The Kiplings' garden
Bateman's sits nestled in the High Weald countryside, surrounded by fields and woodland. The garden that made Rudyard Kipling feel like an English country gentleman includes a river running through a wild flower meadow, a watermill, orchard, pond and a formal rose garden.
The Kiplings' garden
When Kipling saw Bateman’s it was the retreat from the outside world he had been looking for, with the combination of garden, meadows and woods.
He set about enhancing the garden, making an orchard, dividing up the spaces with yew hedges and created a kitchen garden within the walls of what is known as the Mulberry Garden – because of the tree Kipling planted.
The Kipling's lived here from 1902 until 1936 and during this time they gradually bought the surrounding farm land, which now comprises the 300-acre estate. The 12-acre garden nestles comfortably in the centre of the estate.
" Kipling ‘designed it having in mind the house fitting into its surroundings like a lovely cup on a matching saucer’. "
For his surviving children, John and Elsie (his daughter Josephine had died of pneumonia, aged 6) it became a setting for an idyllic childhood, as they acted out plays in the old quarry, visited the mill by the river or boated on the Lily Pond. Events that would find their way into Kipling’s writings and seen in the children’s stories; Puck of Pook’s Hill and Rewards and Fairies.
In his own efforts to create a garden for his children to play in and his family and friends to enjoy, the garden at Bateman’s inspired Kipling to write one of the most frequently quoted of all gardening poems – a celebration of gardeners and gardening.
" Our England is a garden, and gardens are not made, by singing: - ‘Oh how beautiful?’ and sitting in the shade. "
Visitors today approach the gardens through the Orchard and Vegetable Garden, with a sweeping view across towards the soft sandstone house sitting beautifully within the garden and the valley beyond, ever present and providing a backdrop to the garden Kipling created.
There’s nothing too ostentatious here, and that’s how Kipling wanted it, the layout of the paths and formal hedges surrounding and dividing the garden lead you gently past flowering shrubs and trees such as Chaenomeles speciose and Magnolia x vietchii and the spring borders which lead you towards the Wild Garden and the River Dudwell running through it.
No labels here
Kipling’s garden was a place of peace and sanctuary away from his many adoring fans. It was always meant to be a family garden, so in keeping with the spirit of Kipling we do not label many of our plants as we feel this can detract from the overall presentation but we are more than happy to answer your plant queries. Ask one of the team, either in the garden, shop, tea-room or at visitor reception.