My name is Sarah Salway, and I am the author of three novels, two collections of short stories (one a collaboration) and a poetry collection.
When I was made Canterbury Laureate in October 2011, I had already started to turn my passion for garden history into my first non-fiction book about people who had made themselves bankrupt through the gardens, but it soon became clear that I could either spend the next year researching in libraries or I could visit Canterbury as often as possible. And I thought the latter was probably politic, and also lucky as Canterbury – and Kent – is possibly one of my favourite places ever.
So I made my Laureate project, a tour – albeit an idiosyncratic literary tour – of gardens in Kent. I had envisaged sunny days writing beautiful lines in the welcome shade of trees. However, let’s be honest – the summer of 2012 has been more about wellies than sunhats.
At each garden I visited – and I’ve covered more than 30 so far – I have taken photographs, filled journals with notes and above all, listened to stories. I’ve written them too. This website is an account of my creative process with some of the finished pieces. It will be regularly updated with different gardens around England so please suggest your favourite gardens for me to visit. My only rule is that they have to be open to the public.
I hope it’s clear from this website how much I love being able to explore my passion for both gardens and stories – and to share it with you here. And if you’re at all interested as to why gardens, you might want to read this piece about my mother, the gardening writer, Elizabeth Peplow.
Like most gardeners, I’m following in another gardener’s footsteps…