Charleston farmhouse is situated in the South Downs in Sussex and was the home of artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant from 1916 until 1978, as well as being the country meeting place of the Bloomsbury group.The walled garden at Charleston was created by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant to the designs of the artist Roger Fry. The small garden slopes down from the side of the house, and as you enter, you become quickly immersed in the dense planting of the garden. At every turn of the narrow gravel path, there is something to delight the senses, a small classical sculpture, a mosaic pavement, a vibrant bed of Dahlias, a tile edged pool, a fruiting apple tree, each drawing you further into the garden.What I love most about this garden is the combination of colours and and the discovery of the unexpected as you wander through. It really does feel as though it has been created by artists, with every element carefully planned, and each vista a work of art in itself.Dress: Vintage Catherine Walker; Shoes: Vintage Carvela at Kurt GeigerPhotographed at CharlestonPhotography: Sarah Bray
Magnolia Sargentiana var robusta Chenault
Magnolia Sargentiana was named after Charles Sargent, the Director of the Arnold Arboretum. It was discovered by Ernest Wilson in 1903 in the hamlet of Yin-Kou, in the western Sechuan province of China. On a second expedition in 1908 Wilson collected the seeds of this variety, Magnolia Sargentiana var robusta. Magnolia Sargentiana var robusta Chenault at High Beeches Gardens was blown over in the great storm of 1987. It still flowers every year, and looks absolutely spectacular in early April.
Dress: Vintage Murray Arbeid; Shoes: Office.Photographed by: Sarah Bray & Emily BrayPhotographed at: High Beeches Garden
There are many different gardens hidden away in Battersea Park, each with it's own particular history. The recently developed Winter Garden has a wide variety of trees, shrubs and perennials, the Old English Garden tucked away by the cricket pavilion, the charming Rose Garden, the restored Russell Page Garden and the Sub-Tropical Garden. The Park has over 4,000 trees, many of which date back to the original layout in 1858 - Tom Maxwell has created an informative guide to the trees. It is a lovely place for an afternoon roam away from the city bustle, and there is much to discover.
The landscape designer Russell Page's original Festival Gardens were designed for the 1951 Festival of Britain. A green lawn and colourful flower beds were surrounded by a children's zoo, model railway and a funfair. Twenty thousand yellow tulips along with raised beds of crimson and pink floribunda roses were planted and regularly changed from spring bulbs to summer bedding. The Festival Gardens were restored in 2004.
The Sub-Tropical Garden was originally created by John Gibson in 1863 and were the first of this kind in the country. Gibson had been sent to India by the Duke of Devonshire to hunt for orchids and his journey took him via Madeira and South Africa. Using the plants he brought back from this trip, he created a unique garden at Battersea, made up of exotic plants and colourful 'carpet' bedding. During World War II much of the park became allotments to help feed local people, however in 1992 a palm tree was once again planted in this area, and they were restored to the original plans in 1992.
Photography: Rhiannon Ryder
Photographed at Battersea Park, London.
Borde Hill Garden in West Sussex was created in the 1900s and surrounds a striking Tudor Mansion built in 1598. The garden is perfect for an afternoon stroll with each area of the garden designed in a unique style.
The Rose Garden
The Rose Garden close to the house is particularly attractive at this time of year, boasting over 100 varieties of David Austin roses which sit prettily alongside the blue nepeta.
The Italian Garden
The peaceful Italian Garden is perfect for quiet reflection. The formal lay-out, with a pool at the centre surrounded by pots of agapanthus and geraniums is offset by a view out over the surrounding countryside.
The Round Dell
The Round Dell really is sub-tropical, with bananas and towering palm trees, perfect to lose yourself in for a few moments although rather a relief once you emerge and realise you are not lost in the rainforest but rather a garden in the Sussex countryside.Dress: Mela Love London; Hat: Vintage Herald and Heart; Shoes: JuJu.Photography: Sarah BrayPhotographed at Borde Hill Garden