Entering Belmont Gardens in Kent I had the opportunity to walk alongside the Head Gardener and I could sense that here was a man who loved his work and the garden. This gave me the feeling that I was going to like this place. My hero Dan Pearson talks about a “sense of place” by which I think he means a place that gives one an emotional response, a visceral feeling and sits well in its setting. For me Belmont has a sense of place and I felt that from the moment I arrived .
It certainly helped that there were very few people at Belmont that day and that I could walk barefoot on the lawns and just sit on a bench alone for a while. Of the eighth ghtgardens in Kent which we visited on our garden tour, Belmont is the one that has stayed with me and in which I felt most at home.
What can I take from this? Well maybe a big part of any garden is the atmosphere created by the people who own it, live in it or work in it.
Our own gardens are different from public parks or show gardens in that ours will say something about the person who tends them. They are places, like our homes, where the atmosphere is created by lots of little clues:- colours used, signs of control or tidiness, signs of sad neglect or benign neglect, seating or none at all, the odd hose or watering can lying about, simple easily grown plants or exotic temperamental plants and whether the garden is inward or outward looking. A garden will either make visitors feel welcome or it won’t, however admirable and famous it might be.
This lovely Georgian home and sprawling garden made me feel welcome, relaxed and happy. Something for us to bear in mind when making our own garden.