Since I am now living on the other side of the world to my family and most of my friends this blog is about things I enjoy, things I notice, people I meet, people I miss, history, planning for the future, love and life in general! I guess it's about whatever pops into my head which I want to share with my friends and family... and who knows? I might make some more friends along the way!

05 October, 2008

Being the guest of Lord Sackville, of Knole

I am so privileged to have been the guest of Lord Sackville, of Knole, Sevenoaks, and allowed to wander in his garden for some time this Wednesday, last.

OK, that sounds good, but in fact I was not the only one, and all I had to do was produce my National Trust membership! (Thank you once again, Mum!) On each Wednesday of the ‘open house season’ Lord Sackville very kindly allows the National Trust to open up his private gardens, and I was thrilled to visit on a day that was not only sunny (in patches) but had brooding, black clouds hovering the whole time! This is the beautiful kind of weather, typical of spring and autumn, which I love to take photographs in, and so I did!
I had such a lovely time wandering through the garden via the many paths that criss-cross and wind their way from formal and open areas, to herbaceous borders to the wilderness section of the garden with its many different varieties of oaks… there was even a eucalypt! The wilderness section was possibly the first of it’s kind in England, and was started in Tudor times by a previous Lord Sackville, and is mentioned in the diaries of Lady Anne Clifford, who was one time Lady Sackville, and was also the heir to Skipton Castle in Yorkshire. I actually read her diaries many years ago, never dreaming that I would, one day, wander in her wilderness for myself! One of the things that makes this place so magical to me, is that whilst being a remarkable grand house, really on the scale of a palace, it is also a family home. There was evidence in the vast gardens with the tennis courts, swimming pool (covered for the cooler season, and probably for the safety of small children) and the small see-saw just outside one of the doors, near a vast area of lawn! It was almost exactly like one which the children I nannied for 7 years had in their play room, and I thought how similar children’s taste in play things is the world over!
I kept coming across the house from different angles, all of which were impossible to view from without the Medieval garden walls. The sun kept peeping through the dark, clouds and the sky was stunning! I was thinking “this is a jigsaw puzzle photograph!” Just inside the gate, where visitors enter and exit and private gardens, is the herb garden. I loved the way it was laid out, in a wheel-like formation, with a cherub statue in the centre, and different species of herbs of many varieties both within the the ‘wheel’ and around the edges of the garden, which is enclosed by a hedge. It was fragrant and pretty!
Knole seems to have some kind of magic to it… I am drawn to this place, again and again! When I first saw photographs of it I thought it looked grey and dull, and nothing near as exciting as nearby Ightam Mote, but each time I visit I am amazed to discover something new about the house, the park, the history and the magic of the place! The surrounding park, in case I failed to mention, is the oldest existing deer park in England! The deer are so beautiful too, and although still officially wild, some of them will let you get quite close.
I suspect I shall keep returning to this ancient seat of the Sackville family many more times whilst living in Kent. I also suspect this shalln't be the last blog I write on the subject! It’s a topic that is already very dear to my heart!

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