the dawn summer rain lingering in the air; chickens run freely – one accompanying me as I take the rose walk through the orchard where old roses scramble freely over the trees and wind their way over low, metalwork arches (you have to duck under them giving the bonus of seeing the roses at eye level and capturing their glorious scent).  Baby moorhens dart back under a forest of gunnera leaves as I pass the Wild Pond. The garden at  King John’s Lodge, some 8 beautiful acres, plus parkland beyond complete with sheep grazing, offers such a tranquil atmosphere:  I relax, start to breathe more deeply and walk more slowly as the outside world recedes into the background leaving a feeling of complete immersion in the glorious sights and sounds which this garden offers.

Successional planting has been used to great effect everywhere in the garden with different areas taking turns to be the star performer at different times of the year.  Silver and variegated leaves bring light into shady areas, hardy geraniums are widely used together with fennels and hesperis, as are silvery-leaved hebes with white flowers.  A dusky purple clematis weaves through a magnolia tree and bright blue clematis up the ancient walls of the house.  Ancient yew hedging offers a stately backdrop to the more formal area of the garden in front of the house with both long, herbaceous borders and a circular sundial garden.  Alchemilla spills out of the cracks in the stone flags in front of the house.  The secret garden around the pond is surrounded in early spring by gorgeous candelabra primulae at the water’s edge, interrupted by clumps of Arum lilies.  This is a stunning, privately-owned garden, tucked away down a country lane in the depths of the Sussex countryside – a joy to discover!

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