|Rudyard Kiplings "perfect" home, Bateman's, overlooks a tranquil English garden in East Sussex|
The days are getting longer and there are many more gardens waking up for spring now. East Sussex has some of the most glorious gardens in England and many are clustered so close together that you are spoiled for choice for garden visits! Start off with Bateman's, one-time home of Rudyard Kipling, who bought the house in 1902 and remained here until his death in 1936. The 17th century house was his idea of a "perfect" home and he created a garden here that continues to draw visitors more than a century later. His wife Carrie survived him and she bequeathed the property to the National Trust in 1939.
|The Water Garden at Merriments, East Sussex|
Just around the corner, you'll find Merriments Garden - an absolute plantsman's paradise if you're seeking inspiration for your own garden. This four-acre garden has been developed over the last 20 years by the current owners and has some of the finest herbaceous borders in the country, organised by colour and theme. There's a Water Garden (above), a gravel garden, wild area, "hot" and "cold" borders, bridges, sheds and seating everywhere. This is a truly wonderful nursery showcase that you can enjoy at leisure, but be warned, you'll be hard-pressed to get out of here without a trunk load of plants!
|Merriments is a nursery "showcase" that gives inspiration to gardeners all over the south of England|
Move on from here to Pashley Manor - this garden is one of the finest in Britain, especially when the tulips are blooming, or indeed, the roses. The current owners have spent the last two decades developing this glorious garden, which sits on the East Sussex/Kent border. One of the first gardens to offer a Tulip Festival in Britain, this annual event, which takes place from 27th April - 8th May this year, draws thousands of visitors.
|The ancient timber-framed Manor House at Pashley|
For details of other English gardens holding Tulip Festivals this year, check their websites, but notable displays can be found at:
Abbey Gardens, Gloucestershire - mid-April to mid-May
Alnwick Garden, Northumberland - 30th April - 7th May
Chatsworth, Derbyshire - 6th - 10th May
Chenies Manor, Buckinghamshire - mid-April to mid-May
Dyhram Park, Gloucestershire - 1st - 30th April
Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - 23rd April - 2nd May
Pashley Manor, East Sussex - 27th April - 8th May
Stourhead, Wiltshire - 25th April - 8th May
Waddesden Manor, Buckinghamshire - 16th April - 2nd May
This is the first of several Galloping Gardener Walks © in East Sussex. You can also visit West Sussex spring gardens and find spectacular colour displays in Cornwall at this time of year.