Tales from the City- A day in heaven- The English Garden- Chartwell Kent.

Photograph of Winston Churchill's Great Chair by susan sheldon nolenLast week was  National Gardening Week in the UK. I love gardening, rather I should say I love other people’s gardens. When it comes to digging in the muck, weeding, well….you’ll find me sipping a cup of tea, just out of earshot, reading a book about great gardens.

Photograph of chartwell kent and churchill's studio by susan sheldon nolen
A view from a side door of Chartwell with Churchill’s painting studio in view and the Weald of Kent

Luckily in England we have some marvellous gardens that are open to the public. One that I fell in love with was the gardens at Chartwell, the home of Sir Winston Churchill. I had wanted to photograph the inside of the house, but due to copy right restrictions only the stunning garden was fair game. It is a magnificent house and one that kept Churchill writing like mad to pay the bills.

Photograph of Sir Winston Churchill's painting studio by susan sheldon nolen

Churchill’s Painting Studio and just below, one of Kent’s famous Oast Houses

Towards the end of his life he could no longer afford the house and a group of business men came together, and as a gift from a grateful nation, allowed him to live in the house until his death when it then became a national treasure. The house and gardens are now in care of The National Trust.  The house has a museum in it and I was surprised to learn this was not an after death attempt to gain funds, but this is something Churchill himself envisioned.

Photograph of a gardening can at Chartwell Kent by Susan sheldon Nolen

Watering Can in the Chartwell Vegetable Garden

The gardens need a good day to spend wandering about. There is Lady Churchill’s Rose garden, a herb garden, breathtaking meadows, a swimming pool to wander down to and dream of hot summer nights, the grounds around Churchill’s studio, I can’t stop marvelling at the massive vegetable garden and its wonderful chickens. It’s a lot to take in properly in one day, not to mention the amazing tour of the house. I could have spent all day in the house alone, there was so much to see.

Photograph of a formal hedge at Chartwell Kent by susan sheldon nolen

Formal Hedges leading up to a garden bench to take in the wonderful views of Chartwell’s Gardens

Go for a stroll, then come back and have some tea, find another spot to sit and relax.  What I loved about the grounds, is the variety,  there is the wild ferns that contrast with the formal rose garden, or the neatly organised organic vegetable gardens competing for your time with the wild meadows with bees humming in the wild flowers. You really are spoilt for choice.

ferns photographed by susan sheldon nolen

The grounds took so much time, I wish I had brought a flask of tea along, as the tea shop was long closed when it was my time to say goodbye to Chartwell.

Photograph of the gardens at Chartwell Kent by susan sheldon nolen

I hope to get out to another sort of garden at Lullingstone Castle and take some photographs to show you The World Garden that Tom Hart Dyke has worked so hard at. It’s an amazing garden, but in the meanwhile, I leave you with a very curious chicken wondering why I was crouching down on the ground and not scratching for an earthworm!

photograph of chartwell's chickens by susan sheldon nolen


About susan sheldon nolen

It’s rare to catch me without coffee, a form of camera, or my beloved wire fox terriers. I love the history, the art, and it’s a massive part of my life, as I either paint, write, or get interrupted by my dogs, reminding me of the real world. I hope you enjoy your time here. It’s such a privilege to have readers.
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