Although I’m slightly horrified to realise that it’s SIX YEARS since I first wrote about The Salutation Gardens in Sandwich, Kent, it was a pleasure to go back and see them in all their spring glory. Look at the tulips in the bottom corner…
Then, of course, they were called the Secret Gardens, but I guess now that their owners, Dominic and Stephanie Parker are now television stars, then it’s not so secret now.
Still lovely though, and surprisingly peaceful.
And I still love how the house was first built by Edwin Lutyens in 1910 for three brothers who all had asthma. The story goes that it was deliberately built to be near the gas works because the fumes were then thought to be good for breathing! Here’s the poem I wrote at the time of my first visit…
You’d be sure to notice the gasworks first,
worry how close the garden sits
until you learn this is why it was built,
three asthmatic brothers filling
their lungs with seasalt and gas fumes:
the latest thing in London, Lutyens
also. You imagine three garden chairs
lined up to face the smoking chimneys,
a sound of gasping like bad static
waiting to be tuned while, from over the sea
the smooth sounds of orchestras playing,
tea cups clinking in peaceful pre-war courtyards,
and so many farewells hang in the balance,
tears ready to mist on cheeks, and still
the brothers struggle to catch their breath.
And actually those tulips above are wasted, let’s have another closer look at them… hello there, beautiful! How many estates would you have cost back in the day?
You can find out about visiting times for the Salutation Gardens on the website by clicking here.