The garden at Lamb House

The gardeners working in the garden at Lamb House

The garden at Lamb House provided inspiration to both Henry James and E. F. Benson and our Senior Gardener Guy Pullen has been bringing that muse back to life. Few gardens in England can boast such rich literary connections.

" I am hopeless about the garden, which I don’t know what to do with and shall never, never know – I am densely ignorant"
- Henry James

Henry James felt that the one acre garden at Lamb House should be improved, as his summer writing room looked out over it. As James was ignorant about gardens and plants, he employed garden designer Alfred Parsons, to develop the colourful flower borders and paths through the garden. Parsons planted fruits such as apricots, plums, pears and apples up the walls and suggested planting mulberry and walnut trees.  Henry James particularly enjoyed the daffodils in his garden every spring and was delighted when white Narcissus ‘Henry James’ was created in his honour. 

Since the beginning of January, we have been working to repair the garden, having pruned, weeded, cut back and chopped down overgrown shrubs and climbing plants. The vegetable patch was cleared and dug over to remove bind weed, which will be an ongoing process throughout the year. We re-laid the paths throughout the garden, and created a water supply. The kitchen garden, once producing prize winning vegetables, has been divided into four to grow soft fruit, cut flowers and vegetables.

There were some beautiful, mature rose specimens growing around the garden which have been pruned, and further summer annuals now fill any gaps. The garden is a beautiful and unexpected treat in the middle of Rye with a calm and peaceful atmosphere.  As we continue to improve the planting and the garden comes back to life, it will be a jewel in Rye's crown.