I don’t know how many visitors to Chichester Cathedral know about this oasis tucked away between the Cathedral and the ring road behind. I say that because we were asked twice by people during our visit whether ‘they’ were allowed to come in too.
And that, of course, is part of the charm. The garden has been beautifully – and un-councilly – designed, with private bits and wild bits and bits overflowing with goodness.
Everywhere we turned, we saw people having conversations that made me long to sit down on the bench with them and join in.
Or others I wanted just to ask what they were thinking about.
Luckily then, perhaps, we were on a mission. We’d joined Emma Baynes for one of her popular herb walks around the gardens. Emma’s a herbalist and all-round fount of herb knowledge. Here she is identifying plants for us (despite competition from the hen party behind, I think we won on the hat front)….
… and also she pointed out one of the treasures of the gardens – the Gingko Biloba tree – which several of our party admitted they never knew was there …
But on a private note, another treasure in the garden is this bench…
… that we put up for my parents – Reg and Elizabeth Peplow – and dated for their joint birthday, 22nd June. We liked to think of people walking by and wondering why that date. When I was small, I always thought all parents had to be born on the same day!
Appropriate really because, of course, Chichester Cathedral is home to the famous Arundel Tomb, which inspired Philip Larkin’s poem concluding with the beautiful line, ‘Our almost-instinct almost true:/ What will survive of us is love.’ Here he is, reading it:
By the way, if you carry round the back of the Cathedral into town..
.. you will find the wonderfully named Vicars’ Close, and get a peek at some perfect private gardens too. You can almost imagine yourself in a Joanna Trollope novel!