The cottage garden

The lovely poppies in the vegetable garden at Alfriston Clergy House

Sir Robert Witt, the chairman of the National Art Collections Fund was the property's first tenant and he is largely responsible for the garden that you see today.

In the 1920s Sir Robert Witt and his family used the Clergy House as a weekend cottage and it was he who designed the present day garden. During the time of his tenancy it was popular to see the garden as an extension of the house and so gardens often appeared as a series of intimated linked rooms surrounded by hedges and trellis – the concept of ‘garden rooms’.

Each individual ‘room’ often had a theme and a title as they do here at Alfriston:

Box Tree garden - this area of the garden is a medieval style square bounded by yew hedges and divided by paths. At the centre is a sundial commissioned to mark our centenary, sitting on a balustrade from the old London Waterloo bridge.

In the 1920s Sir Robert Witt and his family used the Clergy House as a weekend cottage and it was he who designed the present day garden. During the time of his tenancy it was popular to see the garden as an extension of the house and so gardens often appeared as a series of intimated linked rooms surrounded by hedges and trellis – the concept of ‘garden rooms’.

Each individual ‘room’ often had a theme and a title as they do here at Alfriston:

Box Tree garden - this area of the garden is a medieval style square bounded by yew hedges and divided by paths. At the centre is a sundial commissioned to mark our centenary, sitting on a balustrade from the old London Waterloo bridge.

Alfriston Clergy House
Alfriston Clergy House East Sussex box tree garden pinks
Alfriston Clergy House

Orchard - After losing most of the trees in the 1987 hurricane, we replanted the orchard with rare varieties of apples such as Lady Sudeley, Crawley beauty, Monarch and the local Alfriston apple.

 

Alfriston Clergy House
Alfriston Clergy House East Sussex orchard and Judas tree
Alfriston Clergy House

Herb garden - this contains mostly flowering herbs used in medieval times for medicinal purposes. You will find bugle which was used for throat infections and the root of bistort was used to stop the flow of blood.

Alfriston Clergy House
Alfriston Clergy House East Sussex herb garden with amphora
Alfriston Clergy House

Vegetable garden - divided into eight raised beds retained with railway sleepers, a variety of vegetables are grown throughout the year and include potatoes, runner beans, sweetcorn, rocket, courgettes and leeks.

Alfriston Clergy House Kitchen garden bed close up
A view of the beds in the kitchen garden at Alfriston Clergy House
Alfriston Clergy House Kitchen garden bed close up

Rose garden - the roses in the boarders have been chosen for their perfume and are a mix of albas, gallicas, bourbons, rugosas and hybrid musks. They are underplanted with campanulas and other cottage favourites.

Rosa Felicia in the garden at Alfriston Clergy House
Rosa Felicia in the garden at Alfriston Clergy House
Rosa Felicia in the garden at Alfriston Clergy House