Skip to main content
The white garden at The Salutation

Garden History

Designed by Edwin Lutyens himself as an integral part of the design for the property, the Gardens stand on the site of an old market garden, most likely begun by Flemish settlers during the medieval period. Although Gertrude Jekyll has long been linked with the site, and was a frequent collaborator of Lutyens, it appears as though The Salutation is a rare example of a project conceived in its entirety by the architect.

Our garden team strives to stay true to the spirit of the original garden, rather than trying to pickle it in aspic. Lutyens was a stunning innovator, evolving through styles and ever open to new influences. He would undoubtedly have approved of our gardeners’ ceaseless creativity.

Garden Through The Years

Designed by Edwin Lutyens, the gardens follow the original Arts and Crafts style, with a series of rooms being revealed as you explore around the grounds, giving the impression of a much larger garden. Like all Arts and Crafts gardens, there was also an area for play – and for those lucky enough there was a Bowling Lawn such as we have here. The bowls green sought to invoke the spirit of Drake and the glories of the Elizabethan age, giving everyone a chance to emulate the famous naval commander and finish one last game before setting off to defeat the Spanish Armada.

Edwin Lutyens

Restoration

After 70 or so years of good order, the gardens fell into disrepair as a series of owners either didn’t know what to do with them or deliberately allowed them to decline. In 2005, with new owners and a new Head Gardener at the helm, a huge restoration project was undertaken for both the house and the gardens. The approach was simple: first and foremost, create a beautiful garden and then within that try to seek ways of pay homage to the original design. With armfuls of research and spade in hand, Steve Edney then set about creating the garden we see today, built upon the bones of the original, tracing the positioning of borders and framing the same views, but with the planting itself allowed to develop creatively and spontaneously.

The Salutation gardens

The Flood

With the restoration just about complete, then came the flood. On the night of December 6th 2013, a tidal surge caused the River Stour to burst its banks, catastrophically flooding the garden. 5 million litres of saltwater poured in, leaving the garden 6ft underwater in some places. All the working area was lost, machinery and greenhouses ruined. In all 15,000 plants were lost, including 9 of the original planted trees and 2 fully matured hedges. Only after 3 years of painstaking work do the team feel as though they have finally matched and surpassed the garden of 2013.

Floods at The Salutation

A Garden is Never Finished

Our plans for the future are not set in stone, but our philosophy is. As the garden is so close to a major river and is on a light silty soil, with important bird mud flats nearby, the garden is run as close to organic as possible, with the strongest emphasis on being insecticide-free. We keep the garden on the wild (but pretty) side as much as possible, letting nature do the talking for us. The garden is, as much as anything, Steve’s playground, so the team continually add and remove plants, changing the design constantly, being as creative as possible. With plants, the only things that can hold you back are your technical skills and your imagination. Since our team has both in spades, we know the garden is in good hands.

The Salutation

Coffee. Garden. Coffee. Does a good morning need anything else? Betsy CañasGarmon

Dorothy's bell drawing