Leaseholders will have free access to all the gardens when Restoration House is open to the public, and to the lower garden at other times by arrangement.
We started the original garden behind Restoration House 24 years ago, which is divided into different garden rooms and contains the parterre, the cutting garden, the pond, the borders and shrubbery. It's now mature and much loved by our visitors, who are also amazed by the Italian Water Garden we've been making/restoring since 2009.
Call it a bet on global warming if you like, with it's cooling fountains, water cannons, water railings, syncopated ponds and the "Chalice" sporting dolphin tail columns in cut brick - built by the extraordinarily talented Charlie when he was our 19 year old apprentice. A 21st century Hercules commands the top terrace, originally designed so the owners could survey who was in and who was out in Chatham Dockyard. This latest version of the famous Farnese Hercules, itself copied from a Greek original, was 3-D printed by hand by contemporary artist Matthew Darbyshire, who has his studio in the Brewery yard, above our workshop. It shimmers from rough pixelated approximation up close to perfect image from afar, mirroring the unconscious math of how perception works - the same math that is now being used for driverless cars.
Hercules looks across to a magnificent 17th century limestone statue of Castor - who spent a couple of hundred years at the bottom of the River Waveney before relocating here. Poised in the chalice pond, surrounded by plashing water, there's an 18th century boy crossing a creek on his brother's shoulders - all controposto and tender concern. A bust of Inigo Jones looks benignly down from the western wall, Roman vestal virgins lurk in the shade and ancient Rams bask in the sun by the fountains. Over in the South-East corner there's the new Gazebo replacing the lost part of the diapered flint and brick "Tudor Wall" that was built around 1600. Inside, you'll be surprised by the soaring brick dome and oculus, a mysterious stalactite and the half secret staircase that leads up to Hercules.
All available to visit and enjoy when Restoration House is open to the public in the summer. Like having a bit of Sissinghurst, Villa Lante and Tivoli right on your doorstep.